Font Size

David Beard, in this TORONTO STAR article from 1979, states, “Reg Hartt is underfinanced, over worked and snubbed. I think we should pay tribute to him.”

Last week walking along College Street to the post office I once again saw a host of flyers on the utility poles and kiosks attacking myself.

One of those posters referenced a name new to me.
This morning I did a web search and found this: https://quillette.com/author/adam/ . Adam also writes for
We all have hits and misses. He is one of my misses.
Cecil Taylor ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cecil_Taylor   ) played the piano the way many people do not want to hear it. He played it brilliantly. He taught, “The key to success in the arts is to find someplace small in your own city where you can present your ideas regularly without interference. Do that and the world will come o your door.”
Had anyone told me I would be inviting strangers into my home for my programs when I first came to Toronto I would have said, “No way.”
In 1992 I was using a bar up the street. I had an altercation with the management. As the crowd was small I invited them down to my home. I thought I would use it for one night then look for someplace new.
As they walked in everyone said, “I like this.”
Surprised, I said, “Do you? Then this is where it will be.”
One of the inspirations for my work is THE BEAT HOTEL in Paris:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beat_Hotel .

The real work of THE CINEFORUM is not the films that have been and will be screened here. It is the people who coming through here decide they’d like to live here. Why? Because they find their Muse here.

Alexandre Hamel walked down that long hall just before Christmas, 2004. I said, “You look just like Walt Disney’s PINOCCHIO.” Alex said, “I’m playing the tail end of the whale in Walt Disney On Ice.”

Alex had been a champion figure skater. That part of his life was over. In his future lay shows like DISNEY ON  ICE wearing Disney costumes or LAS VEGAS ON ICE wearing a top hat on his dick.

“Can I crash here,” said Alex. Disney put him up in a five star hotel. “Sure,” I said. He celebrated Christmas here.

When the tour left Toronto for Buffalo Alex came here on weekends. When the tour left Buffalo Alex asked if he could live here when it was over. I said, “Sure.”

Let Alex tell his own story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tkoNCMH6aNY .

In THE DEATH AND LIFE OF GREAT AMERICAN CITIES Jane Jacobs writes about the importance of old, run down buildings. She writes, “Old Ideas are sometimes found in new buildings but new ideas need old, run down buildings.”

Adam writes, “When I first visited the Cineforum at age 17, I knew none of this. I was just a pretentious kid who wanted to see avant-garde film.”

Here are some of the reviews for the program he came to see. They are extremely positive.
I don’t expect everyone to like my work. That would be ridiculous.
I created THE CINEFORUM as a living, breathing work of art.
When I first began my programs here I posted reviews of my work as most places do. Then I took them down. I decided it was better, for good or bad, to get the honest reactions of people who come here.
The CineForum community spans the planet.

The legendary Forrest J Ackerman at The Cineforum.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forrest_J_Ackerman

The legendary Al Aronowitz at The CineForum. http://alaronowitz.com/

Reg Hartt when he arrived in Toronto in the winter of 1965. He had no place to stay because the friend he thought he had wasn’t. That morning Hartt’s high school principal had told him, “You have the wrong attitude. Leave this school today and you will starve in two weeks.” Had Hartt not left he would have starved.

Chuck Jones is one of the great masters of the animated cartoon. This card was sent to me on the last Christmas of his life. Local animation artists avoid my program because I speak. Not one of them is even close to the caliber of a Chuck Jones.

Jane Jacobs is most famous for her book THE DEATH AND LIFE OF GREAT AMERICAN CITIES. Her last book, DARK AGE AHEAD, is must reading. She was my friend from her arrival in Toronto in 1968. Her children say to me when we meet, “Our mother loved you.” I love her.

Aditya Shankar came the The CineForum. “Can I live here?” he asked. https://xtramagazine.com/power/gay-u-of-t-student-from-india-refuses-to-be-criminalized-57166

Marc Sleep arrived at The CineForum from Australia. He cooked a magnificent dinner from THE SALVADOR DALI COOKBOOK.

Dali and his cook book.

Judith Merril, Reg Hartt, THE SALVADOR DALI DINER prepared by Marc Sleep.

Mark Sleep with Owen Hartt, father of Reg Hartt.

JULIA SCUTARU,a  retired journalist from Bucharest, Romania wrote: “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.”
Many people who have come here have asked to live here.
Aditya Shankar was the face of Gay Youth Inddia. He fought the fight against religious intolerance against homosexuality in India from here: https://xtramagazine.com/power/gay-u-of-t-student-from-india-refuses-to-be-criminalized-57166 . Adi is on FACEBOOK. I suggest you contact him to see if his experience mirrors Adam’s.
Alexandre Hamel was touring with DISNEY ON ICE when he came here the first time. He, too, asked if he could live here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tkoNCMH6aNY . Living here Alex dreamed up the revolutionary figure skating company. LE PATIN LIBRE: https://www.lepatinlibre.com/ .
WIZTHEMC, from Germany, found himself homeless in Toronto. WIZ emailed Reg Hartt, “I’m homeless. Can I live with you?” Hart emailed back, “Sure.”  https://reghartt.ca/cineforum/?p=33438,
Here is Wiz’s first show here. it is in 3D. Use red and blue glasses: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DmMrakJeCgk
I can give you more, lots more from people who have had an experience here immensely rewarding to their lives.
Ed Kennan, of THE TORONTO STAR, said to me, “You are the only man in this city who stands up.” I said, “I am not but there are never enough.
Adam writes, “The city of Toronto, on the other hand, has long considered him a nuisance and illegal business operator.”
That the city considers me a nuisance is true. That I am an illegal business operator is not true.

Wrote Keenan, “[Reg Hartt’s] Cineforum is a tribute to the virtues of the unplanned, the uncorporate, the uncertified, the unregulated. What a treasure to live in a place where a character like Hartt can make a place for his passions and his art and where anyone can go and share them.

“Cities, Jacobs says onscreen, need to fight everything that keeps people from “developing their own work.” A city economy, like the weather, “is making itself up as it goes along.”

“Yet city regulators cannot figure out how to leave Hartt alone to develop his work. Standards officers asked him to apply for a zoning review to categorize his place as a public art gallery, a process that requires all kinds of fees and architectural drawings to complete. “I would ask that you check-in with the Planning Dept. and/or an individual familiar with municipal law prior to using the property in any manner other than a residential dwelling,” property standards officer Elliot deBarros wrote in notifying him that he and his landlord were being cited for a bylaw violation.

“They came after him before, in 2010, until then-mayor Rob Ford intervened. Now, they have once again decided he’s a problem.

“It’s not just this, of course. In this city, signs posted in the park tell you a permit is required to play Frisbee. In this city, immigrant kids trying to throw a skating party near Jane and Finch have to cancel because they don’t have two million bucks in insurance.

“Maybe it’s a miracle Hartt’s been able to continue this long.

“Fighting to save his work, he says, is fighting to “seize the moment to turn Toronto into a Jane Jacobs city.”

“Hart says Cineforum is dead. But he’ll continue giving presentations this summer at the house — posters he put up toward the end of the week just gave the address at 463 Bathurst, without mentioning a name. And he says he’ll continue to fight to save his work of art, his home. He tells me he invites people to come see the Shroud of Turin replica he has in his hall, elaborating on what it shows as a 3D rendering of the post-crucifixion body of Jesus.

“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.”  https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2016/06/27/cineforum-deserves-a-happy-ending-to-its-saga-keenan.html

 

Postcard from Emo Philips. He writes, “I honestly believe you are the greatest teacher I know…for confirmation of everything you’ve been saying read David Mamet’s TRUE AND FALSE.”

Reg Hartt

DAVID BEARD 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 marshaling 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.”

“Toronto Mayor Rob Ford recently came to the rescue of Reg Hartt, an individual who had run afoul of the law. Hartt’s violation? As explained by city authorities, he was illicitly running “a place of assembly.” Hartt’s actual crime? He is a non-conformist in a city that makes just about all commercial activities illegal, including those in the home, unless some city bureaucrat says otherwise.
“Hartt has been a credit to Toronto for decades. His Cineforum, which screens noteworthy films for small study groups in his living room, has long won acclaim from critics in Canada and abroad and endorsements from Canadian icons such as author Pierre Berton and urban guru Jane Jacobs. Lonely Planet lists 463 Bathurst St, his modest abode on a major Toronto thoroughfare, as among the top 30 sights to see in Toronto and in the top 30 of sights to see in Ontario. That’s quite a credit to the city. Yet although neighbours don’t complain, the city’s Municipal Licensing and Standards department periodically shuts him down.MLS regulates freedom in Toronto, everything from the activities of major retailers down to an individual’s garage sales. It can investigate how well you are prepared to look after your pet in an emergency, whether you are mowing your lawn properly, and whether you are operating a pedicab without a license. And – in the case of Hartt — whether you can screen films in your living room for small gatherings. MLS’s answer was “no” – Hartt’s screenings of everything from modern classics to Nazi propaganda from the 1930s to Betty Boop cartoons, it claimed, somehow threatened the common weal.”

 

« »