By Mike Drach
Robert Lantos has finally allowed Ryerson to give him the recognition he deserves.
Ryerson’s school of radio and television arts presented the Canadian film and television producer with the third annual J. Stuart MacKay Communicator of the Year Awards last Thursday.
The award, which recognizes a “significant contribution to human values in the field of broadcasting and electronic media,” was offered to Lantos in March, but he understandably passed up the even to attend the Academy Awards.
The Sweet Hereafter, one of many films that Lantos produced, was nominated for two Oscars: Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay.
Fortunately, “take two” of Ryerson’s awards ceremony was a success, as the industry leader received his plaque from the RTA faculty and Ryerson President Claude Lajeunesse. He was also presented with letter of congratulation from Mel Lastman, Sheila Copps and Mike Harris.
Lantos, the former chairman and CEO of Alliance Communications, ahs been involved with hundreds of Canadian movies and TV shows, including Exotica and the popular North of 60. He recently started a new company, Serendipity Point Films, which already has two projects in the works.
His speech was rousing and humourous. He attacked cynical attitudes towards the Canadian cultural industry, which he said is high in quality “even without the benefit of simulcast or the American promotional machine.”
Lantos argued that Canadian producers have enough talent and vision to succeed in the international market and those who criticize it needlessly are “stuck in a Littlest Hobo timewarp.”