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Students remember Ebert as ‘piece of the puzzle’ that led them to pursue careers in film

Updated: April 5, 2013 10:18AM



Before sitting down for a screening of the movie “Psycho,” Patrick Brennan stopped to remember Roger Ebert.

“He was the first man to teach me that movies could be more than something to do on a Sunday afternoon,” the 27-year-old from Lakeview wrote Thursday in a book left out for people to sign at the Gene Siskel Film Center. The book will be delivered to Ebert’swidow, Chaz.

Ebert, who died Thursday, inspired many moviegoers who were at the theater named for Ebert’s longtime TV partner.

Shelby Shaw, a film student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, said she always hoped to make a film that Ebert would one day review.

The 20-year-old who lives in Lakeview would tell herself, “I’m going to keep making films [and] I’m going to make a film he’s going to love one day.”

For Alex Smith, a film student at Columbia College, Ebert was “a piece of the puzzle” that helped guide him to the film world, he said. And while he often agreed with Ebert’s reviews, he immediately thought of one he said the critic, got totally wrong.

“Dumb and Dumber,” Smith, 31, of River North said. Ebert gave the comedy just two stars. “I thought it was fantastic,” Smith said.

Many, like Maureen Brill, 56, of the Gold Coast, said Ebert was an icon, and his death marks “the end of an era.”

Before “Psycho,” a film Ebert named one of the great movies, began to play, Jean de St. Aubin, the executive director of the Siskel center, told moviegoers, “Come back to the movies. Roger would be very happy about that.”



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