PHOTO BOOTH: Chaz Ebert Honored at Sold Out Screen Gems Benefit

An uplifting and inspiring evening, and we’ve got the pics to prove it. Established in 1975, the now 47-year-old art cinema and pioneering video rental outlet FACETS hosted its first Screen Gems Benefit since before the pandemic, and honored Chaz Ebert with the FACETS Legend Award on Wednesday, September 28th from 6:00 to 10:00 pm, at the Arts Club of Chicago, 201 E. Ontario St. 

Approximately 150 guests attended the sold-out fundraiser, enjoying cocktails and a buffet dinner. Attendees then adjourned to the theater for a variety of presentations. 

Here are some fabulous photos from the festivities, courtesy of photographer Lydia Hoover…

FACETS’ Board of Directors Co-Chair Randy Adamsick provided an emotional remembrance of the organization’s late founder Milos Stehlik (1949-2019) which was followed by an inspiring institutional report from Executive Director Karen Cardarelli who also announced the launch of the Chicago Alliance of Film Festivals to bring unity and economic vitality to film festivals and venues in the Chicagoland area and beyond. Then, Chicago Tribune Film Critic and Filmspotting Guest Host Michael Phillips took the stage to recognize Chaz Ebert for her numerous contributions to the film industry followed by a tribute video created by Mint Media Works, and the presentation of the FACETS Legend Award, an engraved glass brick from Catalan artist Jaume Plensa’s Crown Fountain in Chicago’s Millennium Park, provided by the Richard Gray Gallery. Ms. Ebert’s acceptance speech was mostly off-script and incredibly sincere and heartfelt. Before the event’s conclusion, Alyssa Quinlan from Hindman Auctions presided over the paddle auction. 

The total amount raised at the Screen Gems Benefit was $90,000 with all proceeds benefiting the Bross Scholarship Fund which supports under-resourced youth. Scholarships provide free access to FACETS’ Chicago International Children’s Film Festival and Summer Film Camps. Lead Producer Sponsors of the Screen Gems Benefitwere The Ebert Company, Lisbeth Stiffel, Matthew Steinmetz, and Comer Family Foundation. Director Sponsors were Rebecca Halpern and Mitchell Cobey. Silver Screen Supporting Sponsors were Mint Media Works, The Bross Family, Dr. Annette Carron and Everett Greenleaf, and Brenda Robinson.

Screen Gems Benefit Planning Committee was chaired by Randy Adamsick, Judy Bross, Suzette Bross, Karen Cardarelli, Biba Roesch, and Mitch Cobey.  

The esteemed Honorary Committee was comprised of Ken Burns, Stephanie Comer, Werner Herzog, Steve James, Barbara Martinez-Jitner, Bill Kurtis, Donna La Pietra, Josh Larsen, Elizabeth Nadja, Gregory Nava, Gordon Quinn, Brenda Robinson, Richard Roeper, Michael Glover Smith, Brian Tallerico, Regina Taylor, and Pepe Vargas. 


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, most recently in Rebecca Hall’s Passing, has bolstered diversity and change in the film industry. 

As president of the Roger and Chaz Ebert Foundation, Ms. Ebert is passionate about programs that help break the glass ceiling for women and people of color and provide education and arts for women, children, and families. She has provided grants to support films with strong social justice themes, and she supports emerging writers, filmmakers, and technologists with her endowment of scholarships, internships, or awards at the Sundance Film Festival, Film Independent Spirit Awards, the University of Illinois Ebert Fellowships, the Hawaii International Film Festival-Young Critics Program, the Telluride Ebert/TFF University Seminars, the Chicago International Film Festival Ebert Director Awards, and the Columbia College Links Journalism Awards in conjunction with the Chicago Urban League. 

She is a life trustee of the Art Institute and serves on the boards of the Lyric Opera, the Lincoln Presidential Foundation, After School Matters, and the Shirley Ryan Ability Lab, along with the Honorary Board of Family Focus and the Advisory Board of FACETS.  

Ms. Ebert has been a longtime supporter of FACETS and a beacon of advice and encouragement as the organization has found its new place in the cinema landscape.  

In attendance were the following: 

  • Chaz Ebert, Honoree and Recipient of FACETS Legend Award 
  • Karen Cardarelli, Executive Director, FACETS
  • Sandra Schulberg, Filmmaker; niece of Academy Award-winning screenwriter Budd Schulberg
  • Gordon Quinn, Filmmaker and Co-Founder of Kartemquin Films
  • Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune Film Critic, Filmspotting Guest Host, and presenter of FACETS Legend Award 
  • Brenda Robinson, Attorney 
  • Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times Film Critic 
  • Christine Dudley, Elevated Films Chicago  
  • Louis Ferrara, Deputy Director, Illinois Film Office 
  • Thavary Krouch, Independent Film Coordinator, Chicago Film Office 
  • Mimi Plauché, Artistic Director, Chicago International Film Festival  
  • Vivian Teng, Managing Director, Chicago International Film Festival 
  • Michael Smith, filmmaker, film critic, and educator 
  • Mónica Félix, Executive Director, Chicago Cultural Alliance  
  • Zoe Borys, Vice President and General Manager, Panavision Chicago  
  • Michael Scott, Jr., Director of Industry and Community Relations, Cinespace Studios 
  • Michael Nehs, Principal, Periscope Post and Audio   
  • Betsy Steinberg, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Independent Film Alliance 
  • Troy Pryor, Founder and CEO, Creative Cypher 
  • Ines Sommer, filmmaker 
  • Rima Sweiss, Chicago Palestine Film Festival 
  • Eugene Park, Executive Director and Founder, Full Spectrum Features 
  • Jigar Shah, Director, Chicago South Asian Film Festival 
  • Charlique Rolle, Managing Director, Congo Square Theatre Co. 
  • Josh Mann, Director of Human Resources, Museum of Contemporary Art 
  • Sonia Evans, Executive Vice President of Development, Ebert Productions, LLC, and daughter of Chaz Ebert  
  • Daniel Jackson, Project Manager, The Ebert Company, LTD 
  • Nick Allen, Senior Editor, RogerEbert.com 
  • Sarah Adamson, RogerEbert.com 
  • Josh Larsen, Film Critic, LarsenOnFilm.com, and Filmspotting Co-Host 
  • Patrick McDonald, Film Critic, HollywoodChicago.com  
  • Teresa Hernando, Cultural Program Coordinator, Instituto Cervantes 

Photos by Lydia Hoover / @lydiahooverphoto 

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