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It’s time to end Toronto’s War On Fun. I want Toronto to become a Jane Jacobs city. That will be a fitting testament to her vision.—Reg Hartt.


“Reg Hartt’s stated position that “anyone who shows up on my doorstep is considered a friend”, and thus, he should not be considered to be open to the public, seems at best disingenuous. “–Elliott deBarros, MLS TORONTO

(Disingenuous adjective
1. not candid or sincere, typically by pretending that one knows less about something than one really does. synonyms: insincere, dishonest, untruthful, false, deceitful, duplicitous, lying, mendacious;

Here are some of the voices Elliott deBarros and The City Of Toronto chooses to ignore:

What he is doing here, Hartt says, inviting people into his home, is testifying to his beliefs, practising his faith. In response to that line of argument, deBarros, from property standards, wrote that use of his home as a place of worship “in whole or in part” is “a violation of the city’s Zoning By-Law.”

“Are you saying that under the city bylaws I am not allowed to practise my faith in my home?” Hartt wrote back.

I don’t know about faith and all that. But my own belief system says that if a law forbids Hartt to give film and lecture presentations here, it’s a bad law.

Toronto’s government constantly proclaims its belief in the Gospel of Jane Jacobs. But bureaucrats can’t see the value in the kind of fascinating, eccentric home Hartt keeps. Instead, they try to shut him down in the very year they are loudly celebrating the 100th anniversary of Jacobs’ birth. If they understood the first thing about Jacobs’ work, they would let Hartt continue to develop his own.

Edward Keenan

“REG HARTT is what living in a metropolis is all about. He personifies the city as a meeting place of ideas, as a feast of experience and discussion and debate, as a triumph of the original and provoking over the banal and soporific.”–GLOBE AND MAIL.

“Hartt has been a credit to Toronto for decades. “–NATIONAL POST.

“I am a friend of Reg Hartt.”—Joe Fiorito, Toronto Star.…/fiorito_we_gotta_have_hartt.html

Jane 1 Toronto’s War On Fun–hXw8

Cineforum falls victim to Toronto’s war on fun

BY JON SUFRIN |  APRIL 9, 2010 AT 9:30 AM

A classic Cineforum poster (Image: Travel Pod)

After surviving near-certain doom in 2008, Reg Hartt’s one-of-a-kind Cineforum has been shut down for doing what it has always done, namely, running a theatre in a house. According to Cineforum’s Web site, Hartt received an e-mail in March notifying him that his advertising habits (ie., the ubiquitous black-and-white posters all over the city) had been reported to the Toronto Advertising Hall of Shame and the licensing and standards committee. Shortly after, Hartt was notified by the city that Cineforum must close. The irascible film archivist has defeated opposition before—he was shut down in 1992 but reopened with a little help from his friend Jane Jacobs—and he’s not exactly known as a pushover. As such, we don’t think we’ve heard the last of the Cineforum just yet.

Toronto alternative-theatre founder stands up to bullying threats


Davisville Psycho

The city should leave Cineforum alone: Editorial

The city should drop its misguided fight against Reg Hartt’s cult institution. Cineforum deserves a happy ending to its saga: Keenan

A city that sees value in rules, but no value in letting Reg Hartt bend them, has no right to claim Jane Jacobs’ legacy, writes Edward Keenan.

Fiorito: We gotta have Hartt

The city of Toronto is trying to shut down Cineforum, the film program Reg Hartt runs from his home.

Lawrence Solomon: Jane Jacobs rules as Ford strikes a blow for film freedom


“REG HARTT is what living in a metropolis is all about. He personifies the city as a meeting place of ideas, as a feast of experience and discussion and debate, as a triumph of the original and provoking over the banal and soporific.”

Some audience members were visibly distressed by the frequency and force of Hartt’s interjections into the program but it is clearly his chosen way of doing things, and the payoff in information is worth it. He has many good stories to tell: about Oswald the Lucky Rabbit’s transformation into Mickey Mouse, Disney’s most enduring character; about the furor that greeted the creation of Tweety Pie, which subsided only when the artists painted him yellow; and much valuable technical information for the animation students. He has some interesting tales about Mel Blanc, Warners’ resident genius of voice characterization, as he continues the series with a full scale look at the Warner work of Chuck Jones, Bob Clampett, Friz Freleng, and others. It’s the best work of its kind you will see anywhere because, except in rare oases in the United States and Eastern-Europe, they don’t make them like that anymore.

JULIA SCUTARU, retired journalist, Bucharest, Romania, 2000
“In Toronto, I discovered by chance, Cineforum. Pure chance but a fortunate one. In that small room exhaling culture, passion and dedication, I watched the movie TRIUMPH OF THE WILL, an important historical, political and social document., and real artistic achievement….As a journalist (in Romania) I worked in the cultural field, including film reviews. Therefore I came to the Cineforum not just as a movie lover, but as a knowledgeable professional…We live in an era authoritatively dominated by brainwashing and political correctness…I admired Reg Hartt’s courage and passion put in searching out and defending the human truth, the artistic truth, the historical truth; the Truth and unveiling it…Discovering Reg Hartt and his Cineforum was one of the most important events of my visit in Toronto.”

DAVID BEARD, owner CINEBOOKS, quoted in THE TORONTO STAR, Nov. l, l979
“This man has devoted his whole life to bringing the film classics to the public. He treats animation-cartoons, if you will-as art. He is underfinanced, overworked and snubbed. I think we should pay tribute to him.

GREG WILLIAMS, MA (Ph, D. Candidate), President, University College Film Society, and Chairman of the Subcommittee for film, U. C. Symposium
I wish we had more time to chat together last night about our respective (and mutual) interests in film.
‘Cineforum’ has attained the status of an institution; it represents an achievement of which you should rightly feel proud.

“I can only hope the ‘University College Film Society’ will someday approximate its success and that I will, personally, match your inspired delivery as a master of ceremonies.

“As a newcomer to the business of arranging film programs, so far I am your equal perhaps only in enthusiasm. Thus I find your presentations to be not only exceptional in their content but also edifying in their execution. As an academic (in the field of English) I am also impressed by the high scholarly standard that pervades your informed and witty introductions,

“I frequently wonder if you have ever considered writing a history…some very good books have been written…but no text has dealt with it in a definitive way. A marshalling of your knowledge would, I am certain, produce a very fine volume indeed.”

DOUGLAS ELIUK, education officer NATIONAL FILM BOARD OF CANADA, formerly Canada’s Cultural Attache to America, .
“(REG) Hartt is acknowledged as a phenomenon in the film community. He is someone who does not rely on government grants, subsidies or institutional protection to generate his film activities. He depends entirely on his intelligence, talent and resourcefulness. His events are produced with care and good sense, in a clean and friendly atmosphere and with an almost avuncular consideration for his fans, As a film officer for the National Film Board of Canada for 30 years, I have seldom seen anyone who added so much substance and passion to the cultural fabric of our society as he has done with his lectures and presentations.”

From a letter to Ottawa’s Towne Cinema;
“Last week I finally got a chance to see a film I have been trying to see for literally years. That film is METROPOLIS, and I don’t mean Giorgio Moroder’s head-banger version. No, I’m talking about the most complete version of the film as it was meant to be seen in a l6mm print so clear, so clean you’d think the film was made a year ago. Wow. I mean I have been hearing stories about METROPOLIS for a long time, but I never thought my expectations would be met let alone far
surpassed. And this without the “help” of Mr. Moroder. Does this mean there wasn’t a soundtrack?

“Far from it. Accompanying the film was a brilliant (and I mean brilliant) soundtrack combining both modern music and classical pieces. This soundtrack suited the film when we all know Moroder’s didn’t. So who has this print of the film? Reg Hartt….If you know anything about Reg Hartt you know his lectures are anything but boring. He’s thrown chairs at people, kicked non-believers out, slandered near everyone under the sun (who usually deserves it) and started near riots. In other words, a real entertaining guy. Honestly. Reg is a lot of fun, he knows more about film (and the politics of film) than all of my teachers combined. And his soundtracks!”

DOUGLAS ELIUK, education officer National Film Board of Canada; Canadian Cultural Attache to America: “I have left so many cinemas looking like I’ve been smelling onions for two hours that it is a pleasure and a catharsis to alert you to a redeeming film experience I enjoyed recently. It was not exactly an epiphany, but when something brilliant comes along, it deserves comment beyond self congratulations on managing to stay awake.

“What I’m referring to is a recent screening of Fritz Lang’s METROPOLIS I attended at Reg Hartt’s Cineforum. I’ve seen the film with every sort of accompaniment except organ grinder and a monkey. When organ and even the now rare orchestral accompaniments have been attached to one of the “silent” classics, it is still hard to avoid the giggle factor what with all the usual silent movie grand overwrought gestural school of acting methods. However, Reg Hartt has completely transcended the predictable approach and has presented a classic film with a brilliant multi-layered sound track that forgives the histrionic giggle factor. Hartt allows us to see a great film with a fresh perspective.

“I am not Mr. Hartt’s P. R. council but as someone who has been in the film industry for decades and who celebrates cinematic excellence,I hope you will take the opportunity to experience this superb revitalization of METROPOLIS with its innovative music track.”

PETER MOORE, British Artist.

“I am a Brit artist. I love Toronto. I have sometimes heard it said that Toronto is boring. It is a comparatively well ordered city. Maybe that is why some imperceptive people think it boring. The thing is I keep having amazing successes in Toronto. My friend Bob Welton who decided he was much happier in Warsaw than in London used to say in London everything is possible and nothing is probable. I just find in Toronto not everything is possible but lots of things, important things, are quite probable. Does this make sense?

“ANYWAY, a wonderful surprise in Toronto is Reg Hartt’s Cineforum. I was walking down Bloor Street with my friend Alan, a composer, a Torontonian who, searching for fulfillment in London, has realized that everything he wanted existed in his original home, Toronto. It was my birthday. He said, “What do you want to do for your birthday?” I said, “I want to go and see that!”

“I was pointing at a mysterious poster for TRIUMPH OF THE WILL, (the film of Hitler’s l934 Nuremberg rally). I’d always wanted to see that.

“So we went and I found myself in the most perfect place on earth to watch a film. With the film was an unexpected treat….a brilliant, unbiased, sensible and stimulating introduction by the amazing Reg Hartt.

“So once again, in German mode, we went to see Fritz Lang’s METROPOLIS. Reg had somehow spliced on to the film his own soundtrack. Now this was interesting because a while later we went to the Art Gallery of Ontatio where the same film was shown-much bigger screen-and with piano accompaniment. It was interesting to compare the two showings. Reg’s came out winning.”reg-hartt-2 truth-7 truth-6 truth-5 truth-4 truth-3 truth-2 truth-1 reg gilgamesh-4 gilgamesh-3 gilgamesh-2 gilgamesh-1 1 1 13450089_980467175400057_7157805683918063107_n 1 crazy-wisdom-yogin 1

Hundreds of copies of this flyer have gone up around Toronto. There is no police investigation into myself. The man posting them is the same one behind the death of my program.

Hundreds of copies of this flyer have gone up around Toronto. There is no police investigation into myself. The man posting them is the same one behind the death of my program.

Toronto's Poster Bylaws are well thought out and fair. Unfortunately, the city refuses to enforce them. Commercial posterers routinely ignore them.

Toronto’s Poster Bylaws are well thought out and fair. Unfortunately, the city refuses to enforce them. Commercial posterers routinely ignore them.

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One of the many "strangers" who have come here.

One of the many “strangers” who have come here.

Ren & Stimpy Creator John Kricfalusi lived in my house. He looked after my dogs when I went to Europe.

Ren & Stimpy Creator John Kricfalusi lived in my house. He looked after my dogs when I went to Europe.

It's hard to beat praise from Chuck Jones.

It’s hard to beat praise from Chuck Jones.

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