Robert Lantos

Robert Lantos, film producer and executive (born at Budapest, Hungary 3 Apr 1949). Robert Lantos immigrated to Canada with his family after several years in Uruguay. He spent his teen years in Montréal and studied literature at McGill University, earning a BA in 1970 and an MA in 1972. In the two-and-a-half decades after leaving McGill, Lantos became Canada's most powerful player in the world of motion pictures. He was chairman and chief executive officer of Alliance Communications Corporation until 1998 and, as longtime head of Canada's largest motion picture and television production and distribution company, has been one of the key figures in the development of the Canadian film industry in the last 30 years of the 20th century and the early decades of the 21st.

Alliance to Atlantis to Serendipity Point

In 1972 Lantos co-founded Vivafilm, a distribution company that imported foreign films for exhibition in the Canadian market. In 1975 he added RSL Entertainment, a production company through which he produced various feature films, including L'Ange et la femme (Gilles CARLE, 1976), In Praise of Older Women (George Kaczender, 1979) and Joshua Then and Now (Ted KOTCHEFF, 1985). After producing 15 films with RSL, Robert Lantos co-founded Alliance Communications Corporation, which subsequently absorbed both Vivafilm and RSL. Active in production and distribution in both cinema and television, Lantos's company was responsible for such high-profile Canadian films as Léolo (Jean-Claude LAUZON, 1992), Exotica (Atom EGOYAN, 1994) and Crash (David CRONENBERG, 1996), as well as popular television programs such as North of 60, Reboot and Due South. His rise to the top of Canada's moving image industry has been all-consuming. As he observed early in 1997, "The concept of spare time is foreign to me, since I've spent more than 25 years building my company. It was particularly challenging because when I started, the industry didn't exist."

In September 1998 Lantos merged Alliance Communications Corporation with Atlantis Communications to form Alliance Atlantis Communications Corporation. Upon closing the merger, he left the corporation to establish Serendipity Point Films, his own independent production company. Serendipity Point Films' first production, David Cronenberg's eXistenZ (1999), was invited to show in the official competition at the 1999 Berlin International Film Festival before its commercial release in March of that year.

Serendipity's feature films include the Canadian-Hungarian co-production Sunshine Sunshine (Istvan Szabo, 2000), which won the GENIE AWARD for Best Canadian Film that year; the popular comedy, Men with Brooms (Paul GROSS, 2002); and two impressive productions that premiered at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival, Ararat (Atom Egoyan, 2002) and Spider (David Cronenberg, 2002). Lantos has produced several key films of the following decade, including Being Julia (Istvan Szabo, 2004), Eastern Promises (David Cronenberg, 2007), Adoration (Atom Egoyan, 2008), and the Oscar-winning screen adaptation of Montréal novelist Mordecai RICHLER's BARNEY'S VERSION (Richard Rose, 2010).

Awards

For years a persistent and often outspoken proponent of Canadian talent, Robert Lantos has received several special awards from the Canadian film and television industry. He has received the Academy of Canadian Film and Television's 1991 Air Canada Award for "Outstanding Contribution to the Business of Filmmaking in Canada," the Canadian Film and Television Producers Association Chetwynd Award for "Entrepreneurial Excellence," and the Ontario Region's Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 1995. In addition to these personal awards, the films and television programs produced by Alliance have received dozens of awards in Canada and at international festivals. In 1999 Lantos was appointed a Member of the ORDER OF CANADA.