Posted: March 5th, 2014
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.
Posted: January 27th, 2014
A team from Concordia’s newly minted Media History Research Centre (MHRC) has partnered with the University of Wisconsin-Madison in a bid to transform the study of film and media history. Today, their project was awarded more than $200,000 in an international grant competition.
Project Arclight’s goal is to turn digitized historical documents into useable data sets. In an era when our publications and libraries are moving to an electronic model, the backlog of pre-digital documents waiting to be transferred from paper to pixel is staggering. As archivists make that conversion, researchers are left with vast amounts of raw material.
Arclight is developing a new web-based tool that will allow users to analyze millions of pages of digitally scanned magazines and newspapers for trends related to a chosen media history subject.
The proposal has been selected as a successful entry in the Digging into Data Challenge, administered by the Office of Digital Humanities at the U.S. National Endowment for the Humanities. The winners were announced on January 15: the Canada/U.S. Project Arclight team will receive approximately $214,750 to develop the software tool, which it aims to launch in 2015.
Arclight will allow film and media historians to apply a big-data analysis approach to their research.
“Today you hear of corporations that use social media as a way to gauge different kinds of developing interests with geographical precision,” says project leader Charles Acland, professor and Concordia University Research Chair in Communication Studies. “What we want to do is develop an online, web-based tool that will help media historians do something comparable using historical materials.”
Initially, the project will draw on more than two million pages of documents from two repositories: the Media History Digital Library and the National Digital Newspaper Program at the Library of Congress. It will grow to include other digitized holdings.
The wealth of newly digitized trade magazines, fan magazines and newspapers holds a lot of potential for researchers, Acland says. “It really opens up the possibility of constructing a new kind of portrait of the history of the development of contemporary media in Canada and the United States.”
One of the main goals of the developers is to make the software tool easy to navigate, in hopes of attracting as many users as possible. “The design of the homepage is a very intuitive user interface that basically lets you immediately start asking the questions you want to know,” says Professor Eric Hoyt, principal investigator from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in a video about the project.
The Digging into Data Challenge is supported by 10 international research funding bodies, including the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI).
The grant is a major coup for Acland and his team at the Media History Research Centre. Acland is excited to see the impact Arclight will have on film and media studies.
“If our ambitions for this are approximated, it will be one of the major starting points for media historical research here and internationally.”
Posted: January 27th, 2014
We’re delighted to announce that The Lady in Number Six, a short film produced with the involvement of two of our alums, Frederic Bohbot (2001) and Kieran Crilly (2003), has been nominated for an Academy Award in the category Best Documentary Short Subject.
The Lady in Number Six tells the inspirational story of Alice Herz Sommer, who at 109 years of age is the world’s oldest pianist and oldest Holocaust survivor. For The Lady in Number Six, which was produced by Bunbury Films in collaboration with Reed Entertainment, Bohbot was one of the executive producers, and Crilly was Director of Photography.
Our best wishes to the entire crew – and good luck at the Awards!
You can view the film trailer here:
Posted: December 17th, 2013
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.
Posted: October 7th, 2013
Undergraduate student Ben Spencer has been awarded the inaugural Marc Gervais Prize. The Marc Gervais Prize in Communication Studies was established in 2013 to honour former Communication Studies professor, Marc Gervais SJ, who taught in the department for 30 years. He passed away in March 2012. His film courses were immensely popular with students throughout the university, including classes on Hitchcock, Germany in the 1920s, The French Nouvelle Vague, and his own specialization, Ingmar Bergman and the Scandinavians. In 1999, he published Ingman Bergman: Magician and Prophet.
The competitive Prize is awarded to a graduating undergraduate student to undertake future projects. Ben Spencer completed his BA in Communication in Spring 2012, and entered our MA in Media Studies program this fall.
The Marc Gervais Prize has been funded through an endowment at Concordia University established by the generosity of former colleagues and students, family and friends of the late Marc Gervais S.J. through the Department of Communication Studies.
Posted: July 8th, 2013
Filmmaker Deepa Mehta and Department Chair,
Rae Staseson at convocation
© Concordia University
Students, faculty and staff had an opportunity to watch acclaimed filmmaker, Deepa Mehta, receive an honorary degree at this year’s convocation. Mehta was introduced by Department Chair, Prof. Rae Staseson, and hooded by Prof. Daniel Cross, Chair of Cinema.
Mehta is an Oscar-nominated screenwriter and director whose award-winning films — such as Midnight’s Children and Water — have been distributed in more than 50 countries and screened at major international film festivals. Mehta is being honoured for her artful explorations of universal themes, most notably women’s struggle for equality.
Rae Staseson, Deepa Mehta, Dean Brian Lewis, Daniel Cross
© Concordia University
Posted: June 3rd, 2013
Zoë Constantinides | Photo by Dallas Curow
Concordia University’s Zoë Constantinides (ABD PhD in Communication Studies) is being honored as the 2013 recipient of the Gerald Pratley Award at the Learned Congress in Victoria, BC. The Pratley Award is the most prestigious and competitive award of its kind, given annually by the Film Studies Association of Canada.
The award goes to the best and most innovative graduate student work on Canadian/Québec cinema. In addition to the $1,000 prize, as the Pratley recipient Ms. Constantinides presents her research, “Broadcasting Taste: The Emergence of Popular Film Criticism on English-Canadian Radio,” in keynote address at the FSAC Conference. This is the unprecedented fifth time in ten years that the Gerald Pratley Award has gone to a Concordia University PhD Student in Communication Studies, making it by far the most celebrated venue for new research on Canadian cinema in the country.
Posted: April 3rd, 2013
Congratulations to Dr. Kim Sawchuk and Dr. Krista Geneviève Lynes, who have both recently been awarded new research chair positions.
Dr. Kim Sawchuk | Image © Concordia University
Dr. Sawchuk now holds a Concordia University Research Chair (Tier 1) in Mobile Media Studies, a first of its kind in Canada. Sawchuk directs the Mobile Media Lab, which is dedicated to the critical and creative investigation of mobilities across the humanities, social sciences, fine arts and the sciences. Many of the projects in the Lab that Dr. Sawchuk is currently undertaking explore the use of geo-located media for research on urban environments, digital storytelling, and cultural activism.
Dr. Krista Geneviève Lynes | Image © Concordia University
Dr. Lynes is the new Canada Research Chair (Tier 2) in Feminist Media Studies and she will soon be running the Feminist Media Studio, which will support the creative and critical engagement with historical and contemporary forms of politically-engaged feminist art, documentary, independent cinema, and media activism in a globalized world. Through its creation, students and faculty—along with associated scholars and cultural producers—will have access to production and post-production facilities that draw from the complex histories of feminist art and activism.
Posted: March 7th, 2013
Kim Nguyen | Image courtesy of Métropole Films Distribution
Rebelle, directed by Concordia graduate Kim Nguyen, took home 10 Canadian Screen Awards during a gala held in Toronto on March 3.
The Oscar-nominated film, also written by Nguyen, BFA (Film Production) 97, was nominated for 12 awards and won in categories that include best film, best director and best screenplay. Its teenage star, Rachel Mwanza, also won for best actress.
"I’m very touched," said Nguyen as he collected the best director prize. I’d like to dedicate this to the women in the Congo, their strength, their courage and their resilience."
In December, Nguyen told reporters via a conference call that he was overwhelmed by the reception his film has received.
Montreal-born Nguyen said he trusted his instincts in shooting the film in war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo.
Award-winning producer and alumnus Pierre Even. | Photo by Concordia University.
Alumnus Richard Comeau, BFA (Film Production) 87, also won an award for achievement in editing for the Rebelle film.
Alumnus Pierre Even, GrDip (Communication Studies) 90, produced the 90-minute drama. He and Nguyen worked alongside Nicolas Bolduc attendee (Film Production) 94 who was cinematographer for the feature.
Rebelle, War Witch in English, is a poignant film with an exceptional lead performance by Mwanza, a newcomer discovered on the streets of Kinshasa, the capital and largest city of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The film tells the story of Komona (Mwanza), a 12-year-old girl who is kidnapped by African rebels, forced at gunpoint to kill her parents and fight as a child soldier.
Due to her ability to see grey ghosts in the trees that warn her of approaching enemies, she is deemed a sorceress and bestowed the title of War Witch by the supreme leader of the rebels, Great Tiger.
Rebelle premiered at the Berlin Film Festival in 2012, where Nguyen was the first Canadian director in 13 years to have a film selected for the main competition. Mwanza earned the best actress Silver Bear award. She also won Best Actress prize for the movie at the Tribeca film festival in New York City in April, along with the Best Narrative Film prize.
Rebelle is Nguyen’s fourth feature film. He started it 10 years ago after reading about two Burmese twin brothers who, at age nine, led an army of rebels in a fight against the government. His research, which included travelling to Burundi to interview child soldiers, led him to focus on conflicts in Angola, Sierra Leone and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Next up on the awards circuit for Rebelle is the Jutra Awards, where the film has been nominated in nine categories. The Jutra Awards, which recognize accomplishment in Quebec’s film industry, will be broadcast live on Sunday, March 17 at 7:30 p.m.
• “Rebelle by Concordia grad nominated for Oscar” — NOW, January 10, 2013
• “Quebec’s C.R.A.Z.Y. film business” — NOW, March 28, 2012
Posted: January 22nd, 2013
Rebelle, written and directed by Concordia graduate Kim Nguyen, and produced by Communication Studies alumnus Pierre Even, has been nominated for Best Foreign-Language Film at the 85th Academy Awards.
Nguyen, overwhelmed by the reception the film has received so far, said he trusted his instincts in shooting the film in war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo.
Scene from Rebelle | All images courtesy of Métropole Films Distribution
Pierre Even produced the 90-minute drama, which will square off against Austria’s Amour, Norway’s Kon-Tiki, Chile’s No and Denmark’s A Royal Affair.
Nguyen and Even worked alongside another Concordian, Nicolas Bolduc, who was the film’s cinematographer.
Rebelle is the third Canadian-made movie in a row to impress the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
In 2011, Monsieur Lazhar was nominated, yet the award went to A Separation from Iran. In 2010, Incendies was nominated and lost to Denmark’s In a Better World.
André Turpin, BFA 89 and fellow Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema graduate, worked as cinematographer on the critically acclaimed Incendies.
Rebelle — War Witch in English — is a poignant film with an exceptional lead performance by Rachel Mwanza, a newcomer discovered on the streets of Kinshasa, the capital and largest city of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The film tells the story of Komona (Mwanza), a 12 year-old girl who is kidnapped by African rebels, forced at gunpoint to kill her parents and fight as a child soldier.
Due to her ability to see grey ghosts in the trees that warn her of approaching enemies, she is deemed a sorceress and bestowed the title of War Witch by the supreme leader of the rebels, Great Tiger.
Rebelle premiered at the Berlin Film Festival in 2012, where Nguyen was the first Canadian director in 13 years to have a film selected for the main competition.
Mwanza earned the best actress Silver Bear award. She also won Best Actress prize for the movie at the Tribeca film festival in New York City in April, along with the Best Narrative Film prize.
Rebelle is Nguyen’s fourth feature film. He started it 10 years ago after reading about two Burmese twin brothers who, at age nine, led an army of rebels in a fight against the government.
His research, which included travelling to Burundi to interview child soldiers, led him to focus on conflicts in Angola, Sierra Leone and Sub-Saharan Africa.
• Official trailer for Rebelle
• Concordia’s Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema
Posted: January 17th, 2013
The Society for Cinema and Media Studies has awarded Useful Cinema (Duke University Press, 2011) an honorable mention in its 2013 Best Edited Collection Award competition. Useful Cinema was edited by Charles Acland (CURC Communication Studies) and Haidee Wasson (Cinema Studies), and the volume grew out of an SSHRC-funded workshop held at Concordia University in 2006.
The book consists of fourteen essays that explore how mid-twentieth-century institutions, including libraries, museums, classrooms, and professional organizations, helped to make moving images an ordinary feature of American life. The SCMS awards committee praised the volume for helping to open up a new research domain and noted the consistently high quality of the historical research across the essays.
This is the first time an SCMS Best Edited Collection Award committee has recognized work from scholars at a Canadian university. The award ceremony will take place in Chicago in March.
Posted: October 3rd, 2012
Communication Studies alumni Sabrina Catalogna and Gabriela Warrior Renaud had their Film III 2011 production, Dreaming in Colour, screened at the Montreal World Film Festival 2012 this past September. Dreaming in Colour is an experimental documentary which explores the visual perception of Kim Holdbrook, a blind woman. It features the daily life and struggles of this single mother and focuses on her journey through the disability and her now positive outlook on her situation.
Their film won Best Experimental in the student division. They are both extremely happy with their accomplishments and were proud to represent Concordia University, with special thanks to the Communication Studies department and staff.
“We are both extremely happy with our accomplishments. We would like to thank the Communication Studies department and staff, without their support and education, this award would not have been presented. A special thank you to Mike Rollo for being our mentor throughout this process and for his constant motivation with the creative aspects of experimental film making. We hope this is the beginning of a successful and creative career for the both of us.”
Posted: September 7th, 2012
Congratulations to our fulltime faculty, who in the last 2 years, have successfully received external research funding for research, research-creation, and media arts from agencies including SSHRC, FQRSC, NCE Grand, CFI, CIHR, Canada Council, CALQ, and the Reynard Program, among others.
Internal research projects and initiatives have also been awarded from numerous programs through the Vice-President Research and Graduate Studies and the Faculty of Arts and Science.
Through these various competitive awards, Communication Studies Faculty are developing innovative scholarly and creative projects that are making major contributions to communication studies, cultural studies, media studies and the fine arts.
Posted: February 9th, 2012
February 8, 2012 – Ottawa, Canada – The Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences is pleased to announce the short list of nominees for the Canada Prizes in the Humanities and the Canada Prizes in the Social Sciences. Awarded annually to one work in French and one in English in each category, the prizes are a benchmark for outstanding scholarly work in the humanities and social sciences.
“On behalf of the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, I want to congratulate the 18 authors shortlisted for The Canada Prize, which recognizes outstanding scholarly works in the social sciences and humanities, and their thoughtful contribution to society,” said Graham Carr, president of CFHSS. “We are proud to support exceptional French and English authors who shed new light on intriguing topics ranging from Bethune to women and Canada’s cultural history to the artistry of Tom Thomson and Jean-Paul Riopelle.”
The four prizes are each valued at $2,500 and will be presented at a special award ceremony on Friday, March 30, 2012 at the Musée des beaux-arts in Montreal. The nominees are chosen from works supported by CFHSS’s Awards to Scholarly Publications Program and winners are selected by a jury of scholars from across the country.
Shortlisted Titles for the Canada Prizes
Canada Prize in the Humanities
FISHER, Susan R. Boys and Girls in No Man's Land: English-Canadian Children and the First World War (UTP)
GERSON, Carole Canadian Women in Print, 1750-1918 (WLUP)
MCKAY, Marylin J.. Picturing Land: Narrating Territories in Canadian Landscape Art, 1500-1950 (MQUP)
STEWART, Roderick, STEWART, Sharon. Pheonix: The Life of Norman Bethune (MQUP)
TREMBLAY, Tony. David Adams Richards of the Miramichi (UTP)
Canada Prize in the Social Sciences
HENDERSON, Stuart. Making the Scene: Yorkville and Hip Toronto in the 1960s (UTP)
LEDUC, Timothy B.. Climate, Culture, Change: Inuit and Western Dialogues with a Warming North (UOP)
REGAN, Paulette. Unsettling the Settler Within: Indian Residential Schools, Truth-telling and Reconciliation in Canada (UBC Press)
STRONG-BOAG, Veronica. Fostering Nation? Canada Confronts Its History of Childhood Disadvantage (WLUP)
VAN WYCK, Peter C.. The Highway of the atom (MQUP)
Prix du Canada en sciences humaines
BROUILLETTE, Marc André Spatialité textuelle dans la poésie contemporaine (Éditions Nota bene)
CELLARD, Karine Leçons de littérature : Un siècle de manuels scolaires au Québec (PUM)
SAINT-JACQUES, Denis et ROBERT, Lucie La vie littéraire au Québec, tome VI (1919-1933) (PUL)
VIGNEAULT, Louise Espace artistique et modèle pionnier. Tom Thomson et Jean-Paul Riopelle (Éditions Hurtubise inc.)
Prix du Canada en sciences sociales
BLAIS, Agnès Une ONG en Rusie post-soviétique (PUL)
DUCHARME, Michel Le concept de liberté au Canada à l'époque des Révolutions atlantiques, 1776-1838 (MQUP)
FYSON, Donald Magistrats, police et société : la justice criminelle ordinaire au Québec et au Bas-Canada (1764-1837) (Éditions Hurtubise inc.)
JOLIVET, Simon Le vert et le bleu. Identité québécoise et identité irlandaise au tournant du XXe siècle (PUM)
Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences
Representing more than 85,000 researchers in 79 scholarly associations, 79 universities and colleges, and 5 affiliates, the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences is the national voice for the university research and learning community in these disciplines.
Posted: December 7th, 2011
by Karen Herland
M.E. Luka receives the notice that she is one of this year’s Vanier scholars. | Image courtesy of M.E. Luka
“There are those moments when you put things beside each other, and you know they fit together, but you have to really look closely, because you’re not sure how,” says M.E. Luka.
She’s reflecting on the path that has led her to earn Concordia’s most recent Vanier Scholarship, one of 166 allocated this year across Canada.
“In a funny way, this [PhD] project connects all the different parts of my life.”
Given that Luka has studied fine arts, communications and education, and has worked as a television producer, arts fundraiser and teacher, common threads are not obvious. But then, her experience does reflect the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship criteria, which balance academic excellence and research rigour against leadership, community engagement and outreach.
Luka came to Concordia’s Department of Communication Studies two years ago to research the potential and role of digital media in the development of arts, cultural community and cultural citizenship.
Her decision to return to school came when the CBC cut funding for Artspots, a television and Internet program she founded and produced at the network’s Halifax studios from 1997 to 2008.
The program developed from a mandate to establish community ties. “It was an opportunity to really create partnerships at a deep level,” adds Luka who worked with artists, curators, arts administrators and gallery directors.
Through Artspots, Luka produced 1,200 short videos featuring 300 artists from across the country. In the process, she produced 10 documentaries. Luka had not intended to create the definitive catalogue of contemporary art production by Canadians for Canadians.
When Artspots ended, Luka realized it was time to explore another centre of creative production and Montreal beckoned.
Using Artspots as a starting point, Luka plans to study the relationship between new media production and the creation of online or digital communities.
“Concordia is exactly the right place for this research,” she says, pointing to the Faculty’s equal commitments to production and theoretical knowledge, with particular expertise in the arts and television.
Luka is interested in the specificity of different communities and audiences, rejecting the notion of a single, broad audience. “Media is about personal networks, about what makes life interesting.” She sees possibility for creativity and community formation through collaboration between artists, producers and audiences. It’s a kind of relationship-building that moves far beyond simply creating a Facebook page and waiting for a response. “That seems fairly instrumental,” says Luka. “I want to ask how do you crack that open? Think more broadly and deeply?”
Already the Vanier is having an impact. Luka recently spent a week in Porto, Portugal at the joint University of Texas at Austin University of Porto Gary Chapman International School on Digital Transformation. A small group of researchers spent intensive 13-hour plus days discussing citizenship in the digital era. “This is one of the great outcomes of receiving the Vanier – having the resources to meet face-to-face with others doing research in similar areas” she says.
Source: Concordia Now