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Justin, Roger & Sung on the Chicago set of SISKEL AND EBERT, 2007.

Film critic Roger Ebert passed away three years ago today. As Offender Roger has pointed out, Ebert is our uncle from another mother. Without him standing up for Offender Justin’s breakthrough indie BETTER LUCK TOMORROW and the right of Asian American filmmakers to do whatever they want at Sundance and the ensuing dialogue, there might not have been a YOMYOMF. As Roger wrote back in 2010:

I grew up with Roger Ebert.  And though he’s white and we’re not blood related, I always likened him to that fun uncle that came over every Sunday at 4:30 in the afternoon via the tele (vision).  There I would sit, chugging a gallon of milk and stuffing my face with Twinkies, excited and laughing with Uncle Ebert and Auntie Siskel as they yelled at and berated each other on what movies were worth an up thumb or a down one.  Little did I know that Uncle Ebert would play such an important role in my (our) life so many years later at the Sundance Film Festival.  Were it not for Uncle Ebert hoisting his large frame atop a theatre seat to loudly exclaim his opinions on the double standard imposed upon “ethnic” cinema and race expectations sprouting from it, I wonder if I’d even be working in Hollywood today.  I wonder if BLT would have had enough juice to stand above the larger, more well-funded, highly star-studded competition films.  We owe Roger Ebert a lot.  Perhaps more than he’ll ever know.  We are entwined in so many unexpected ways…

You can read the rest of Roger’s blog to Uncle Ebert here. And the fact that Uncle Ebert left this comment for Roger is more meaningful today:

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Also check out Offender Anderson’s post upon hearing news of his death here (Uncle Ebert was a huge supported of the Hawaii International Film Fest where Anderson is the head programmer).

And if you want to see that very moment at Sundance that changed the course of BLT thus leading to YOMYOMF years later, check out Evan Leong’s short doc BLT: GENESIS about the making of BLT (the section with Ebert starts around the 27:30 mark):

Hope you’re kicking back up there with some popcorn and a good flick, Uncle Ebert.

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