clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Filmmaker raising funds for a documentary based on Roger Ebert's memoir

New, 2 comments

If you buy something from a Verge link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.


Filmmaker Steve James, best known for his 1994 film Hoop Dreams, is currently in the process of raising money to complete the first documentary about the life and storied career of Roger Ebert, who died earlier this year. The film, titled Life Itself, is adapted from Ebert's 2011 memoir. It draws a narrative thread from the critic's youth, through his legendary 30-year career as a writer and imposing Hollywood figure, and ends with his finding a new voice after his battle with thyroid cancer. James supplements the source material with interviews with friends from Ebert's life and filmmakers he influenced — including Werner Herzog and Martin Scorsese. According to James, "This movie is a love story really –– Roger’s love for movies, for [wife] Chaz, and even in his own way, his love for Gene [Siskel]. Ultimately, though, it’s a film about Roger’s love for life itself."

The Indiegogo campaign is meant to cover post-production costs, and has a little more than $30,000 of its $150,000 goal as of this writing. Any money raised beyond that will go to charitable organizations, including The Roger and Chaz Ebert Foundation and The Roger Ebert Center for Film Studies at the University of Illinois.