Hometown Weekly Staff
When Westwood’s Jack Jardin tragically lost his life in a car accident at the age of 21, there was a sense among his community that they had lost not only a native son, but a bright creative force who had yet to make his greatest impact on the world. The former Emerson student had excelled in the cinematic arts in a manner that was both uncommon and unforgettable for a young man of such a tender age.
“The kid was genuine and special,” says Craig Orsini, Director at Element Pictures in Boston. “He had a creative genius portion about him that I don’t know most people around him got to see. He was just at the beginning of a spectacular film career.”
Now, the community is coming together to make sure that Jack’s artistic legacy continues to live on.
Spearheaded by Jessica Hennessey, the Jack A. Jardin Memorial Fund is being instituted to ensure Jack’s enthusiasm for film will be an enduring force in Westwood. According to the fund’s GoFundMe page: “The Jack Jardin Memorial scholarship fund has been established to encourage others to follow in his footsteps of becoming a filmmaker. The intention of the fund is to be especially valuable to those Westwood High School students showing academic promise in their film studies and have the need for financial assistant to pursue a college education in this field of study.”
“I started the fund in the midst of this tragedy because I felt helpless,” says Hennessey. “There were no words I could say to bring [the Jardins] comfort. Our kids grew up together across the street from each other. [My husband] Frank and I have a son about the same age, and this horrible accident hit very close to home.”
“My hope was that with the financial support, that the Jardin family would be able to honor Jack’s memory in the field that he loved within the community that shaped him.”
It was not just a field that he loved, but one in which he had already displayed a precocious talent.
Craig Orsini, a filmmaker and personal friend of Jardin’s father, remembers bringing Jack on as an intern at Element, breaking standard protocol. “I knew Jack had it right away. I had said to my prodco: ‘I’d like to bring Jack in as an intern.’ That was in the summer after his high school graduation. My company has a policy against taking interns until they’ve been to college.” Still, they accepted Jack at age 18 over film students from BU and Emerson, among others.
“He came into the summer internship without any college or film school under his belt,” says Orsini. “Everyone at the company took a liking to him right away. I knew right away that he was special … Jack was able to fill any role [on set]. If I had to tell him once, that was it. He would immediately pick up any nuances I was asking for.”
“His professionalism was far above his age,” he adds. “I still feel to this day that there was a reason he was older beyond his years. He really got to see a lot and do a lot.”
For his co-workers, such maturity seemed almost unbelievable. It wasn’t until Jack (who was 18 at the time) refused a beer that many of his peers realized his youth. “Nobody could believe it,” says Orsini. “They had no idea he was only 18.”
“I have a first AC that I’ve worked with for a long time,” Orsini continues. “He gave Jack a couple good lessons, and he’s like: ‘Dude, I don’t know who this kid, but I like him. He’s really solid.’ I don’t think I’ve ever gotten a compliment from him.”
Taking a moment to try to sum up his myriad thoughts, Orsini pauses. “I’ll miss the opportunity to work with Jack down the road,” he says succinctly. “I knew our paths would cross, and I really will miss that opportunity. That’s something that will sit with me for a while. He was going to be incredibly successful.”
For those who have established and donated to the fund, there is hope that some part of Jack’s lust for life and film will live on in the trust that bears his name.
“My greatest hope has nothing to do with a dollar amount,” concludes Hennessey, “but more so with the hope that someday, the Jardin family will be able to receive some comfort from seeing Jack’s dreams realized through other talented and creative students.”
At the time of printing, after only 19 days, the fund is a mere $1,500 short of its $75,000 goal. Those interested in donating to the Jack A. Jardin Memorial Fund may visit its website: https://www.gofundme.com/2j3vwaw4.