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Roman Kroitor

Roman Kroitorb. December 12, 1927, Yorkton, Saskatchewan


Few filmmakers have contributed to the development of English Canada’s film culture in as many diverse and significant ways as Roman Kroitor. In his fifty-five-year career, Kroitor – a renowned technical innovator, brilliant editor and pioneering director – has made significant contributions to enriching the distinguished international reputation of the National Film Board and has been a principal player in the development of both direct cinema and the IMAX® medium. The qualities that best exemplify his films – a sense of wonder, an anxious desire to understand and a tendency to question and probe the nature of existence – also effectively summarize the essence of his career.

After completing a Master’s degree in philosophy and psychology at the University of Manitoba, Kroitor was inspired to pursue a cinematic career after seeing a film by influential experimental artist Maya Deren. He joined the NFB in 1949 as a production assistant and soon became an editor; he directed his first film, Rescue Party, in 1952. One of the first filmmakers to use the new lightweight cameras, in 1954 he produced and directed Paul Tomkowicz: Street-railway Switchman, an important early precursor of the direct cinema movement.

Kroitor was one of the principal contributors (along with Colin Low, Terence Macartney Filgate, Wolf Koenig and Tom Daly) to the development and expression of both the Unit B style of documentary and the highly-influential Candid Eye series (1958-1959), a key movement in the development of direct cinema. He frequently collaborated with Koenig, forming a creative partnership that would result in many of the NFB’s classic documentaries, including Lonely Boy (1962) and Stravinsky (1965). Kroitor also co-directed (with Low) the acclaimed Universe (1960), which earned kudos from director Stanley Kubrick, who utilized many of the film’s techniques in 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), and produced Don Owen’s groundbreaking 1964 feature, Nobody Waved Good-bye.

Kroitor has also been pioneering new cinematographic approaches for decades. His brilliant, multi-screen Labyrinth project (another collaboration with Low), which made a big splash at Expo ’67 in Montreal, was an early experiment in the IMAX format. Kroitor left the NFB in 1967 and co-founded Multi-Screen Corporation (which became IMAX Corporation) with Graeme Ferguson and Robert Kerr. While serving as Senior Vice-President, Kroitor produced numerous IMAX films, including the first, Tiger Child (1970), directed by Donald Brittain.

He rejoined the NFB as producer of the Drama Development Programme and, in 1975, became executive producer of the Board’s Drama Studio, where he produced many fine films and earned a 1979 Academy Award® nomination for the live-action short, Bravery in the Field. He has remained heavily involved with IMAX, developing innovative ways to use the medium. In 1991, he co-directed Rolling Stones: "At the Max," the first feature film produced in the IMAX format, and more recently produced the IMAX 3D film, CyberWorld (2000).

Kroitor’s many international awards and accolades include a 1961 BAFTA Award for Best Animated Film (Universe) and six Canadian Film Awards: Film of the Year and a Special Mention for Universe, Film of the Year and Best General Information Film for Lonely Boy (1962), Best Children’s Film for Above the Horizon (1964) and Best TV Information film for Stravinsky (1965).

By Andrew McIntosh

Film and video work includes

Age of the Beaver, 1952 (editor)
Rescue Party, 1952 (director)
Paul Tomkowicz: 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 Good-bye, 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)
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)
In the Labyrinth, 1979 (co-director with Colin Low, Hugh O’Connor; co-producer with Tom Daly)
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; OMNIMAX®3D)
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; IMAX®3D)
Rolling Stones at the Max, aka At the Max, 1991 (co-director with Julien Temple, David Douglas, Noel Archambault; IMAX®)
Imagine, 1993 (co-producer with Hyok-Kyu Kwon; IMAX®3D)
Paint Misbehavin’, 1996 (director; co-producer with Steve Hoban; IMAX®3D)
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®)

Note:  Updated to April 5, 2004


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