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Toronto filmmaker Roberto Ariganello dies

I was stunned and terribly saddened to learn that Toronto lost a member of its filmmaking family over the weekend. Toronto filmmaker and LIFT maven Roberto Ariganello was killed in an accident while swimming in Halifax on Sunday.

I met Roberto in 1998 when he produced the titles for one of my short films. He and I would continue to revolve around one another's social circles in the years that followed, and would encounter one another at festival screenings, launch parties, and fundraisers. He was a kind and generous filmmaker with great enthusiasm for his work and for the Toronto film community. Moreover, his passion was for film itself - not digital, not video, not anything other than good, old-fashioned celluloid. His dedication to helping filmmakers get their projects made has touched everyone who has passed through LIFT's doors in the past nine years.

I spoke with Toronto filmmaker Daniel Cockburn this evening about the passing of our mutual friend. "He liked helping people out and he liked being in a position to help people out," Cockburn recalled. "He was doing a lot of good things."

Roberto was the executive director of the Liaison of Independent Filmmakers Toronto (LIFT), a position he held since 2003. Before that, he was LIFT's equipment and workshop coordinator for six years, which is how he and I first crossed paths. He has worked with such organizations as the Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre and the Pleasure Dome. He was passionate about film in Canada, and in Toronto particularly, and has been a visible and active member of the community for as long as I can remember. It won't be the same without him.

A funeral for Roberto will be held this Friday, August 18th, at 10am, at St. Joan of Arc Church, 1701 Bloor St. W. (East of Parkside, South side of Bloor). LIFT is also planning to hold a memorial for Roberto - I will post details when they become available.

Image taken from the Images Festival web site.


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