And the Oscar goes to … The Lady in Number 6!

Posted: March 5th, 2014

Bohbot Academy Award

Coms alumnus Frederic Bohbot holds Academy Award for best documentary short | Photo credit: Frederic Bohbot

As graduates of Concordia’s Department of Communication Studies, Frederic Bohbot, BA 01, was the film’s executive-producer; Kieran Crilly, BA 03, was cinematographer; while Carl Freed, BA 94 of the Department of Political Science, was editor. A graduate of the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema, Luc St. Pierre, BFA 09, was composer.

“Only a decade after they finished university they won an Academy Award. This will be a real source of inspiration for students in our department,” says Rae Staseson, chair of Concordia’s Department of Communication Studies.

The film industry’s top honour was accepted at the 86th Academy Award ceremony that took place at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, CA, on March 2.

The documentary is about 110-year-old pianist Alice Herz-Sommer — the oldest Holocaust survivor in the world — who passed away a week before the Oscar telecast.

“She taught everyone on my crew to be a little more optimistic and a little bit more happy about all the things in our lives.

"Seeing the film will help you live a much happier life,” said the film’s director Malcolm Clarke from the Oscar podium.

Other Oscar connections
Bohbot, Crilly, Freed and St. Pierre weren’t the only Concordians at Hollywood’s biggest night.

Yves Bélanger, BFA 84, was a cinematographer on the movie Dallas Buyers Club.

Directed by Montrealer Jean-Marc Vallée, the film was nominated for six awards including best picture. Actors Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto won for best actor and best supporting actor, respectively.

Communication Studies Grad Wins SSHRC Award

Posted: December 17th, 2013

Kendra Besanger
Photo courtesy Kendra Besanger

Communication Studies graduate Kendra Besanger’s “Talking Through the Ages” was one of 25 winning audio, video, text and infographic entries in last year’s inaugural challenge. The pitch made by Besanger, MA (Media Studies) 2013, describes Active Ageing Mobile Technologies — an initiative led by Communication Studies professor Kim Sawchuk and based at the university’s Mobile Media Lab.

As Sawchuck says, “The research is important because it overturns and questions the assumptions we have around generational divide and media.”

This time around, the deadline for submissions is January 15, 2014. Students who proffer the top 25 pitches take home a cash prize and an all-expenses paid trip to the 2014 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences at Brock University in May.

When Besanger won, she flew to Victoria for the congress.

Her own graduate research project was funded by SSHRC, but she decided to focus on the Mobile Media Lab’s larger work with seniors, technology and communication, since she felt it had more impact. She also participated on a related project called MemorySpace.

“The way that Kim explained it to me — the through-line that I took — is that we talk about gender, class and race, but age is missing,” Besanger says. “That was the thesis statement of my three-minute pitch: we need to bring age into our perspective when we do critical studies.”

Her advice to applicants? “Find research that is having an impact, and keep it simple. Don’t think about it too much: just get what you need and put something together. It’s worth it.”

Research for a Better Life: The Storytellers, a new competition sponsored by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada, is currently seeking applicants.

It invites post-secondary students from across Canada to submit pitches promoting SSHRC-funded research projects at their institution. “What we’re looking for is clarity in explaining the research, creativity in the way you explain it, and persuasive stories,” says SSHRC communications advisor David Holton.