Facets Screen Gems Gala: Two Thumbs Up



By Judy Carmack Bross




Randy Adamsick, FACETS Board of Directors Co-Chair; Karen Cardarelli, Executive Director of FACETS; Chaz Ebert; Matthew Steinmetz, FACETS Board of Directors Co-Chair


“The Screen Gems Gala put FACETS back in the center of the Chicago film community,” Randy Adamsick, FACETS Board of Directors Co-Chair.


Left to Right: Vivian Teng, Managing Director, Cinema/Chicago & Chicago International Film Festival; Pepe Vargas, Founder & Executive Director, International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago & Chicago Latino Film Festival; Randy Adamsick, FACETS Board of Directors Co-Chair; Deidre Searcy FACETS Festival Programmer (including for Chicago International Children’s Film Festival); Mimi Plauché, Senior Programmer, Cinema/Chicago & Chicago International Film Festival; Chaz Ebert; Jigar Shah, Festival Director, Chicago South Asian Film Festival; Sophia Wong Boccio, Founder & Executive Director, Asian Pop-Up Cinema & Sophia’s Choice; and Karen Cardarelli, Executive Director of FACETS.


Chaz Ebert – acceptance speech


From the moment we entered the FACETS Screen Gem Gala honoring director, author and philanthropist Chaz Ebert recently we caught the buzz in the air. This was, like watching a favorite movie, where you are surrounded by magic and people who love film.


Randy Adamsick, FACETS Board of Directors Co-Chair; Chaz Ebert; Karen Cardarelli, Executive Director of FACETS


We asked Karen Cardarelli, FACETS Executive Director, to tell us all about the evening.


“My observations and feedback I received about this year’s Screen Gems ambiance and vibe – it was joyous and celebratory. A live pianist welcomed guests as they arrived playing beloved film themes. Our pianist was the talented Eugene Dizon, Music Director of The Mercury Theatre Chicago. Quickly the reception area of the Arts Club filled with people enjoying a cocktail and seeing old friends. I was very struck by the number of “mini reunions” I witnessed during this arrival/cocktail hour. It seemed to me there was a particularly joyous energy from people finally getting to party in person for the first time in two-plus years. I think this added immensely to the evening.”


Chaz Ebert being congratulated by event attendees


Cardarelli continued.


“The guest list was very different compared to past Screen Gems. Nearly half the attendees work in the film or film festival industry in some manner. This certainly was tied to our honoree, Chaz Ebert. But also tied to FACETS new strategic direction, to direct a portion of its resources to assist the local film industry. Beginning with efforts to support the film festival community in administering the Chicago Film Festival Alliance and opening the FACETS cinema facilities more to local filmmakers.


“Chaz, in her remarks, spoke about ‘empathy’ and ‘kindness.’ You could feel the room inspired by her words and continuing that mantra well after the event was over. We are ready to help Chicago come together again, using cinema as a uniting and empathy-building force!”


Earlier Cardarelli had described why Ebert was the obvious choice for the evening’s honor: “Entrepreneur, publisher, author, producer, and philanthropist, Chaz Ebert has spent her career championing overlooked films and filmmakers, providing invaluable opportunities for new and diverse voices. Her work as a film producer has bolstered diversity and change in the film industry.

“As president of the Roger and Chaz Ebert Foundation, Ms. Ebert’s stated passion is about programs that help break the glass ceiling for women and people of color and provide education and arts for women, children, and families. We are inspired by her efforts in the industry.”

To Ebert, the widow of Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic Roger Ebert, her mission to work with women and families dovetails with FACETS dedication to changing children’s lives through film.


Pepe Vargas, Founder & Executive Director, International Latino Cultural Center + Chicago Latino Film Festival; Gordon Quinn, filmmaker + co-founder Kartemquin Films; Chaz Ebert; Josh Larsen, Film Critic, LarsenOnFilm.com + Filmspotting


Mary Ann “Tracy” Kupferberg, Chaz Ebert, Biba Roesch, FACETS Board of Directors


Don’t miss attending screenings and special events which make up FACETS 39th Chicago International Children’s Film Festival running November 4-20 at exciting locations around town. The first competitive festival of films for children in the U.S and the first to qualify for Academy Awards, it screens 250 films from 50 countries and awards prizes in multiple categories.

For more information visit: facets.org


Slide: Late FACETS founder Milos Stehlik with Chaz and the late Roger Ebert


Chaz Ebert – acceptance speech


Scott Dummler, Director/Producer, Mint Media Works, LLC; Troy Pryor, Founder & CEO, Creative Cypher; Sandra Schulberg, IndieCollect (film preservation campaign) + Filmmaker + niece of Academy Award-winning screenwriter Budd Schulberg; Chaz Ebert; James Adam; Eve Moran