optimized to offer broader criticism, commentary, community

Innovative new site is destined to become a movie buff's best supporting performer

Apr 18, 2013, 09:00 ET from Ebert Digital

CHICAGO, April 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Ebert Digital, a partnership created by the late film critic Roger Ebert and his wife, Chaz, announces the re-launch of, a highly interactive online portal that brings together criticism, commentary and a global community of film aficionados, all in one place.

"Roger wanted to bridge film criticism and the community of fans like never before," Chaz Ebert said. "The new site enlists many more critics, reviewing many more movies, displayed side-by-side with the most comprehensive collection of Roger's Pulitzer Prize-winning content online."

The Eberts tapped digital business strategist Josh Golden as co-founder and managing director to help execute the vision and manage the ongoing operations of the new venture. Josh worked closely with Roger and Chaz through the process of developing the project, ensuring that the end product reflected the vision the Eberts had for the site and met their exacting standards.

"The site focuses on three things: criticism, commentary and community," Golden said. "Everything is aggregated in one place. It's both library and playground for serious film buffs, but it's easy to navigate for people who are just looking for a good movie."

Chaz and Josh unveiled the new site last night, the opening day of the 15th annual Ebertfest, Roger Ebert's film festival, held in his hometown of Champaign-Urbana through April 21. They invited attendees to check out the site's new features as well as one of Ebert's last reviews of actor Jack Black's latest film, "Bernie," in which he plays an affable funeral director with something to hide. Black will make a guest appearance during the festival.

The site had a soft launch Tuesday, April 9, the day after hundreds gathered at the Holy Name Cathedral to remember Ebert during his funeral. The launch of the redesigned Web site had been delayed after the Chicago Sun-Times critic of 46 years passed away on April 4. A day earlier he had announced he was slowing down and writing fewer reviews as he continued to deal with ongoing health challenges related to cancer.

"It's the first time Roger's reviews will be fully searchable and sortable," Golden said. "Now you can slice and dice Roger's body of work in a multitude of ways, which I think will be interesting to our site visitors as well as inevitably drawing a scholarly focus."

Golden said he was drawn to the project by the Eberts' enthusiasm and commitment to cutting-edge technology. Roger remained excited about the project right until the end of his life, giving the site an enthusiastic thumbs-up the last time he saw it.

"From the dawn of CompuServe, Roger has been an early adopter and one of the first major critics to publish his reviews online," Golden said. "Roger and Chaz were digital innovators before those were buzz words. What this project is about is re-inserting Roger and Chaz at the forefront of the innovation curve with respect to movie reviews and related content online."

SOURCE Ebert Digital