Reel Life Yearbook

Welcome to the Hart House Film Board digital “Yearbook” in celebration of Hart House’s 100th Anniversary!

Reel Life Yearbook

1974: Film Board memberWelcome to the Hart House Film Board digital “Yearbook”  in celebration of Hart House’s 100th Anniversary!

Since it’s inception in 1975 the Hart House Film Board has helped launch dozens of careers in the arts. We welcome all alumni of the Hart House Film Board to submit their information as a record and celebration of those who have participated in the club!

If you are a current or past member of the Hart House Film Board please post a comment here stating what you are currently doing (in film or otherwise) some of your illustrious credits, and any comments or anecdotes you would like to add about your time at the Film Board.

Note that your comments may be used by Hart House for promotional purposes with your name attached unless you specify that you would like to remain anonymous.

11 Responses

  1. The Hart House Film Board provided me with the encouragement and opportunity to discover my passion for storytelling and filmmaking. I had the first two short films I ever made during my undergraduate screened at the UofT Film Festival, where I won two awards. I strongly believe that if it wasn’t for this experience, I would have never had the push needed to pursue filmmaking as a potential career.

    Fast forward 6 years later, I am now a producer in Toronto, having premiered my documentary “Turning Tables” at Hot Docs International Documentary Film Festival in 2018 and directed a 12 episode web series called “Blackout” I financed through private and public funds. I am beyond grateful for the foundation that the Hart House Film Board built for me and hope to return the favour to future aspiring filmmakers. Shout out to Rick Palidwor for all his support!

  2. Demetri Portelli

    I am a former Film Board Executive Member and have a major in Cinema Studies from Innis College, class of 1995. Currently I work in digital cinema as a freelance cameraman and stereographer (dual cameras for 3D work) on various films. With over 10 years shooting stereo digital cameras I have been proud to build an excellent team from Toronto that continues to work on world class projects. We started on Resident Evil films in Toronto which we shot in 3D, then we shot the first digital 3D film for Martin Scorsese in 2011 called Hugo, which launched several international projects. I am excited to be close to finishing as 3D supervising of the new 3D film for Ang Lee called Gemini Man, which features 100% in-camera 3D photography captured at 120FPS per eye. I have also been shooting and directing my own short projects over the years and The Film Board was the first place to help me shoot Super 8mm and 16mm film with funding for stock and processing during my student years. This gave me invaluable hands-on experience that I could not obtain elsewhere at the University. Although we study cinematic and storytelling arts there are technical foundations and innovations always to be mastered to continue with a career in the audio visual trades, so a wonderful place like The Hart House Film Board is vital to encouraging new artisans and storytellers.

  3. If it wasn’t for the resources Hart House offered I would not be where I am today. I learned all of my film training from the program from the likes of Rick Palidwor (legend) and many others. The house was so important for me as a student and I was happy to give my time and effort to run the U of T Film Festival with Paul Templin in 2005-2006.

    I will be shooting an event on the 18th so I may not be able to make the 100 but thank you for everything.


  4. I learned super 8 film at Hart House in 2010 and my first test film from the class went to several festivals. From there I was entrenched in the analog and super 8 world to the point of inventing a new machine that uses it. I am thrilled that the institution continues and remains strong. I can’t wait to come meet and mingle!

  5. I had a great time there and made some of my first films. I was involved at the HHFB between 1979-1983, which was when Atom Egoyan was there making some of his first films. What a nice, brilliant and hilarious guy! I also became lifelong friends there with David Bennell the Technical Director at that time. Now I work at that other Film Board, the NFB, as a director in the Animation Studio in Montreal.

  6. Sean Jara

    I first heard about the HHFB when I was 19. A fellow student at UofT told me they were giving away free money to make short films. He said all you had to do was pitch an idea and – Boom! – you got to make a movie. So I came up with a crazy idea, pitched it, and was awarded with a $150 grant to make my first short. From that moment, I was bitten by the film bug. From there, I joined various film co-ops and organizations, but Hart House always stood out for its autonomy and the way it encouraged students to just have fun and explore with the medium. The club supplied much needed equipment and basic financial support.

    The club attracted an amazing community of aspiring filmmakers that helped each other to grow their careers. Many of us went on to become successful filmmakers such as Babak Payami, Alex Shuper, and various others. I leveraged what I learned at the HHFB into a career as a TV writer and have written for numerous shows from Degrassi (putting words into the mouth of a young Drake), to Spy Kids the series for Robert Rodriguez, to my own animated show, Mysticons, that I created for Michael Eisner which aired on Nickelodeon and YTV. But it all began at the HHFB. So Happy Anniversary! And here’s to a hundred more years of supporting creativity!

  7. I joined the Hart House Film Board in 1997. I was attracted to the accessible and unpretentious vibe of its community, the friendly and generous spirit of skill-building, and its core philosophy – championed by curator Rick Palidwor – that the best way to learn how to make a film was to grab a camera and make a film.

    All of my earliest projects were produced with the financial support of Hart House Film Board production grants and the enthusiastic contribution of its volunteer members. These films were invaluable growth opportunities for me as a budding writer, director, editor, and producer. The resultant pieces screened at a host of local and international film festivals, and provided an excellent springboard into the world of professional screenwriting.

    Since then, my practice has broadened beyond film to include fine art, theatrical clown, and web-based storytelling. However, I’m pleased to remain active in the Hart House community as an instructor in the Creative Classes program. My objective in this pursuit is to encourage students to embrace a low-budget mindset that privileges thoughtful, well-told stories – the same approach to filmmaking that was taught to me.

  8. In my mind the Hart House Film Board was legendary in that it was the best kept secret for those studying at UofT that were also interested in filmmaking. At the time Rick Palidwor was the heart and soul of the film board and his passion for film resonated with all of us that were members. There were some great cameras to use, including the Arri 16mm and the Canon XL1. They were both phenomenal cameras to shoot with at the time and the lighting and audio equipment really complimented our productions. As a student I really felt as though I could make a great film with all of this state of the art equipment. My eyes opened to the possibilities. So I disregarded my actual studies in favour of making films. It was very exciting. In fact, I likely annoyed Rick and others with my over zealous desire to make films. Unfortunately nothing is watchable from the time but the memories have stuck with me. This includes a weekend at the Hart House Farm, a 24 hour film competition and the many many laborious hours sitting in the upper floor of the Hart House, cutting my teeth on final cut pro.

    To sum it up, the film board was a film school for those of us who were eager to make films. I made my first short film using the Arri 16mm camera and the sound was captured on a nagra reel to reel recorder.
    Following the HHFB and my time at UofT, I went on to work in the television and film industry. I eventually started a film production and post production company that focused on television series, docuseries and commercial work. I have continued on as an educator as well and have been an instructor for over ten years at the college level. I am currently the program director of the Toronto Film School and have enjoyed a career in filmmaking.

  9. I have many fond memories of my time with the Hart House Film Board. I spent a lot of time learning on the editing equipment and since then I’ve had a fulfilling career as a film editor. I served as a curator for the film board from 1998 to 2001. I also had a blast teaching the film farm workshop weekends for a couple years. The amazing thing about the film board was the instant community that developed. I’m still in touch with some of the students that were shooting and editing films back then. If you volunteered on a few projects the favours were returned when you needed a crew. I was able to crew up an entire short film just with people I met at the Film Board. Everyone supported each other’s work and we learned together, either formally through workshops, or more often by hanging out and trading stories and tips.

  10. The Film Board is where I first had the chance to pick up a 16mm film camera and shoot on film. It’s where I spliced my first film together using an old fashion flatbed editor. Just a razor and tape. I’ll never forget that feeling. I also had the chance to work with numerous other budding filmmakers, many of which I’m still in touch with. Over the years, Rick Palidwor has invited me to come back and share that knowledge via 16 mm camera tutorials, working on the HHFB jury and by facilitating the occasional workshop.

  11. ilir pristine

    How I miss the carefree days of the hart house film board. I remember trying to get a grant and actually getting it. $100!!!! I was 21 and it felt like a whack of dough. I love the whole vibe and feel of the place. Granted it there were some digital cameras back then (my time was 1996-2000) but it felt so analog and human. sweat and dust and creaky wood floors. I made a couple of shorts and even had them screened at a hart house film festival. What a thrill to see them on the big screen. Amazing. My love of cinema hasn’t left me. I just completed my first feature at 41. (damn i’m old). Thanks to hart house film board and of course Rick Palidwor. The man, the legend, the myth? No. He’s absolutely real. Thanks Rick!

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