CSI undergrad awarded Research Prize for fifth year in a row

May 27, 2022 by Denise Ing

For the fifth year in a row, an essay written for CIN201Y1 - Film Cultures I has been awarded The Patricia and Peter Shannon Wilson Undergraduate Research Prize. Cinema Studies Specialist, Conorr Norquay's research project, An Unrealized History of Sound Film: Charles K. Cregier and the Talking Motion Picture Machine is the latest winning submission. "After a century of exclusion from written film histories, this award spotlights Cregier’s reintroduction into record and provides a permanent accessible place for his story to be enjoyed. Thus, winning this prize actualizes the objective of my research, and for that I feel immense gratitude," said Conorr. 

A chance encounter with a reference to sound film technology in a theatre operators handbook from 1917 lead Conorr to hunt down an unrecognized inventor of sound film technology. His investigation was repeatedly roadblocked by non-digitized and non-accessible records. For Conorr, the experience emphasized the necessity of digitzing historical records and making them publicly accessible. 

Course instructor, Prof. Charlie Keil called Conorr's achievement "singular and a true revelation." Prof. Keil credited Conorr with "reconstructing the history of an early sound film inventor whom no other film historian has managed to discover, a fact that I have verified by talking to a number of peers who are experts in the area."

This is the fifth time a CIN201Y1 essay has won the University of Toronto Libraries Undergraduate Research Prize.