Roman Kroitor

Roman Kroitor (December 12, 1926 – September 17, 2012) was a Canadian filmmaker who was known as an early practitioner of cinéma vérité, as co-founder of IMAX, and as creator of the Sandde hand-drawn stereoscopic animation system. He was also the original inspiration for the Force , popularized in the Star Wars series.

He studied philosophy and psychology at the University of Manitoba and then worked for the National Film Board of Canada, first as a production assistant and then as a film editor.[2] He directed his first film, Rescue Party in 1949. He wrote the NFB animated short It's A Crime (1957), produced Propaganda Message (1974), and produced and directed In the Labyrinth, released as a theatrical film in 1979.[1]

Roman Kroitor
BornDecember 12, 1926
DiedSeptember 17, 2012 (aged 85)[1]
Quebec, Canada
OccupationFilm director
Film producer
Years active1952 - 2012

Early influence of the cinéma vérité style

Between 1958 and 1961 Kroitor co-directed, with Wolf Koenig, the Candid Eye direct cinema documentary series for the National Film Board. One of those films became the highly influential cinéma vérité-style documentary about singer Paul Anka: Lonely Boy.[1] This film's use of portable film and sound gear, with lack of a voice over narration, would influence later documentaries like D.A. Pennebaker's 1967 Bob Dylan feature Dont Look Back and even more closely the Peter Watkins 1967 film Privilege. Lonely Boy was one of the earliest examples of a rockumentary and was parodied in the comedy This Is Spinal Tap.

Other notable films Kroitor directed or co-directed in the cinema verite style included Glenn Gould: On the Record, Glenn Gould:Off the Record, Stravinsky, among many others.

Founder of IMAX

Kroitor exhibited a large-scale multi-screen work, Labyrinth, at Expo 67 in Montreal. In the same year he co-founded the Multiscreen Corporation, which later became the IMAX Corporation. The Multivision process, which was a response to Kroitor's experiences at Expo 67, was developed for the Osaka Expo '70 and involved 70mm film projected horizontally rather than vertically. Each frame was as large as a postcard, with 15 sprocket-holes.[3]

He produced the first IMAX film, Tiger Child, in 1970 (dir. Donald Brittain), and in 1990 he co-directed the first IMAX feature film, Rolling Stones: At the Max. He also produced the first IMAX stereoscopic (S3D) film, We Are Born of Stars, anaglyph, 1985, and co-produced the first full-color OMNIMAX (IMAX Dome) S3D film, Echoes of the Sun, alternate-eye, 1990.[1]

Creator of hand-drawn stereoscopic animation

While working to create traditional (actuality) and early CG films in a stereoscopic format, Kroitor became frustrated due to the lack of direct interaction between the desires of the (right-brained) artists and the results on film, because at the time everything had to pass through the (left-brained) mathematicians and programmers. He conceived of SANDDE as a way to allow the artists to directly draw, in full stereoscopic 3D, what they wanted the audience to see.

Originator of "The Force"

Roman Kroitor was credited by George Lucas, creator of the Star Wars films, as being the origin of the concept of the Force, an important thematic element tying together all the Star Wars films. "One of the audio sources Lipsett sampled for 21-87 [a film that had a great influence on Lucas] was a conversation between artificial intelligence pioneer Warren S. McCulloch and Roman Kroitor, a cinematographer who went on to develop IMAX. In the face of McCulloch's arguments that living beings are nothing but highly complex machines, Kroitor insists that there is something more: 'Many people feel that in the contemplation of nature and in communication with other living things, they become aware of some kind of force, or something, behind this apparent mask which we see in front of us, and they call it God.'"[1]

"When asked if this was the source of 'the Force,' Lucas confirms that his use of the term in Star Wars was 'an echo of that phrase in 21-87.'" [4]



  • Age of the Beaver, 1952 (editor)
  • Rescue Party, 1952 (director)
  • Paul Tomkowinkz: 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 Goodbye, 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)
  • In the 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)
  • 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; OMNIMAX3D)
  • 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; technical director Doug Lerner)
  • Flowers in the Sky, 1990 (co-producer with Charles Konowal; IMAX)
  • The Last Buffalo, 1990 (co-producer with Sally Dundas; IMAX3D)
  • Rolling Stones: "At the Max", 1991 (co-director with Julien Temple, David Douglas, Noel Archambault; IMAX)
  • Imagine, 1993 (co-producer with Hyok-Kyu Kwon; IMAX3D)
  • Paint Misbehavin’, 1996 (director; co-producer with Steve Hoban; IMAX3D)
  • 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)


  1. ^ a b c d e Martin, Sandra (5 October 2012). "Roman Kroitor, 85, revolutionized the film world". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 23 November 2012.
  2. ^ Canadian Film Encyclopedia Archived 2007-09-26 at the Wayback Machine (accessed Aug 5, 2007)
  3. ^ Youngblood, Gene: Expanded Cinema, London: Studio Vista, 1970.
  4. ^ Wired 13.05: Life After Darth


  • Life After Darth, Steve Silberman, Wired Magazine, May 2005

External links

1960 Cannes Film Festival

The 13th Cannes Film Festival was held from 4 to 20 May 1960. The Palme d'Or went to the La Dolce Vita by Federico Fellini. The festival opened with Ben-Hur, directed by William Wyler.

35th Berlin International Film Festival

The 35th annual Berlin International Film Festival was held from 15 to 26 February 1985. The Golden Bear was awarded to German film Die Frau und der Fremde directed by Rainer Simon and British film Wetherby directed by David Hare. The retrospective dedicated to Special effects was shown at the festival.

7th Genie Awards

The 7th Genie Awards were held March 20, 1986, at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre to honour achievements in Canadian film in 1985. The ceremony was co-hosted by Leslie Nielsen and Catherine Mary Stewart.

Canadian Screen Award for Best Motion Picture

The Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television presents an annual award for Best Motion Picture to the best Canadian film.The award was first presented in 1949 by the Canadian Film Awards under the title Film of the Year. Due to the economics of Canadian film production, however, most Canadian films made in this era were documentaries or short films rather than full-length narrative feature films. In some years, a Film of the Year award was not formally presented, with the highest film award presented that year being in the Theatrical Short and/or Amateur Film categories.

In 1964, the Canadian Film Awards introduced an award for Best Feature Film. For the remainder of the 1960s, the two awards were presented alongside each other to different films, except in 1965 when a Feature Film was named and a Film of the Year was not, and in 1967 when the same film was named the winner of both categories. After 1970, however, the Film of the Year category was no longer used except in 1975, when due to the cancellation of the awards in 1974, it was presented alongside the Feature Film category as a de facto second Best Picture award, so that winners for both 1974 and 1975 could be named.As of 1980, the award was taken over by the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television and presented as part of the Genie Awards ceremony; as of 2013, it is presented as part of the Canadian Screen Awards.

Circus World

Circus World may refer to:

Circus World (TV series), an Irish children's television series which premiered in 2016

Circus World (novel), a 1981 science-fiction novel by Barry B. Longyear

Circus World (film), a 1964 film starring John Wayne and Rita Hayworth

Circus World (store), a now-defunct chain of toy stores in the United States

Circus World (theme park), a defunct theme park in Florida

Circus World Museum

Circus World (1974 film), a film directed by Roman Kroitor

Documentary '60

Documentary '60 is a Canadian documentary television series which aired on CBC Television from 1959 to 1960.


IMAX is a system of high-resolution cameras, film formats and film projectors. Graeme Ferguson, Roman Kroitor, Robert Kerr, and William C. Shaw developed the first IMAX cinema projection standards in the late 1960s and early 1970s in Canada. Unlike conventional projectors, the film runs horizontally (see diagram sprocket holes) so that the image width is greater than the width of the film. Since 2002, some feature films have been converted into IMAX format for displaying in IMAX theatres, and some have also been (partially) shot in IMAX. IMAX is the most widely used system for special-venue film presentations. By late 2017, 1,302 IMAX theatre systems were installed in 1,203 commercial multiplexes, 13 commercial destinations, and 86 institutional settings in 75 countries.

IMAX Corporation

IMAX Corporation is a Canadian theatre company which designs and manufactures IMAX cameras and projection systems as well as performing film development, production, post production and distribution to IMAX affiliated theatres worldwide. Founded in 1968, it has headquarters in the Toronto area, and operations in New York City and Los Angeles.

As of September 2017, there were 1,302 IMAX theatres located in 75 countries, of which 1,203 were in commercial multiplexes. These include IMAX variations such as IMAX 3D, IMAX Dome, and Digital IMAX. The CEO is Richard Gelfond.

In the Labyrinth (film)

In the Labyrinth (French: Dans le labyrinthe) was a groundbreaking multi-screen presentation at the Labyrinth pavilion at Expo 67 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It used 35 mm and 70 mm film projected simultaneously on multiple screens and was the precursor of today's IMAX format.The film split elements across the five screens and also combined them for a mosaic of a single image. It was hailed as a "stunning visual display" by Time magazine, which concludes: "such visual delights as Labyrinth ... suggest that cinema—the most typical of 20th century arts—has just begun to explore its boundaries and possibilities."In the Labyrinth was co-directed by Roman Kroitor, Colin Low and Hugh O'Connor and produced by the National Film Board of Canada. Kroitor left the NFB shortly after to co-found Multi-Screen Corporation, which later became IMAX Corporation.NFB animator Ryan Larkin also designed animated sequences for the film.It inspired Canadian filmmaker Norman Jewison to apply similar techniques to his film The Thomas Crown Affair.

List of Canadian films

This is a list of films produced in Canada ordered by year and date of release. At present, films predating 1970 are directly listed here; from 1970 on, links are provided to standalone lists by year. For an alphabetical list of all Canadian films with Wikipedia articles, see Category:Canadian films.

List of Canadian inventions

Canadian inventions are items, processes, or techniques which owe their existence either partially or entirely to a person born in Canada, a citizen of Canada or a company or organization based in Canada. Some of these inventions were funded by the National Research Council of Canada (NRCC), which has been an important factor in innovation and technological advancement.

Lonely Boy (film)

Lonely Boy is a 1962 cinéma vérité documentary about the former teen sensation Paul Anka. The film takes its name from Anka's hit song, "Lonely Boy", which he performs to screaming fans in the film. This short documentary makes use of hand-held cameras to record intimate backstage moments.

Co-directed by Roman Kroitor and Wolf Koenig, this National Film Board of Canada production won a Canadian Film Award as top film of the year and was nominated at the BAFTA Awards for its best short film prize.

Rebels with a Camera

Rebels with a Camera (French: Le direct avant la lettre) is a 2006 documentary film by Quebec director Denys Desjardins produced by the National Film Board of Canada (NFB). The title is a reference to the film Rebel Without a Cause

Robert Kerr (politician)

Robert John Kerr (August 28, 1929 - April 29, 2010) was a Canadian politician and businessman, most noted as the second mayor of Cambridge, Ontario in 1975 and 1976, and as a cofounder with Graeme Ferguson, Roman Kroitor and William C. Shaw of the IMAX company.The owner of a printing business, Kerr served as mayor of Galt, one of the towns that would later be amalgamated into Cambridge, from 1964 to 1967. Late in Kerr's term, Ferguson, a childhood friend, approached him for assistance in producing the experimental documentary film Polar Life for Expo 67, with the collaboration ultimately leading to the development of IMAX technology.As mayor of Cambridge, Kerr was noted for his prominent role in the development of the city's Mill Race Park, following the disastrous Grand River flood of 1974. According to Claudette Millar, Kerr's predecessor as mayor, while her council had voted to support the initial motion to create the park, its successful construction and opening owed much more to Kerr's efforts; according to Millar, "if it weren’t for him it could have been a blank wall".Following two years as mayor of Cambridge, Kerr devoted his efforts to the IMAX company rather than continuing in politics. From 1967 to 1994, he served as chairman, chairman emeritus, president and chief executive officer of IMAX. After his retirement, he endowed bursaries for high school students at all of Cambridge's high schools, as well as the Stanley Knowles Visiting Professorship in Canadian Studies at the University of Waterloo.Following his death in 2010, Cambridge, Ontario City Council approved the placement of a memorial stone to Kerr in the park, and the city's Grand River Film Festival paid tribute to his role in film history by staging a special gala screening of the Cambridge-shot film Saint Ralph with guest speakers including Ferguson.

Stefan Wodoslawsky

Stefan Wodoslawsky (born 1952 in Sydney, Nova Scotia) is a Canadian film producer and actor. Associated in his early career with the National Film Board of Canada, he is most noted as coproducer with Roman Kroitor of the 1979 film Bravery in the Field, which was an Academy Award nominee for Best Live Action Short Film at the 52nd Academy Awards and won the Genie Award for Best TV Drama Under 30 Minutes at the 1st Genie Awards.In the 1980s, he also had a number of acting roles, beginning with Giles Walker's mockumentary trilogy The Masculine Mystique, 90 Days and The Last Straw. He also starred in the 1988 drama film Something About Love, on which he was also a coproducer and cowriter. In the same era, he was codirector with Tony Ianzelo of Give Me Your Answer True, a documentary film profiling actor Donald Sutherland.After leaving the National Film Board he joined the commercial production firm Allegro Films, working primarily on dramatic thriller and television films.

Stones at the Max

Rolling Stones: Live at the Max (also known as Stones at the Max) is a concert film by The Rolling Stones released in 1991. It was specially filmed in IMAX during the Urban Jungle Tour in Europe in 1990. It was one of the first efforts at presenting entertainment in the IMAX format.

Rolling Stones: Live at the Max premiered 25 October 1991 in Los Angeles at the California Museum of Science and Industry. In the UK it was shown at the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television in Bradford, Yorkshire in 1992. The tagline was "Larger than life".

Tiger Child

Tiger Child (Japanese: 虎の仔 Tora no ko) was the first IMAX movie ever made. It was directed by Canadian filmmaker Donald Brittain and produced by Roman Kroitor and Kichi Ichikawa. It premiered at Expo '70 in Osaka, Japan at the Fuji Group Pavilion.

Universe (1960 film)

Universe is a black-and-white short animated documentary made in 1960 by the National Film Board of Canada. It "creates on the screen a vast, awe-inspiring picture of the universe as it would appear to a voyager through space. Realistic animation takes you into far regions of space, beyond the reach of the strongest telescope, past Moon, Sun, and Milky Way into galaxies yet unfathomed."

This visualization is grounded in the nightly work of Dr. Donald MacRae, an astronomer at the David Dunlap Observatory in Richmond Hill, Ontario, a facility formerly owned and operated by the University of Toronto, Canada, and now operated by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. Using the technology of his era, MacRae prepares his largely manually operated equipment and then photographs, by long exposure, one star. He actually strikes an arc between iron electrodes and makes a simultaneous exposure, which he can compare to the star's spectrum to determine its movement relative to Earth.

The film was a nominee at the 33rd Academy Awards in the category of Best Documentary Short Subject in 1961.

Douglas Rain did the narration for the English version; the French version was titled Notre univers with narration by Gilles Pelletier. Eldon Rathburn composed the musical score.

Wolf Koenig

Wolf Koenig (October 17, 1927 – June 26, 2014) was a Canadian film director, producer, animator, cinematographer, and a pioneer in Direct Cinema at the National Film Board of Canada.

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