Back in 1994, film critic Roger Ebert was one of the greatest champions of Hoop Dreams. He still is, actually. So it’s fitting that now the film’s director, Steve James, will be celebrating Ebert’s life in a new documentary produced by Kartemquin Films based on the memoir Life Itself.
Joining the Oscar-nominated filmmaker are none other than his fellow 2011 DGA Award nominee Martin Scorsese as executive producer and Schindler’s List screenwriter Steven Zaillian, whose only doc credits so far have been thank yous from the makers of The Cove and Anvil!
For Criticwire, former Ebert Presents At the Movies critic Matt Singer shares a comment on the news from the subject-to-be:
“This dropped out of the blue. They say they have a good idea for an approach. I believe Steve James’ ‘Hoop Dreams’ is one of the greatest documentaries ever made, and my hopes for this are so high. I never thought of my book as a doc. I’m keeping hands off any involvement, such as with the screenplay, because I don’t want to be a third wheel. Whatever they do I will be fascinated.”
Seeing as we have plenty of film histories and director profiles, most of which have interviews with film critics as authorities, I’m dying to see one about film criticism and hope it features a number of filmmakers (including Scorsese) participating as authorities.
But with James continuing to have a lot on his plate — his new food issue doc, Generation Food, for instance — who knows when this will come out? Reportedly an official press release will arrive soon and could have more details. Stay tuned!
Roger Ebert has appeared in a number of documentaries, including For the Love of Movies: The Story of American Film Criticism, which you can see regularly on the Documentary Channel (next airing: 9/24).
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