To All Our Cherished Film Critics, Writing Contributors, Readers and Subscribers:
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND SEASONS GREETINGS! And thank you for joining us here at RogerEbert.com as we share our film reviews, TV/streaming reviews, collections, interviews, blog entries and more. All of our contributors and their individual collections of published work can be found here. But none of that happens without this super Editorial Team: Managing Editor, Brian Tallerico; Editor-at-Large, Matt Zoller Seitz; Literary Editor, Matt Fagerholm; Contributing Editor, Nell Minow; and our new Associate Editor, Robert Daniels. And our super Corporate Team: Sonia Evans and Daniel Jackson. I am so grateful to them, and to all of you. Santa has taken notice, so please kick back and enjoy as we give thanks to them. (Some of the articles contain clickable links.)
All throughout the year, we were fortunate to have incisive film reviews and opinion pieces from so many whose names are too numerous to mention, but they include: Brian Tallerico, Matt Zoller Seitz, Matt Fagerholm, Nell Minow, Robert Daniels, Marya E. Gates, Isaac Feldberg, Sheila O'Malley, Glenn Kenny, Christie Lemire, Tomris Laffly, Godfrey Cheshire, Clint Worthington, Simon Abrams, Carlos Aguilar, Nandini Balial, Katie Rife, Peter Sobczynski, Dan Callahan, and many many others.
We also owe thanks to our Far Flung Correspondents representing many nations such as Gerardo Valero, Seongyong Cho, Omer Mozaffar, Wael Khairy, Michael Mirasol, Lisa Nesselson, Olivia Collette, and Jana Monji.
As we embark on the holiday season, I’d like to take a moment to look back at 2023. In January, we returned to the Sundance Film Festival, publishing dispatches from our editors Brian Tallerico, Nick Allen, Robert Daniels and our regular contributor Marya E. Gates. And of course, our film reviews.
In February, Barbara Scharres brought us highlights from the Rotterdam International Film Festival, while our annual Women Writers Week was held in March, showcasing the essential work of so many brilliant female writers. Here again, the names are too numerous to mention, but they include Nell Minow, Susan Wloszczyna, Sheila O'Malley, Laura Emerick, Justine Smith, Peyton Robinson, Jana Monji, Monica Castillo, Sarah Knight Adamson, Marya E. Gates, Olivia Collette, Ally Johnson, Stacey Yvonne, Mira Singer, Laura Boyes, Hannah and Cailin Loesch, Beth Accomando, Caroline Madden, Lauren Coates, Valerin Kalfrin and others.
We honored the tenth anniversary of my late husband Roger’s passing in April by sharing some of our contributors' favorite reviews penned by Roger. At the end of April, we held our latest installment of Ebertfest at the Virginia Theatre in Champaign, Illinois. Some of our special film guests included directors Frank Oz and (via satellite) Wim Wenders, producer Lawrence Bender, actor Mykelti Williamson, and many others. And we are looking forward to welcoming you and more esteemed filmmakers in 2024, when we celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Ebertfest: April 17-20, 2024.
In May, I returned to the Cannes Film Festival along with Scott Dummler of Mint Media Works, where we produced a series of video dispatches featuring our contributors Ben Kenigsberg, Jason Gorber, Isaac Feldberg and Lisa Nesselson.
Our third Black Writers Week was held in June and featured the work of contributors such as Mack Bates, Bijan Bayne, Shawn Edwards, Andre Hammel, Jewel Ifeguni, Carla Renata, Sherin Nicole, Niani Scott, Reginald Ponder, Shawn Taylor, Brandon David Wilson, Sonia Evans, Craig Lindsey, Charles Kirkland, Jr., Jourdain Searles, Kaiya Shunyata, Lance Williams, Rendy Jones, Peyton Robinson, Brandon Towns, Al Chambles and many others.
In July, I joined the editors in strongly endorsing SAG-AFTRA and WGA East and West during their historic strike that brought the industry to a standstill for months. The dangers of utilizing digital performers, which was a key factor that motivated the strikes, were insightfully detailed in August by our contributor Jessica Ritchey.
AND we can't forget LOVE: It was a very special occasion in September when we attended the nuptials of Film Critic and Video Contributor Collin Souter to Kerry Finegan. And guess what: they got married at the movies—the Music Box Theatre in Chicago, to be exact.
At the Toronto International Film Festival also in September, I joined Cameron Bailey and Barry Jenkins in presenting Oscar-winning filmmaker Spike Lee with the TIFF Ebert Director Award. Brian Tallerico was joined by some of our previously named writers to pen this year's dispatches on awards season hopefuls at the festival. At the end of the month, we welcomed Robert Daniels as our new Associate Editor. And you can see some of his film reviews in our regular REVIEW section as well.
Prior to the release of his book, Opposable Thumbs: How Siskel & Ebert Changed Movies Forever, author and previous "Ebert Presents At The Movies" contributor Matt Singer spoke at length with Matt Fagerholm about the far-reaching influence of our site's namesake. November ended up being the final one for cherished Senior Editor Nick Allen at our site, who left his position for an exciting new position at The Infatuation magazine. We honored him and the extraordinary work he published at our site over the past eight years in a farewell tribute.
We also honored many more luminaries such as William Friedkin, Alan Arkin, Andre Braugher, Richard Roundtree, Raquel Welch, Pearl Bowser, Matthew Perry, Burt Bacharach, Ryan O'Neal, Jane Birkin, Tom Luddy, Piper Laurie, Tom Sizemore, Terence Davies, Michael Gambon, Suzanne Somers, Julian Sands, Jim Brown, Lance Reddick and Lisa Marie Presley in our Tributes section.
As per our tradition in December, our writers at RogerEbert.com presented their picks for the Top Ten Films of 2023 in both a composite list headed by Martin Scorsese's "Killers of the Flower Moon" and their individual top ten lists. Brian Tallerico was joined by his fellow television critics Nandini Balial, Cristina Escobar, Rendy Jones, Kaiya Shunyata and Clint Worthington in selecting the 25 Best TV Series of 2023.
My own Top Ten(-ish) Films of 2023 list was entitled, "The Year of Black Men in Cinema," and spotlighted the great work of such actors as Colman Domingo ("Rustin" and "The Color Purple"), Jeffrey Wright ("American Fiction"), Jamie Foxx ("The Burial") and Echo Kellum ("Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret."). This month, we also celebrated the tenth anniversary of Scout Tafoya's indispensable video essay series, The Unloved, the latest installment of which (number 120, to be exact) spotlighted Michael Winterbottom's western, "The Claim."
Once again, I offer my thanks to all of our writers, and to you, our readers and subscribers for keeping film discourse alive and well. I pray for Peace and I am hoping that 2024 will be healthier, happier and more prosperous for all. Here's also a wish for a year of FECK: Forgiveness, Empathy, Compassion and Kindness, and of course, Good Movies!
Roger, the conversation about movies continues...