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June 12, 1946
Minto, New Brunswick, Canada
Reginald Hartt (born June 12, 1946 in Minto, New Brunswick) is a film archivist in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He is known for his unique stagings of historical and contemporary films at his 40-seat theatre, "The Cineforum".
Beginning in 1965, Hartt originally screened his films in rented locations. These included the Bathurst Street Church and the Spadina Hotel, as well as Sneaky Dee's, Rochdale College and locations on Queen Street West and Mirvish Village. From 1970 to 1975 he served as Director of Cinema Studies at Toronto's Rochdale College. He has lectured at art galleries, colleges, museums, schools, theatres and universities across Canada and in the United States.
Since 1992 he has shown the movies in the front parlour of his Bathurst Street home. A neon sign reading "Cineforum" placed in the front window indicates his presence. An inscription in ancient Greek over the front door reads, "Abandon all hope, ye who enter here." Hartt's characteristic black and white typewriter-text-with-film-stills advertising posters are ubiquitous around downtown Toronto to the point where they were used as part of the background of a comic book cover.
The films he screens are generally old and tend to the bizarre; typical programs include "the anarchist surrealist hallucinatory film festival" featuring works of Man Ray, Salvador Dalí and Luis Buñuel, or "the sex and violence cartoon festival", featuring racy Bugs Bunny cartoons, including some of the infamous Censored Eleven. Other offerings include "Kid Dracula" (Murnau's Nosferatu set to Radiohead's Kid A) and a clean print of Leni Riefenstahl's Triumph of the Will. Although met with controversy, his screening of Triumph of the Will is understood to be educational and has been described as such by Bernie Farber (former executive director of the Canadian Jewish Congress), and author Jane Jacobs, among others. His collection includes many rare items and he has also screened rare films by Winsor McCay and Mike Jittlov.
Past presentations have included guest programmers. The complete Zatoichi film franchise series was hosted by Grey Coyote of Paradise Bound Music. Charlie Huisken of This Ain't the Rosedale Library is a frequent guest programmer, as was Jamie Ross, Andre Skinner of Canteen Knockout. Nima Hoda did an in-depth look at the music of Bernard Herrmann for Jason and the Argonauts.
Hartt is known for delivering inspired addresses on the subject of Jesus Christ, cartoons, or anecdotes concerning his varied life experiences as a prologue to, or during the breaks in his longer programs. His residency at Rochdale College, where he was director of cinema studies, is the topic of a spoken word performance, and he has hosted some of the city's most notorious poetry readings. Hartt has been host to many famous artists and writers, including writer John Robert Colombo, film historian Elwy Yost, rock journalist Al Aronowitz, Jane Jacobs, science-fiction writer Judith Merril, British artist Peter Moore, Canadian animator John Kricfalusi, Bob Clampett, Friz Freleng, Grim Natwick, Shamus Culhane, Bernard B. Brown, and Pierre Berton, who gave his last public reading at the Cineforum.
In May 2017, Hartt was charged two counts of possessing child pornography, two counts of accessing child pornography and one count of “making available” child pornography. Hartt denied the charges, claiming that the images were likely downloaded by a stranger who used the WiFi during one of his screenings. Police with a search warrant also found 250 images “that could be found in pornography museums around the world or reputable bookstores around the world,” according to Hartt.
- Eckler, Rebecca (August 25, 1999). "'Home' movies like you've never seen before". National Post. Don Mills, Ont. p. B3.
- Annable, Kristin (February 28, 2012). "Film maven Reg Hartt vows to keep screening at home cinema". The National Post.
- Ladha, Raheem. "Altered Spaces, From Education to Art: A History of Film Culture at Rochdale College". Local Film Cultures: Toronto.
- Sloan, Will (January 20, 2009). "Could This Be Your Last Chance to Hear Reg Hartt?". The Varsity. Toronto, Ont.
- Solomon, Lawrence. "Ford's blow for film freedom". Financial Post.
- Wherry, Aaron (May 17, 2003). ""Reg Hartt's favourite eatery is his kitchen". National Post. Don Mills, Ont. p. TO2.
- Valpy, Michael (March 9, 1995). "The life and times of Reg Hartt". The Globe and Mail. Toronto, Ont. p. A2.
- LaRiviere, Serafin (November 28, 2012). "Poster legend: It's hard to imagine street poles before Reg Hartt". Xtra.
- Ennis, Garith; Larosa, Lewis; Palmer, Tom (2004). The Punisher. 2. MAX Comics.
- The Telegraph Journal. Saint John, New Brunswick. September 20, 1995.
- The Kensington Drum. April 1995.
- Eye Magazine. May 13, 1993.
- Cribb, Robert (January 27, 2019). "Toronto vintage film expert denying child-pornography charges". Toronto Star.