ABOUT THE FILM
Directed and Produced by award winning filmmaker Marc Smolowitz
Produced by Ron Turiello
Gifted. It’s a word that conjures up elitism, superiority and white privilege. Think Elon Musk, Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg. The misguided belief about gifted people is, “They’re smart, they’ll be fine.” THE G WORD is a deeply personal feature documentary that explodes the mythology around what it means to be gifted in the 21st century, revealing the educational challenges, social isolation, emotional sensitivities and physical threats faced by many gifted individuals in our schools and society and the search for solutions.
A mosaic of revealing stories told by children, adults and elders will explore giftedness, intelligence and neurodivergent learners across the age spectrum and ask, “In the 21st century, who gets to be gifted and why?” Searching for an answer, THE G WORD takes an unexpected path, visiting rural, urban and suburban schools, homes of gifted families, low-income neighborhoods, brain scientists, educators and policy experts to discover that gifted people reside in all walks of life - including even our prisons – but many go unrecognized and don’t receive the support they need to fully thrive, sometimes with disastrous consequences.
THE G WORD takes a deep dive inside our education system, which, over the past 30 years, has refocused resources to focus on students who are working below grade level. In all but six states, programs for gifted students have been abandoned in the face of declining budgets and shifting priorities. At the same time, our understanding of intelligence has changed thanks to emerging knowledge from the neurosciences. Giftedness and learning disabilities often go hand-in-hand, but special education programs are not equipped to teach these children.
Viewers of THE G WORD will come away understanding the risks of maintaining the status quo and the need for new approaches to harness the potential of gifted individuals not only for their own sakes, but also for the benefit of society at large.