Roman Kroitor

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Roman Kroitor
Born (1926-12-12)December 12, 1926
Yorkton, Saskatchewan, Canada
Died September 17, 2012(2012-09-17) (aged 85)[1]
Quebec, Canada
Occupation Film director
Film producer
Screenwriter
Inventor
Years active 1952 - 2012

Roman Kroitor (December 12, 1926 – September 17, 2012) was a Canadian filmmaker who was known as an early practitioner of Cinéma vérité, as co-founder of IMAX, and as creator of the Sandde hand-drawn stereoscopic animation system. He was also the original inspiration for the Force, popularized in the Star Wars series.

He studied philosophy and psychology at the University of Manitoba and then worked for the National Film Board of Canada, first as a production assistant and then as a film editor.[2] He directed his first film, Rescue Party in 1949. He wrote the NFB animated short It's A Crime (1957), produced Propaganda Message (1974), and produced and directed In the Labyrinth, released as a theatrical film in 1979.[1]

Early influence of the cinéma vérité style[edit]

Between 1958 and 1961 Kroitor co-directed, with Wolf Koenig, the Candid Eye direct cinema documentary series for the National Film Board. One of those films became the highly influential Cinéma vérité-style documentary about singer Paul Anka: Lonely Boy.[1] This film's use of portable film and sound gear, with lack of a narration voice-over, would influence later documentaries like D.A. Pennebaker's 1967 Bob Dylan feature Dont Look Back and even more closely the Peter Watkins 1967 film Privilege. Lonely Boy was one of the earliest examples of a rockumentary and was parodied in the comedy This is Spinal Tap.

Other notable films that Kroitor directed or co-directed in the Cinema Verite style included Glenn Gould:On the Record, Glenn Gould:Off the Record, Stravinsky, among many others.

Founder of IMAX[edit]

He exhibited a large-scale multi-screen work, Labyrinth, at Expo 67 in Montreal. In the same year he co-founded the Multiscreen Corporation, which later became the IMAX Corporation. The Multivision process, which was a response to Kroitor's experiences at Expo 67, was developed for the Osaka Expo '70 and involved 70mm film projected horizontally rather than vertically. Each frame was as large as a postcard, with 15 sprocket-holes.[3]

He produced the first IMAX film, Tiger Child in 1970 (dir. Donald Brittain), and in 1990 he co-directed the first IMAX feature film, Rolling Stones: At the Max. He also produced the first IMAX stereoscopic (S3D) film, We Are Born of Stars, anaglyph, 1985, and co-produced the first full-color OMNIMAX (IMAX Dome) S3D film, Echoes of the Sun, alternate-eye, 1990.[1]

Creator of hand-drawn stereoscopic animation[edit]

While working to create traditional (actuality) and early CG films in a stereoscopic format, Kroitor became frustrated due to the lack of direct interaction between the desires of the (right-brained) artists and the results on film, because at the time everything had to pass through the (left-brained) mathematicians and programmers. He conceived of Sandde as a way to allow the artists to directly draw, in full stereoscopic 3D, what they wanted the audience to see.

Originator of "The Force"[edit]

Roman Kroitor was credited by George Lucas, creator of the Star Wars films, as being the origin of the concept of The Force, an important thematic element tying together all the Star Wars films. "One of the audio sources Lipsett sampled for 21-87 [a film that had a great influence on Lucas] was a conversation between artificial intelligence pioneer Warren S. McCulloch and Roman Kroitor , a cinematographer who went on to develop IMAX. In the face of McCulloch's arguments that living beings are nothing but highly complex machines, Kroitor insists that there is something more: 'Many people feel that in the contemplation of nature and in communication with other living things, they become aware of some kind of force, or something, behind this apparent mask which we see in front of us, and they call it God.'"[1]

"When asked if this was the source of 'the Force,' Lucas confirms that his use of the term in Star Wars was 'an echo of that phrase in 21-87.'" [4]

Awards[edit]

Filmography[edit]

  • Age of the Beaver, 1952 (editor)
  • Rescue Party, 1952 (director)
  • Paul Tomkowinkz: Street-railway Switchman, Faces of Canada/Snowscapes series, 1952 (director; co-writer with Stanley Jackson; co-editor and co-producer with Tom Daly)
  • Farm Calendar, 1955 (director; writer)
  • To Serve the Mind, Documentary Showcase/Mental Health series, 1955 (co-writer with Stanley Jackson)
  • Introducing Canada, 1956 (co-editor with Tom Daly)
  • L’Année B la ferme, 1957 (director; writer)
  • City of Gold, Documentary Showcase series, 1957 (co-writer with Pierre Berton, Robert Choquette)
  • The Great Plains, Canadian Geography series, 1956 (director; editor)
  • It's a Crime, Documentary Showcase/Snowscapes series, 1957 (writer)
  • Blood and Fire, Candid Eye series, 1958 (co-producer with Wolf Koenig)
  • Country Threshing, Candid Eye series, 1958 (co-producer with Wolf Koenig)
  • The Days Before Christmas, Candid Eye series, 1958 (co-editor with René Laporte, Wolf Koenig; co-producer with Wolf Koenig)
  • A Foreign Language, Candid Eye series, 1958 (co-producer with Wolf Koenig)
  • Memory of Summer, Candid Eye series, 1958 (co-producer with Wolf Koenig)
  • Pilgrimage, Candid Eye series, 1958 (co-producer with Wolf Koenig)
  • Police, Candid Eye series, 1958 (co-producer with Wolf Koenig)
  • The Back-breaking Leaf, Candid Eye/Documentary 60 series, 1959 (co-producer with Wolf Koenig)
  • La Battaison, 1959 (co-producer with Wolf Koenig)
  • The Canadians, 1959 (executive producer)
  • Emergency Ward, Candid Eye/Documentary 60 series, 1959 (co-producer with Wolf Koenig)
  • End of the Line, Candid Eye/Documentary 60 series, 1959 (co-producer with Wolf Koenig)
  • Glenn Gould – Off the Record, Candid Eye/Documentary 60 series, 1959 (co-director and co-producer with Wolf Koenig)
  • Glenn Gould – On the Record, Candid Eye/Documentary 60 series, 1959 (co-director and co-producer with Wolf Koenig)
  • The Cars in Your Life, Candid Eye/Documentary 60 series, 1960 (co-producer with Wolf Koenig) a.k.a. a Down and 24 Months to Pay
  • I Was a Ninety-pound Weakling, Documentary 60 series, 1960 (co-producer with Wolf Koenig)
  • Universe, 1960 (co-director with Colin Low; writer)
  • The Days of Whiskey Gap, 1961 (co-producer with Wolf Koenig)
  • Festival in Puerto Rico, Candid Eye series, 1961 (co-director and co-editor with Wolf Koenig; producer)
  • Lonely Boy, 1961 (co-director with Wolf Koenig; producer)
  • University, Explorations series, 1961 (co-producer with Wolf Koenig)
  • The Living Machine, Explorations series, 1961 (director; co-producer with Tom Daly)
  • Above the Horizon, 1964 (co-director with Hugh O’Connor; co-producer with Hugh O’Connor, Tom Daly)
  • Canadian Businessmen, 1964 (co-director with Wolf Koenig)
  • The Hutterites, 1964 (co-producer with Tom Daly)
  • Legault’s Place, 1964 (co-producer with Tom Daly)
  • Nobody Waved Goodbye, 1964 (co-producer with Donald Owen)
  • Toronto Jazz, 1964 (producer)
  • The Baymen, NFB Presents series, 1965 (co-producer with Peter Jones)
  • Stravinsky, 1965 (co-director with Wolf Koenig; producer)
  • Two Men of Montreal, 1965 (co-producer with Donald Brittain, John Kemeny, Tom Daly)
  • Little White Crimes, NFB Presents series, 1966 (co-producer with John Kemeny)
  • In the Labyrinth, 1967 (co-director with Colin Low, Hugh O’Connor; co-producer with Tom Daly)
  • IBM Close-up, 1968 (co-director with Graeme Ferguson; producer)
  • Tiger Child, 1970 (co-producer with Iichi Ichikawa; writer; IMAX)
  • Code Name Running Jump, 1972 (director; producer)
  • Exercise Running Jump II, 1972 (director; writer; producer)
  • Circus World, 1974 (director; co-editor with Jackie Newell; producer)
  • Man Belongs to the Earth, 1974 (co-producer with Graeme Ferguson)
  • Man the Hunter [Caribou], Man the Hunter series, 1974 (executive producer)
  • Propaganda Message, 1974 (co-producer with Wolf Koenig)
  • Man the Hunter [Fishing], Man the Hunter series, 1975 (executive producer)
  • Man the Hunter [Seal Hunting], Man the Hunter series, 1975 (executive producer)
  • Bargain Basement, 1976 (producer)
  • For Gentlemen Only, 1976 (executive producer)
  • Listen Listen Listen, 1976 (executive producer)
  • Schefferville 4th Arctic Winter Games, 1976 (co-producer with Dennis Sawyer)
  • Striker, 1976 (executive producer)
  • The World is Round, 1976 (executive producer)
  • L’Âge de la machine, 1977 (co-producer with Jacques Bobet)
  • Back Alley Blue, 1977 (executive producer)
  • Bekevar Jubilee, 1977 (executive producer)
  • Breakdown, 1977 (executive producer)
  • Flora: Scenes from a Leadership Convention, People and Power series, 1977 (co-executive producer with Arthur Hammond)
  • Happiness Is Loving Your Teacher, 1977 (executive producer)
  • Henry Ford’s America, 1977 (co- producer with Donald Brittain and Paul Wright)
  • Hold the Ketchup, 1977 (executive producer)
  • I Wasn’t Scared, 1977 (co-producer with Vladimir Valenta)
  • Nature’s Food Chain, 1977 (executive producer)
  • One Man, 1977 (co- producer with Michael Scott, James de B. Domville, Tom Daly, Vladimir Valenta)
  • Sail Away, 1977 (executive producer)
  • Strangers at the Door, Adventures in History series, 1977 (co-producer with John Howe, Maxine Samuels)
  • Oh Canada, 1978 (co-producer with Wolf Koenig, Robert Verrall, Dorothy Courtois)
  • Easter Eggs, Canada Vignettes series, 1978 (executive producer)
  • Margaret Laurence, First Lady of Manawaka, 1978 (executive producer)
  • The Point, 1978 (executive producer)
  • The Red Dress, Adventures in History series, 1978 (co-executive producer with Dieter Nachtigall)
  • The Russels, 1978 (executive producer)
  • So Long to Run, 1978 (executive producer)
  • Teach Me to Dance, Adventures in History series, 1978 (co-producer with Vladimir Valenta, John Howe)
  • Voice of the Fugitive, Adventures in History series, 1978 (executive producer)
  • The War is Over, Adventures in History series, 1978 (executive producer)
  • Bravery in the Field, Adventures in History series, 1979 (co-producer with Stefan Wodoslawsky; executive producer)
  • Gopher Broke, Adventures in History series, 1979 (co-producer with Stefan Wodoslawsky; executive producer)
  • Love on Wheels, Canada Vignettes series, 1979 (executive producer)
  • Northern Composition, 1979 (executive producer)
  • Revolution's Orphans, Adventures in History series, 1979 (co-producer with Rob Iveson)
  • Twice Upon a Time, 1979 (co-producer with Stefan Wodoslawsky)
  • Why Men Rape, 1979 (executive producer)
  • Acting Class, 1980 (executive producer)
  • Challenger: An Industrial Romance, 1980 (executive producer)
  • Challenger: An Industrial Romance [short version], 1980 (executive producer)
  • Coming Back Alive, 1980 (co-producer with Wolf Koenig)
  • Maritimes Dig, Canada Vignettes series, 1980 (executive producer)
  • Nose and Tina, 1980 (executive producer)
  • Prehistoric Artifacts, New Brunswick, Canada Vignettes series, 1980 (executive producer)
  • This was the Beginning, Part 1: The Invertebrates, 1980 (executive producer)
  • This was the Beginning, Part 2: The Vertebrates, 1980 (executive producer)
  • Arthritis: A Dialogue with Pain, 1981 (co-executive producer with Robert Verrall)
  • Baxter Earns His Wings, 1981 (executive producer)
  • First Winter, Adventures in History series, 1981 (executive producer)
  • Hail Columbia!, 1981 (co-producer with Graeme Ferguson; IMAX)
  • Where the Buoys Are, 1981 (executive producer)
  • Laughter in My Soul, 1983 (co-executive producer with Robert Verrall)
  • Skyward, 1985 (co-producer with Susumu Sakane; IMAX)
  • Starbreaker, 1984 (co-editor with Bruce Mackay; producer; co-executive producer with Robert Verrall)
  • A Freedom to Move, 1985 (executive producer; IMAX)
  • We Are Born of Stars, 1985 (producer; writer; OMNIMAX3D)
  • Heart Land, 1987 (co-producer with Sally Dundas; IMAX)
  • Echoes of the Sun, 1990 (co-producer with Fumio Sumi, Sally Dundas; co-writer with Nelson Max, Colin Low; IMAX)
  • Flowers in the Sky, 1990 (co-producer with Charles Konowal; IMAX)
  • The Last Buffalo, 1990 (co-producer with Sally Dundas; IMAX3D)
  • Rolling Stones: "At the Max", 1991 (co-director with Julien Temple, David Douglas, Noel Archambault; IMAX)
  • Imagine, 1993 (co-producer with Hyok-Kyu Kwon; IMAX3D)
  • Paint Misbehavin’, 1996 (director; co-producer with Steve Hoban; IMAX3D)
  • The Reality Trip, 1997 (appears as himself; TV)
  • Cinéma Vérité: Defining the Moment, 1999 (appears as himself)
  • Cyberworld, 2000 (co-producer with Sally Dundas, Steven Hoban, Hugh Murray; IMAX)

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Martin, Sandra (5 October 2012). "Roman Kroitor, 85, revolutionized the film world". Globe and Mail. Retrieved 23 November 2012. 
  2. ^ Canadian Film Encyclopedia (accessed Aug 5, 2007)
  3. ^ Youngblood, Gene: Expanded Cinema, London: Studio Vista, 1970.
  4. ^ Wired 13.05: Life After Darth

References[edit]

  • Life After Darth, Steve Silberman, Wired Magazine, May 2005

External links[edit]