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Roger Ebert Documentary Producers Launch Crowdfunding Campaign

Project due to be released in 2014

The producers of the Roger Ebert documentary “Life Itself” have launched a crowdfunding campaign to help finish the film.

The producers are seeking $150,000 through the Indiegogo crowdfunding platform, with the campaign ending Dec. 20. Steve James (“Hoop Dreams”) is directing and Martin Scorsese is exec producing.

For a $25 donation, the campaign is offering a private streaming link to view the film in advance of its theatrical release, planned for early next year. Fans willing to pay the top amount of $5,000 will be treated to a screening at Chicago’s Lake Theatre, where Ebert reviewed films.

“Everyone, everywhere will have the ability to support the film and participate in its actual premiere,” the filmmakers said. “This is exactly what Roger stood for and exactly what Roger would have wanted: accessibility for all.”

The film began production last December, four months before Ebert’s death. It’s based on Ebert’s memoir “Life Itself” and is produced by Zak Piper for Kartemquin Films.

Besides Scorsese, the exec producers are Justine Nagan, Gordon Quinn, Kat White and Mark Mitten. CNN Films is presenting, and CNN holds first-window broadcast rights to the film.

The project was first announced through Ebert’s Twitter account in September 2012. “I believe Steve James’ Hoop Dreams is one of the greatest documentaries ever made, and my hopes for this are high,” he tweeted at the time.

The producers said they will also use the funds to support the Ebert Foundation and the Roger Ebert Film Studies Center at the University of Illinois.

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