Lantos, Robert

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LANTOS, ROBERT (1949– ), filmmaker. Lantos is arguably the most important and prolific filmmaker in Canada and his oeuvre encompasses erotica, drama, social commentary, comedy, and television. Born in Hungary, he fled with his family to Montevideo, Uruguay, following the abortive 1956 Hungarian Revolution, and moved to Montreal in 1963. Lantos received his B.A. and M.A. in communications at McGill University, where he went into film. His first film production company, Vivafilm, purchased the rights to the National Erotic Film Festival. In 1975, he and his associates formed rsl Productions, which produced 15 films in 10 years, including the provocative In Praise of Older Women (1978) and Joshua Then and Now (1985), based on the novel by Mordecai *Richler. A merger between RSL and the International Cinema Corporation created Alliance Communications in 1985, and Lantos became its chairman in 1987. Alliance quickly became Canada's largest film production and distribution enterprise. Its television series included Night Heat, North of 60, and Due South. Notable films were Johnny Mnemonic (1994) and The Sweet Hereafter (1996). Lantos oversaw the merger of Alliance with Atlantis Communications to form Canada's second largest television production house, and then left the company to form a boutique production company, Serendipity Point Films, in Toronto in 1998. Its films include Sunshine (1998), which chronicles the saga of modern Hungarian Jewry; Men With Brooms, a satirical look at the popularity of curling in Canada; and Ararat, a saga of the Armenian genocide and forced migration. Lantos' films have received two Academy Award nominations, three Golden Globe nominations, and have won the Genie Award (Canadian Film Awards) for Best Picture four times. He is active in the Canadian arts community and has chaired the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television, directed the Toronto International Film Festival and the Canadian Centre for Advanced Film Studies, and was appointed to the Board of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation by Prime Minister Jean Chrétien. He is also national vice president of Maccabi Canada. Lantos was awarded an honorary doctorate by McGill University and is a member of the Order of Canada.

[Frank Bialystok (2nd ed.)]