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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Large Format Forum   » Roman Kroitor has passed away

Author Topic: Roman Kroitor has passed away
Joseph L. Kleiman
Master Film Handler

Posts: 378
From: Sacramento, CA
Registered: Apr 2005

 - posted 09-18-2012 12:45 AM      Profile for Joseph L. Kleiman   Email Joseph L. Kleiman   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
From the National Film Board of Canada --

Montreal, Canada (Sept. 17, 2012) /CNW Telbec/ -- Canadian and world cinema has lost a true giant, with the death yesterday of film pioneer and former NFB colleague Roman Kroitor.

Born on December 12, 1926, in Yorkton, Saskatchewan, Kroitor made enormous contributions to filmmaking during his tenure at the NFB in the 1950s and 1960s, developing the IMAX giant-screen format at the NFB's Montreal studio.

"Roman Kroitor was a remarkable man who has made out-sized contributions to cinema as a filmmaker, producer and creative and technical innovator. He was a legend whose relentless pace of inventiveness continued throughout a long and productive career. His death is a terrific loss to the NFB, Canada and the world of cinema," said Tom Perlmutter, Government Film Commissioner and NFB Chairperson.

Kroitor was a leading light in direct cinema and the new documentary approaches that would put the NFB and Canadaat the forefront of a revolution in audiovisual storytelling, with works such as Paul Tomkowicz: Street-railway Switchman and the Candid Eye series.

His creative partnerships with Wolf Koenig and Colin Low resulted in some of the NFB's most acclaimed documentaries of all time, including Glenn Gould - On & Off the Record, Lonely Boy, Stravinsky and Universe. Asa producer, Kroitor was involved in the development of fiction films at the NFB, starting with Don Owen's landmark 1964 feature Nobody Waved Goodbye.

Kroitor also played a role in the creation of the Star Wars concept "The Force." Director George Lucas was an admirer of the work of NFB experimental filmmaker Arthur Lipsett and has credited a conversation between Kroitor and artificial intelligence pioneer Warren S. McCulloch, excerpted in Lipsett's 1963 collage film 21-87, as part of his inspiration.

It was his collaboration on the groundbreaking multi-screen project In the Labyrinth for Expo 67 in Montreal that would set the stage for a new chapter in Kroitor's life―as well as a new era in cinema.

Co-directed by Kroitor with Colin Low and Hugh O'Connor, and co-produced with Tom Daly, In the Labyrinth was an immersive cinema experience that caused a sensation at the Montreal world's fair, during Canada's centennial year. That same year, Kroitor chose to leave the NFB to further develop the process he helped pioneer with In the Labyrinth in the private sector, co-founding Multi-Screen Corporation.

But it was a single-projector giant-screen system that held the most promise for Roman. Co-inventing the IMAX film system and forming IMAX Corporation, Kroitor and his team set about redefining the possibilities of cinema.

The NFB remained very much a part of that creative development, with the NFB's Montreal HQ serving as the birthplace for the new medium. The very first IMAX film in 1970, Tiger Child, made for the Osaka world's fair, was directed by Donald Brittain. In the years to come, the NFB worked with Kroitor and Imax on such breakthroughs as the first IMAX 3D film, Transitions, and first IMAX HD film, Momentum, both directed for the NFB by Colin Low and Tony Ianzelo.

Kroitor returned to the NFB for several years beginning in the mid-1970s to head dramatic productions, producing such acclaimed works as Giles Walker's Bravery in the Field and John N. Smith's First Winter.

Most recently, the NFB and Kroitor were again creative partners, as the NFB animation studio, led by animator Munro Ferguson, developed new creative applications for IMAX Corporation's hand-drawn 3D stereoscopic animation technique, SANDDE.

Roman is survived by his wife Janet and children Paul, Tanya, Lesia, Stephanie and Yvanna.

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Joseph L. Kleiman
Master Film Handler

Posts: 378
From: Sacramento, CA
Registered: Apr 2005

 - posted 09-23-2012 01:52 PM      Profile for Joseph L. Kleiman   Email Joseph L. Kleiman   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Graeme Ferguson, the surviving founder of IMAX, gives tribute to Roman during the GSCA conference last Tuesday in Sacramento.

The only print in existence of the first IMAX film, Tiger Child, was rushed to the Sacramento the same day and played for GSCA delegates in honor of Roman. I snapped this shot of the screen from the back of the auditorium with my htc Thunderbolt.

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Dave Macaulay
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1939
From: Toronto, Canada
Registered: Apr 2001

 - posted 01-03-2013 02:40 PM      Profile for Dave Macaulay   Email Dave Macaulay   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Tiger Child was the first "Imax" film (it was actually Multiscreen Corporation then) but it was part of ... well, a multiscreen presentation. While still interesting, it really doesn't make any sense without the other screens or the environs of the Expo 70 pavilion it was made for, and it's pretty hard to watch with several dark stretches where other projectors would have been showing images on the screen. There are only very few full screen shots , most of it is the multiple image optical effect shown above. The full screen images were an experiment since a 15/70 camera had been developed although the company's focus then was on multiscreen optical production, a few short segements of full frame was shot for Tiger Child - a closeup of a pregnant womans navel for example.
Actually it's kinda traditional for Japanese Expo films to make little sense, but Tiger Child excelled at obscure meaning. I can guess that the title refers to the thalidomide children featured in a few scenes but I'm probably wrong. Other than that I can't figure out what's going on in it or imagine any continuity.
Roman was a colleague for many years, I enjoyed working with him and especially the occasions we hung out together at various odd places around the world.
Roman and Graeme Furgeson worked on a multiscreen project at Expo 67 (Labyrinth), and wanted a way to simplify the process which required several film projectors, sound dubber, and slide projectors to be synchronized - plus the fact that after Expo 67 closed the project would never be seen again bothered them. They came up with the idea of optically combining the film images on one large format frame, eliminating the troublesome selsyn lock between multiple film projectors. They brought in Bill Shaw, a mechanical engineer at the CCM bicycle company, to design the projector.
If Tiger Child had been made the "old" way, we could screen the various image elements separately (if they were archived) but not "married" without huge difficulty.
Roman was instrumental in selling the 15/70 idea to Fuji Group for their Expo 70 pavilion. With no real Multiscreen office (the projector development was done in a small shop in Galt, Ontario) Roman entertained the undecided Fuji executives at the Montreal National Film Board complex where he had an office (Roman made quite a few NFB films). Supposedly the Fuji group decided that Multiscreen was a reliable and reputable company because they had such a large busy office and studio complex, and they signed the contract.
Anyway, Roman will be missed by many people in many walks of life.

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