For his excellence in his work in film, Luke Gardiner was awarded the Harvardwood Prize this spring.
Harvardwood is nonprofit organization for members of the Harvard University community who believe in the power and purpose of the arts, media and entertainment. The prize recognizes and celebrates the artistic accomplishments and potential of high school students and is awarded annually to a rising senior who plans to apply for admission to Harvard College in the fall of their senior year, and who has demonstrated excellence in their dedication to the arts/media/entertainment and its power to enact positive social change.
Gardiner submitted the his film Burning to receive the Harvardwood Prize. Burning follows a Jewish girl named Annie who discovers a swastika in a book in her school library. She immediately runs to the bathroom to shelter herself from the outside world. While in the bathroom, she reflects on all the anti-semitic microaggressions she has experienced at her school and eventually works up the courage to confront the book.
"Before writing the film, I researched anti-Semitism through films, short films, short stories, and non-fiction texts. I also interviewed many Jewish students at Hotchkiss to make sure that this story was powerful and, above all, truthful,” Gardiner said.
The film was assistant directed by Harry Morelli ’23, features Emily Heimer ’21, Instructor in English Christina Cooper, and faculty family member Serena Thompsom, ” said Gardiner, who wrote, directed, edited, and produced the film.
Going forward, Gardiner said film is defiantly something that he plans on continuing to pursue in college, and hopefully onward.