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To Whom It May Concern,
My name is Mackenzie Wright. I first met Reg Hartt in 2012, when a friend and I attended a screening of Kid Dracula. As much as his rendering of the classic vampire movie was the initial draw, it ended up being the talk afterwards that took the cake. For about an hour, the two of us were granted the opportunity to listen to Reg’s profound, peculiar and, above all, impassioned musings. Far too much knowledge was dispensed over our short visit for us to make much sense of anything in particular. Still, one conclusion was undeniable… the man believed, and believed fiercely, in what he said.
A year and a half later, I returned for another screening. Again, there was the post-movie talk. Or rather, this time it was a bit more of a dialogue; Reg ended it off by asking if I’d be interested in taking a room. It didn’t take too long for me to produce an answer. And to this day, I have no regrets about the 4 years I spent living in the Cineforum.
Then again, “no regrets” is a poor way to describe my experience… the truth is, I struck it rich. I lived in a movie theater that never closed, I met the wonderful (and sometimes woeful) guests who came in to see Reg’s shows and I got to witness this athlete of speech perform his pieces night in, night out. He helped me put together screenings of my own choice on several occasions and shared freely in the multitude of experiences he had collected over his 50+ years of film programming.
When one day I came to him with the news that I couldn’t make next month’s rent and that I’d have to move out, he told me to stay. In fact, I stayed a whole year, rent free, and he never asked for a thing. I know that there were more than a few others who were shown the very same benevolence, especially those who needed it far more than I did. There were the artists who hadn’t quite made it yet, the friends that had no place else left to stay and sometimes just the strangers who couldn’t get out of a losing streak.
The big things like that are fairly easy to remember, but they fall short of the whole story. Most of the time, when Reg ate, the whole house ate. If I needed to talk, and everybody else was tired of listening, Reg wasn’t one to turn me away. He led me to poets, directors and other artists who had fallen through the cracks and did what he could to spread their works to the public. His own works are a boon not just to the city of Toronto, but to the world at large. There exists his interpretation of The Epic of Gilgamesh, the original The Night They Raided Rochdale and the many essential re-scorings of silent films that have otherwise languished beneath the strains of insipid orchestrations.
Abrasive as his manner might sometimes be, Reg brings a certain vibrancy to the things and the people who happen to fall into his orbit. A thousand times over, I would take this kind of constitution, rather than settle for a more polite man. Without it, I very much doubt I would have ever met Reg at all.
As to my own credentials, I have nothing of note to pin my reputation upon. I still rank amongst the half-formed artists whose elevator pitches outclass their actual work. All I have is my word; here it is.
Reg: I was not completely selfless in inviting Mackenzie to live here. I sensed a man who is his own person. When he told me he could not pay rent I thought of the high price I would pay by his loss. Mackenzie is the right man not only in name but in deed. That’s impossibly hard to come by.

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