ABOUT THE FILM

Directed and produced by award winning filmmaker Marc Smolowitz, The G Word explores what giftedness looks like through a mosaic of personal, intimate stories of children, adults, and elders. The film’s narrative arc is an examination of the gifted through all stages of life, from childhood through old age, documenting their search for acceptance, connection, and authentic success, which belie popular misconceptions about what it means to be “gifted.” Interwoven with historical context and expert insight into the challenges related to high intelligence, The G Word sheds light on this largely hidden but emerging special-needs population.


THE TEAM

 

MARC SMOLOWITZ, PRODUCER & DIRECTOR | IMDB
Marc is a multi-award winning director, producer and executive producer with 25+ years of experience across all aspects of the entertainment and media business. His career focus has been powerful social issue filmmaking across all genres. His long list of credits includes films that have screened at top-tier festivals - Sundance, Berlinale, AFI Docs, IDFA, Tokyo, Melbourne, among others - and been released worldwide theatrically, across all forms of television, and on VOD/Digital/Educational platforms.

Select titles include: THE NINE (Producer 2016), THE WATERMELON WOMAN (Restoration Producer 2016) BURIED ABOVE GROUND (Producer 2015), DESERT MIGRATION (Producer 2015), BLACK IS BLUE (Short, Producer 2014), HEAVEN ADORES YOU (Producer 2014), HAVANA CURVEBALL (Executive Producer 2014), THE CAMPAIGN (Producer, 2013), KEEP THE PROMISE: THE GLOBAL FIGHT AGAINST AIDS, narrated by Margaret Cho (Co-Director/Co-Producer 2013), THE POWER OF TWO (Director/Producer 2011) STILL AROUND (Exec. Producer/Collaborating Director 2011), Academy-Award nominated THE WEATHER UNDERGROUND (Producer 2003), and TREMBLING BEFORE G-D (Producer 2001).

In recent years, he was the Producer at TellyTopia, a Silicon Valley startup specializing in interactive television, IP-TV and VOD products for cable & satellite companies. In the 1990s and early 2000s, he was widely known as the President & Founder of Turbulent Arts — a boutique, indie film distribution and sales company based in San Francisco that ranked in 1998 as the 26th largest film company in North America, 14th among independents (source: The Hollywood Reporter.) The Turbulent Arts roster of filmmakers included some of the world's most talented directors, including: John Greyson, Petr Vaclav, Karim Dridi, Charles Herman-Wurmfeld, Yuri Mamin, Jochen Hick, Greta Schiller, among others.

In 2016, he works full-time as an independent filmmaker, while maintaining a thriving consulting practice called 13th Gen that guides both emerging and established filmmakers through key stages of development, fundraising, production, post, completion, and distribution. In partnership with a dynamic range of independent film partners and companies, 13th Gen also oversees the financing, marketing, sales and distribution efforts of a vibrant portfolio of films and filmmakers, many of which Smolowitz produces and/or directs. In 2016, he was awarded on the prestigious IFP Producers Network Fellowships to attend the Cannes Film Festival and Mache du Film.

Finally, Smolowitz has taught undergraduate filmmaking at the University of California, Santa Cruz (2011-2013) and the Art Institute of California, San Francisco (2008-2012.) He proudly serves on the Board of Directors of the San Francisco Public Press, an award winning nonprofit news organization. He is also the Board Chair of The HIV Story Project — a film and media arts nonprofit that he co-founded with filmmaking partner Jorg Fockele in 2009. He lives with his husband, Yves Averous, in San Francisco.

 

TIM KULIKOWSKI, CO-PRODUCER | IMDB
With over twenty years of experience in the areas of advertising, marketing, consulting, the web, and interactive multimedia, along with an MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management in Phoenix, Arizona, Tim Kulikowski left a comfortable, yet unfulfilling, corporate life in 2005 to travel the world and seek out a new path, landing in San Francisco two years later to pursue a lifelong dream of becoming a filmmaker. He believes film is a powerful medium to help bring about social change. Working with the producers of STILL AROUND (premiered at Boston LGBT Film Festival, May 2011), a feature compilation of short films about people living and thriving with HIV/AIDS in 2011 (30 years after the crisis began), he co-directed PAWS, one of the 15 shorts, and was an Associate Producer on the overall compilation. From there, Tim directed and produced his first solo film, BEYOND THE TEAM (23 min.), which screened at 21 film festivals around the world and earned him an award at the Los Angeles Sports Film Festival in the short documentary category.

 

JAVID SORIANO, ASSOCIATE PRODUCER
Javid is a filmmaker based in San Francisco. He has received grants and fellowship awards from the Sundance Institute, the Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP) and the Kadist Art Foundation and is currently in post-production on his debut feature documentary film, SWING LOW. He is currently visiting faculty in the Graduate Program at the San Francisco Art Institute.

photo credit:  Jules Bianchi
 
photo credit: Jules Bianchi

RON TURIELLO, PRODUCER
Ron is the father of two profoundly gifted children. This film project evolved out of his wanting to tell the story of how and why he and a few other parents of gifted kids banded together to save their kids’ school when it faced insolvency. Ron grew up in the 1970s and 80s in gifted programs in a public school district outside of Syracuse, NY, and earned his undergraduate degree from the University Professors Program at Boston University, an interdisciplinary independent study program for gifted students. Ron is active in education reform efforts, serving on the Boards of Directors and Advisory Boards of various nonprofits, including: ScholarMatch founded by the novelist Dave Eggers (since 2013, board chair since 2014), New Leaders for New Schools Bay Area chapter (2009-2013), Helios New School, an independent school for gifted learners (2011-2014), and as a member of the Education Circle of Full Circle Fund. He served as the Event Director for the 2015 Profoundly Gifted Retreat in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Ron earned his J.D. from Cornell Law School in 1996 (magna cum laude; Order of the Coif; Boardman Prize) where he was an Editor of the Cornell Law Review, and an Editor of the Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy. He has over a decade and a half of experience in law and technology in Silicon Valley and New York, including serving as the senior IP and technology transactions attorney in the Palo Alto office of Skadden, Arps, and from 2007 until 2010 as the General Counsel and Director of Business Development for Intelligent Integration Systems, Inc., which built the national data warehouse for the Democratic National Committee. After graduating from law school at Cornell, he served as law clerk to United States District Judge Stewart Dalzell of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Ron has been active in progressive politics for over 25 years, with experience as a field organizer, campaign manager, fundraiser, and data analytics expert at the highest levels, including being one of the first organizers hired by US Senator Paul Tsongas when he began his long shot Presidential campaign in 1991. As Co-Founder of the Voter Genome Project, Ron started one of the nation’s earliest political data analytics firms, and he also has been a prominent fundraiser for multiple Presidential, US Senate, and Congressional campaigns. Ron lives with his wife Margret Caruso (also an alumna of the University Professors Program and an alumna of the Louisiana School for Math Science and the Arts, which is a statewide public boarding school for gifted high school students) and their two children in Redwood City, CA.

 

JOHN SWIHART, COMPOSER | Official Site
Unique sounds and surprising instrument choices put John Swihart on a path to creating unpredictable contemporary scores. His distinctive style can be heard in both film and television. John Swihart was raised in Bloomington, Indiana, the son of a physicist based at Indiana University. He spent a portion of his formative years in Europe and Asia, where his father would sabbatical. John studied Piano at an early age but was not deeply absorbed by music until he was eight when he found the saxophone, which he played exclusively before switching to guitar at 12. Swihart would leave Indiana to attend the renowned Berklee College of Music, where he was struck by the level of commitment of his classmates to immerse themselves in musical experimentation. This made for an amazing culture of learning.

After years of performing in numerous bands, John put a studio together. The advertising work came, but the Emerson student short films that John worked on made it clear that long form would be the least restrictive and most creatively rewarding experience. From Boston to performing in Blue Man Group Las Vegas, and then to Los Angeles to pursue film and television composition where he scored a few Independent films before his breakout project NAPOLEON DYNAMITE. He has since scored over 50 films and several TV shows including HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER.