Concordia’s Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema shines at Project Spark 2023
Two Concordians from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema have recently made their mark on the international stage.
Aiden Nicell, BFA 22, a graduate of the Film Production program, and Lucile Parry-Canet, a student in the same program, both earned distinctions at the 2023 Project Spark competition. Open to creators from around the world, Project Spark invites participants annually to bring their artistic visions to life under a specific theme, which this year was “Reflection.” All winning submissions are awarded $20,000 USD plus $7,000 USD worth of equipment.
Nicell’s film Shadow’s Pass won the award for Best Experimental Short Film. The work incorporated more than 5,000 individually shot, printed and reworked images. Through this abstract exploration, he takes viewers on a journey involving a brush with death and a person’s new existence, marked by what they have endured.
“The Project Spark competition has been quite the experience; it was a sprint start to finish,” Nicell says.
“The entire film had to be made within the one month before the deadline. It was constant long days, late nights, and often I’d go to bed scared I’d gotten in over my head. If it wasn’t for the people around me, this would not have been possible,” he shares.
“The recognition I’ve received from the competition and everyone involved has been amazing. I’m proud of what we have achieved and I’m excited to put the prizes to good use on the next film. It’s also awesome that two of the three winning films in an international competition come from individuals who were in the same university program.”
‘It’s extraordinary to be surrounded by people who share the same passion’
As for Parry-Canet, her film Floodgate earned her the Spark Award. The film transports the audience into an abandoned house, where memories of the past give way to chaos, creating a compelling narrative of reconciliation and destruction.
“The idea for the film came from the given theme: reflections. After writing the foundation of the film, the script evolved with the input of other team members. Even when a shoot is organized and planned, I like to leave room for improvisation and spontaneity,” says Parry-Canet, who is now in her third year in Film Production program.
She adds that her experience has been filled with wonderful encounters.
“It’s extraordinary to be surrounded by people who share the same passion, coming together to bring ideas to life,” Parry-Canet says. “Collaborating as a group is an exceptional experience; sharing ideas and knowledge takes the project to a higher level.”
The judges said that they were captivated by the film’s remarkable style, cinematography and equally memorable atmosphere. They especially praised the technical feats and creativity employed to push the boundaries of traditional filmmaking and support the narrative.
In an interview filmed by Project Spark, Aiden Nicell and Lucile Parry-Canet reveal more about their experiences, creative process and inspirations.
Learn more about Concordia's Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema.