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Hollywood, Indie Worlds to Honor Roger Ebert

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- Dick Gregory, Christie Hefner, Richard Roeper and filmmakers from both Hollywood and indie worlds will come together Thursday night to honor the late Roger Ebert.

The Fugitive director Andy Davis and Sundance award-winning director Ava DuVernay will be among the filmmakers speaking at a memorial service for the famed film critic at the Chicago Theatre.

“Roger Ebert: A Celebration of Life” will also feature tributes from Ebert’s wife of 22 years, Chaz Ebert, his stepdaughter Sonia Evans and granddaughter Raven Evans.

Independent film directors, which Ebert championed in his 46 years as a film critic, including El Norte director Greg Nava and Daughters of the Dust director Julie Dash, are expected to speak. The president of Sony Pictures Classics and the head of the Telluride Film Festival will also pay tribute.

The audience will see moments from Ebert’s famed TV show At the Movies with his late co-host Gene Siskel. In honor of the Pulitzer Prize-winning movie reviewer’s love for gospel music, there will be performances by Walt Whitman and the Soul Children of Chicago and Grammy-award winning Charles Jenkins and Fellowship Chicago Choir.

The public is being asked to reserve seats in advance.

In addition, Ebert will be honored next week during Ebertfest, the film festival he founded 15 years ago in Champagne-Urbana, Ill. Ebert had already programmed all the movies before his death April 4, following a 10-year battle with cancer.

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