Joining a league of legends that includes Stephen King, Andy Warhol and Joyce Carol Oates, a South Surrey high school student filmmaker was given a prestigious honour by the multinational publisher Scholastic Corporation.
Southridge Grade 12 student Helena Hockertz was one of 16 students to receive the Gold Medal Portfolio Award at the 98th Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. The prize includes a $10,000 scholarship.
Her art portfolio, ‘Stories To Make The World A Better Place,’ is a series of unrelated short films that pay homage to Hockertz’ favourite movies and tackle issues important to her.
Hockertz’ favourite film in the portfolio, Beginning to End to Beginning, takes viewers on a psychedelic, planetary trip through a key conflict presiding over climate change. Featuring clips from Swedish activist Greta Thunberg and former U.S. President Donald Trump, the two-and-a-half-minute video ends with Ken and Barbie dolls sitting on top of a globe, which is on fire.
“I started off wanting to address climate change, but then I wanted to give it a larger narrative in the context of the existence of the universe,” Hockertz told Peace Arch News. “I wanted to comment on what I see as the biggest problems surrounding the issue, which is the inaction of armchair activists.”
The other five videos Hockertz submitted include comedic work and psychological thrillers.
Hockertz said she learned filmmaking through programs at Southridge, and that her interests are mostly in fictional storytelling.
“I just always love telling stories. When I discovered filmmaking, I found it very fascinating to be able to let the stories inside of me become reality and have this freedom to invent characters, places and adventures. Having this independent feeling is what got me into filmmaking.”
The scholarship and recognition, she said, is “really amazing.”
“It’s been such an honour to be recognized by such a prestigious award.”
Next fall, Hockertz is to study filmmaking at New York University.