The passing of Roger Ebert earlier this month was met with unanimous respect for one of the movie industries' most revered critics and essayists. Over the course of the week, Ebkert will have his praises sung again and again as the 15th Annual Roger Ebert Film Festival, held at Virginia Theatre in Champaign, Illinois, looks to continue despite the untimely passing of its founder.

Roger Ebert
Roger Ebert and his wife Chaz Ebert, who is in charge of this years festival

The tributes continued to pour in yesterday, the festival's first official date, and this was the case again today, but as Roger would have wanted, the films on show were to take centre stage at the five day event. Haskell Wexler's Days Of Heaven and the short I Remember were the two showcases from yesterday, but today there was a more familiar picture for the Ebertfest patrons to enjoy, the Jack Black-staring Bernie being tonight's main feature. Also being played today include the Paul Cox directedVincent: The Life and Death of Vincent Van Gogh, followed by the short To Music and the moving In The Family, all of which are being aired before Bernie.

After day one it seems as though the festival patrons are readily enjoying the movies on offer even though Ebert isn't their to enjoy them too, but fortunately the films on offer would have been given a strong thumbs up approval from Ebert if he was here.Yesterday, Michael Barker, co-president of Sony Pictures Classics, described the 2013 Ebertfest lineup as one that "really reflects Roger's diverse tastes." The regular Ebertfest guest went on to say, "I know all of the movies that are being shown here, they are great movies that demand to be seen and demand more attention."

The festival runs until Sunday 21 and will end with Sabrina Lee and Shasta Grenier's Not Yet Begun To Fight. Before then, audiences will be able to see such titles as The Ballad of Narayama, Julia - staring Tilda Swinton, Escape From Tomorrow and The Spectacular Now.

Roger Ebert
Roger would probably have been giving two thumbs up throughout this years festival.