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At Home with Harvard: Harvard in the Movies

This is the second installment in Harvard Magazine’s new series, “At Home with Harvard,” a guide to what to read, watch, and listen to while social distancing. Read the first piece, featuring stories about Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum, here

Harvard may not be known as a school for aspiring artists, but it has produced some of the most interesting creators—filmmakers, film writers, film critics—shaping cinema, past and present. Here, our editors curate their favorite stories about Harvardians on screen. 


I enjoyed this piece for its fun, vivid look into how two recent graduates—Joshua Campbell ’16 and Gabe Fox-Peck ’19—collaborated on a song that would end up nominated for an Academy Award. The final quote from Campbell’s Mother (“You guys need to stop waiting around for someone to ask you to write songs! Write your own songs.”) makes me want to write a song, too. 

Michele Forman (center) and her students filmed at the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama, for a project to raise awareness about the history of lynching.

Photograph by Kenzie Greer

Not all students get a note from Spike Lee, letting them know that their class assignment could become a movie. Documentary filmmaker Michele Forman ‘93 received that note and ran with it (among a myriad of other influences), co-founding a filmmaking program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and producing a number of documentaries that show the complexity of Southern life. 

Leonard speaking at the most recent Sundance Film Festival, where he served on the jury

Photograph by Andrew Toth/Getty Images

I love this feature on Franklin Leonard ’00, whose “Black List” of screenplays-to-watch went from a simple poll of top industry producers to something more like the “Google of scripts.” It’s a great read about

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