Roger Ebert Hopes To Attend Namesake Film Fest Despite Hip Surgery

Roger Ebert hopes to make it to his annual namesake film festival next week despite hip surgery. The 65-year-old film critic was recovering Friday at a Chicago hospital from minor hip surgery after a recent fall.

“The show must go on,” Ebert said in a statement posted on his Web site. “I am doing fine and if the doctors clear me, I will be there to welcome our guests.”

Scheduled guests at the 10th annual Roger Ebert Film Festival include Ang Lee, Richard Roeper, Richard Corliss and Christine Lahti.

The 2008 “Ebertfest” — sponsored by the critic’s alma mater, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign — will be held April 23-27.

“Please keep those thumbs up in the hopes that Roger will be there to celebrate the tenth year of his film festival,” Ebert’s wife, Chaz, said in the statement. “He has an indomitable spirit.”

A film critic at the Chicago Sun-Times for more than 40 years, Ebert has undergone a series of cancer surgeries in recent years, including the removal of a growth on his salivary gland and a tracheostomy, a procedure that opens an airway through an incision in the windpipe, that left him unable to speak.

Ebert has been on hiatus from his TV show, “Ebert & Roeper and the Movies,” since 2006.

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