Before the film critic Roger Ebert died last April at age 70, he did more than just review movies. One of his many triumphs was the founding of “Ebertfest,” an annual film festival for overlooked movies that takes place in Champaign, Ill.
This year, the festival has continued to go on without him — but his presence is felt in more than just spirit. On April 24 the second day of the festival’s run, a life-size bronze sculpture of the critic giving a thumbs-up sign was unveiled in front of the Virginia Theatre in Champaign, the site of the festival. Speaking to the Associated Press, Ebert’s widow Chaz described the piece, by artist Rick Harney, as interactive art, since there’s room for fans to sit down next to him. (The statue’s placement is temporary for now, but those who organized the fundraising drive that made it a reality hope that it will be installed in the same location on a permanent basis within a few months.)
The sculpture’s title is “C-U at the movies,” after his signature sign-off — and, for Ebert devotees, there’s now one particular theater where they’ll be able to see him once more.