Roger Ebert documentary Life Itself is available to watch online in the UK this weekend – at the same time as it hits UK cinemas.
The documentary is made by Steve James, who directed Hoop Dreams, which premiered at Sundance in 1994 and was declared by Roger Ebert to be “the great American documentary”.
20 years later and the filmmaker turns his eye on the film critic, who sadly passed away in 2013. The film recounts the inspiring and entertaining life of the world-renowned writer and social commentator, from his days at the University of Illinois to his work at the Chicago Sun-Times, which earned him the first ever Pulitzer Prize for film criticism.
Based on Ebert’s best-selling memoir of the same name, the story goes on to look at the writer’s legacy and how he overcame cancer to become one of the most influential cultural voices in America – and, through the Internet, around the world.
James conducted interviews with over two dozen people, including friends, colleagues, the first ever interview with Gene Siskel’s wife, and filmmakers Werner Herzog, Ramin Bahrani and Martin Scorsese, who is an Executive Producer, along with Moneyball’s Steven Zaillian.
After a successful campaign on Indiegogo to spread the word, the film was picked up for theatrical distribution in the UK by Dogwoof, who also released the film day-and-date online. Can’t get to the cinema to see Life Itself? You can now rent it at Curzon Home Cinema, as well as rent and download at on iTunes and blinkbox. (Life Itself will be released on DVD in the UK on 23rd February, when it will also become available to rent from Film4oD, Virgin Movies on Demand, EE and TalkTalk.)