Wilder Harwood’s glimpse into a director’s world

Jude Herwitz, Staff Writer

“Especially as I got older I just couldn’t stand action/adventure movies,” Wilder Harwood (11) said. I guess I’m sort of snobby in that sense, but I just find them dreadfully boring.”

For Courtney Hunt P’20, Harwood’s mother and a writer and director of independent films, that sentiment means mission accomplished.

“I have wanted to influence her taste in movies by sort of curating the movies that she watched and not having her watch too… many cranked out Hollywood commercial vehichles for children,” she said.

One of the first movies that Harwood watched was a black and white film called The Bicycle Thief, which, said Hunt, has a simple but ingenious plot, about a father and son in Rome who look for a stolen bicycle.

Harwood still watched more widely-known, studio-produced films that were geared towards children, in addition to any that her mother chose, she said.

Another major part of her early life experience was living in different places, depending on where her mother was shooting for a film. For example, at one point she lived in New Orleans for three months, as well as spending time immediately outside a Mohawk reservation in upstate New York, which bordered Canada.

“I got to see the inside of Mohawk culture, … and I guess that has affected my worldview and by extension what I think about when I’m in History and how I know places more intimately that come up in different classes,” she said.

Harwood spent much of her time on movie sets when living in different places, so got to know and spend time with all the crew and actors who worked there.

“Hanging out with actors is fun too, especially for kids, because actors are giant children in a way, and they have a total sense of circus, a total sense of fun,” Hunt said.

Even when not at home she made relationships because of her mother’s career. Hunt’s editor, with whom she worked consistently, has two children who are the same age as Harwood, so they pretty much grew up together, even in New York, Harwood said.

Partially through her interactions on set, and partially through her life at home, Harwood started making films herself, starting when she was young, Hunt said.

“I didn’t really have to do to much just because she was totally surrounded by [film making],” she said.