I first heard of filmmaker Bridget Palardy when I saw her fantasy short OowieWanna (2011) at the 2012 science fiction/fantasy Etheria Film Festival in Boston. I was immediately enchanted by its whimsical settings and charming tale of a cherub 7 year-old struggling to embrace her individuality. With the aid of puppets! But the film that made my black girl nerd heart swell was a prior project, 2010’s science fiction adventure Spark starring a budding brown skin actress by the name of Christine Romulus. Her character’s name is Very, a somber yet malleable teenager. The dystopia she exists in forces her family to relocate where she handles the stigma of being the new kid in school. In all of the 11 minutes, she manages to make meaningful connections with those who seek freedom from institutional constraints due to environmental disaster.
Very is not tokenized or even racialized. This is a rare treat where a young protagonist of color is not the only non-white person who plays an important role in the story and is simply a character not characterized by her skin color. Add in some scientific and philosophical discussions about natural environment and you’ve got a Benetton, sci-fi lover geek out. Visually stunning, Spark is a fine effort with inklings of the filmmaker putting a firm stamp on her signature style.
The film has been the official selection of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Film Festival as well as the Black Rock City Film Festival. Bridget is well-rounded in both story concepts and casting. She is a refreshing example of the 21st century’s accessible media movement where independent producers are radicalizing the way we think about race, gender, and more when you see women of color in these unique roles. From a rich body of work directing music videos and commercials, her narratives are worth noting and I sincerely hope to continue to be amazed by what she does in the future.
— Film: Spark by Bridget Palardy