#070 Giftedness Right Now w/ Marc Smolowitz
It’s our final BONUS episode for Gifted, Talented & Neurodiversity Awareness Week; and we’ve been Bringing Joy & Equity in Focus all week with seven podcasts!
As a proud partner of The G Word, Our Gifted Kids is delighted to raise awareness once again as we talk about #gifted joy & equity!
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- Marc Smolowitz & The G Word
Marc Smolowitz is a multi-award-winning director, producer, and executive producer who has been significantly involved in 50+ independent films. The combined footprint of his works has touched 250+ film festivals & markets on 5 continents, yielding substantial worldwide sales to theatrical, television, and VOD outlets, notable box office receipts, and numerous awards and nominations.
His credits include films that have screened at the world’s top-tier festivals such as Sundance, Berlin, Venice, Tribeca, Locarno, Chicago, Palm Springs, SF FILM, AFI Docs, IDFA, DOC NYC, CPH: DOX, Tokyo, Melbourne, Viennale, Jerusalem, among others.
In 2009, Marc founded 13th Gen, a San Francisco-based boutique film and entertainment company (see: https://www.13thgenfilm.com/) that works with a dynamic range of independent film partners globally to oversee the financing, production, post-production, marketing, sales, and distribution efforts of a vibrant portfolio of films and filmmakers.
The company has successfully advanced Marc’s career-long focus on powerful social issue filmmaking across all genres. In 2016, he received one of the prestigious Gotham Media Fellowships to attend the Cannes Film Festival’s Producers Network marking him as one of the USA’s most influential independent film producers.
In 2022, Marc is currently in post-production on THE G WORD — a feature-length documentary that aims to be the most comprehensive film ever made on the topics of gifted, talented, and neurodiverse education across the United States. The film asks the urgent equity question — In the 21st century, who gets to be Gifted in America and Why?. Learn more at: https://www.thegwordfilm.com/
Hit play and let’s get started!
[00:00:00] Sophia Elliott: Hello and welcome to your bonus. Gifted, talented. This week episode.
[00:00:07] This is a cheeky little episode that I thought I would provide as a bonus because it’s was a little special part of the conversation I had with Marc Smolowitz last week. And the question I asked him was. And that he is, he’s been researching giftedness for, as he said, I think about eight years now.
[00:00:29] He’s now at the epicenter of this growing community and movement around giftedness. And he’s gathered people from all over the world, doing all this awesome stuff in our gifted community. And I wanted to know ’cause sometimes unlike I want to be a fly on the wall for Marc Smolowitz and just the people he mates.
[00:00:49] The stuff he’s doing. Is absolutely wonderful in the name of developing his film, The G Word. But I’m like mark, what has been the most surprising thing? The most interesting thing, like just. What has been that thing? You know, and so when he answered that question, I mean, I don’t know what I was expecting when I asked the question.
[00:01:14] Uh, sometimes you ask questions and you kind of know where people are gonna go. And sometimes you’re like, ah, And I throw that out there and I don’t know where it’s going to go. I didn’t really expect this response. And I love the honesty of it. And I thought that’s actually a bit special and I felt like there’s something.
[00:01:32] In this response. That really speaks to the heart naturally Of why we’re needing to have these conversations about giftedness.
[00:01:42] So I started this podcast because I felt very deeply in my heart. There was this massive misunderstanding about what giftedness is. And that was not okay. And it was not good enough. And with. Communication and bringing everyone to the table. There is enough information and research out there that we could.
[00:02:05] Learn better. We could do better. But it comes down to getting everyone at the table, talking. Understanding. And being willing to be open to learning. About ultimately what our kids need. Because the truth lies in the fact that every child. Is a gift. But it’s not gifted. But every child. He deserves to access an equitable education.
[00:02:34] Suddenly that provides what they need to shine. And we need to get beyond that misunderstanding that giftedness is somehow a privilege limited to certain demographics or choice. And we need to understand that giftedness.
[00:02:50] It’s about being neurodivergent.
[00:02:55] That is not. Just one demographic within society. Doesn’t matter what culture you are. What gender, what sexuality? Where you come from, how much money your family has got. You can be that neurodivergent gifted kid or adult. And so it’s incumbent upon us as the adults in the room to meet the needs of our children who are in our charge. And that is as an adult, not just my kids, like all the kids, right.
[00:03:27] We are the adults in the room. We have So that’s why we tell stories here. I’ll give to kids because as parents. We need decision makers to get the real impact. This has. On our lives every single On our kids’ lives every single day and not just our kids’ lives today, but into the future. So this is critical stuff. This is.
[00:03:55] Uh, demographic hugely misunderstood. And so Mark’s response to my question about what is the most surprising thing. Interesting thing. Speaks to this and I really want everyone to hear it. And so I thought this needs to be a little bonus podcast. It’s not long and it’s worth a listen. And it just speaks to that misunderstanding.
[00:04:17] That we’d so desperately need to fight against.
[00:04:21] Now, I know these things must be hitting a nerve because over gifted, talented neuro diversity awareness week over the last kind of week and a half. There have been over 9,000 listens of this podcast. Like. Personally that boggles my brain. Uh, because I’m just kind of doing the best that I can. It’s far from a smooth operation.
[00:04:43] But it says to me, there’s a lot of parents out there. Who needs this community? Made these conversations. Uh, and trying to make sense of their world for their kids.
[00:04:58] So we’ve been talking all week about how to get involved, how to be a part of that community, how to engage.
[00:05:07] And I wholeheartedly as a The proud partner of The G Word, encourage everyone to subscribe to The G Word website. And if you can, if you are able to support The G Word in getting across the line. Uh, financially. So that we can see this wonderful documentary that I know it will be, and I know will help.
[00:05:27] Our gifted movement.
[00:05:31] And if you can’t make a financial contribution, that’s okay. Not all of us can, but what you can do is share the story with others. And what you can do is be a part Even if it’s just following on social media. Subscribing being there being involved is taking action. And it’s helping us make that impact.
[00:05:56] Likewise at our gifted kids to continue our conversations and Work that we feel is really important. We could also use your support. So, if you have found the podcast helpful, Um, then maybe you would be prepared to help us as well. And likewise.
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[00:06:42] So we have created three new options to support the podcast and get a little bit more involved. One equates to a puff coffee a month. One equates to a coffee per week. And one equates to two coffees per week. Yes, I have a coffee issue. It’s my Italian genes. It gets me through the day. I love coffee, the smell of coffee.
[00:07:06] The taste of coffee Creek. He like, I’m kind of like, Uh, you know, it’s getting me through the day at the moment. So what can I say? Nonetheless a little coffee offering from yourself could help out, give to kids. Also get through the
[00:07:23] So, let me tell you a little bit about what you
[00:07:27] So for a coffee a month. You can be a part of our community called dip your toes in. And it is just dipping your toes in. To the community, you get your own exclusive online portal. They can sign into and within that you get member only videos of the podcast. Every podcast now comes with a principle with those key messages because you know what it’s like, you listen
[00:07:50] COSI like, ah, good to remember that, that, and often you don’t. Well, that’s me anyway. So there’s a principle.
[00:07:58] On that online portal. You’ve got the podcast audio. You’ve got the videos. And you’ve also got bonus playlist, which we will rotate about different topics. So it’s all there at your fingertips to engage with. And it’s all totally searchable, which is actually the cool thing. Cause we’ve got like 70 podcasts now. And if you’re looking for a particular thing, you don’t want to have to sift through them all. So you can actually search it.
[00:08:22] That was the whole point of the software I chose. It’s great. So you’ve got it all there at your fingertips. And it’s all there. The whole point of our gifted kids is to make life easier for parents.
[00:08:35] Or for a coffee per week, we have an option called BCN and found. And in BC and found you get all the things associated with. Dipping your toes in. But you get a different portal. Uh, and it’s much bigger. It’s a whole library of resources that we’ve been building over the last year and a half. You also get a course, which is like a journey to a new normal, it’s kind of taking you through the parenting of gifted kids process. .
[00:09:07] You get a private Facebook group. And you get a bonus course called unpacking gifted, which goes through. Like everything about giftedness. In little bite-sized chunks, we break down what all the things mean. And there’s also components in there about giftedness in the classroom.
[00:09:26] There’s a whole bunch of extra resources. Like it’s pretty comprehensive. If you want to know anything about giftedness, then that’s. I’m very like that. We’ll cover it all. Let me tell you. So, if you feel more inspired, if you’re like, hang on, I am on a mission to thrive and I need actually not just to be a part of a community, but to really dive in.
[00:09:48] Well then for two coffees a week. We do have an option called mission to thrive. You get everything from the other two. Options, but you also get quarterly guest webinars, quarterly online gatherings. We’d like presentations and socializing. And a discovery call with myself to help you unpack where you’re at.
[00:10:09] And of course the bonus course and the parenting. Program as well. As the private Facebook group and stuff like that. So, what we’re trying to do here is provide something for everyone, no matter where you’re at. Whether it’s like, you know what? I just want to coffee a month, support the podcast. Awesome. Thank you. Or if you’re like, actually I may deep in this.
[00:10:32] I’m going to go all the way and there’s something for you too.
[00:10:36] It is. Frankly, excellent value because here at our gifted kids, we value inclusivity and we’ve tried to make it as accessible to everyone as we possibly can. You can cancel it any time. You are not tied into anything. We use Stripe. It’s all very secure. So door’s closed this Thursday, the 3rd of November at midnight, wherever you are.
[00:11:00] And supporting us helps us to grow and keep going and do more cool things for you and parents of gifted kids. And we have plans, believe me for lots more cool things. Um, but we need to get a little bit bigger before we can do those
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[00:11:31] I hope you enjoyed the week. It’s been massive. How many episodes have we done? We’ve actually done seven episodes. Like I’ve lost count. It’s been huge. We’re also going live on Facebook as often as I can, because honestly, I’m a little bit method. And we’re on Instagram as well. And we also have a free Facebook group. Like I said, it’s all about being inclusive and there’s something for everyone.
[00:11:56] So, whether it’s sharing with your friends or getting more involved in that mission to thrive, there is something for you to stay quirky. We’ll see you soon. And as always, let me know what you think and how you going. Talk to you soon.
[00:12:43] But one question I wanna ask you is, given what in, so what I would be interested in being an absolute data nerd for all things gifted, and you’re a diverse mm-hmm. is like, uh, you know, given that network and the years you’ve spent kind of deep diving like.
[00:13:05] You’re at this epicenter of this rising, gifted community building in energy to really break down some of those old misconceptions about giftedness. What are some of the most interesting or surprising things you’ve encountered or learnt or seen? Coming outta that gifted community over the last few years.
[00:13:23] Have there been things that have really kind of like, didn’t expect that didn’t see that coming?
[00:13:30] Marc Smolowitz: Oh my God. So many things. I mean, that’s, that’s, that’s the rich part of the job. That’s, that’s the gift that I get to experience every day. I mean, one of the things I talk about is the community that I’ve come to become very close with, that I’ve helped to cultivate around the movie and how, how impressed and touched and inspired I am every day by all of you.
[00:13:48] I mean, that’s, that’s, that’s the gift that I get every day as a filmmaker, right. Is, is all of you. But I do see and experience some pretty amazing things that I think I’m in a unique position as a storyteller to kind of notice and then kinda interpret in even through our impact work. And I think. You know, we are somehow, I mean, you know, I’m, you know, I’m a liberal left-leaning guy, that those are my politics, you know, And I think people know that about me.
[00:14:15] You look me up and you see that, Right. You know, I’m gay, you know, I’m, you know, live in San Francisco. You know, Do you know, do you know? Figure it out. Right? But, you know, one of the things about storytelling and, and of course there’s a perspective in storytelling, and I bring a lens to it, is that it can be fairly neutral and welcoming terrain for people.
[00:14:34] And so, one of the ways I describe the movie and the kind of, you know, efforts that we’ve created around it is I like this movie to feel like a room. And I want the room to be welcoming and warm. I want the door to be open. Open, come on in. I want the windows open light coming in. There’s no darkness. Like there is light.
[00:14:52] Right? And you are welcome. And this is a safe space. And we can have debate. We can have discourse. We can’t agree to disagree, right? And you know, there’s gonna be certain folks from certain political perspectives that are just not gonna get what I’m about. Right. They don’t like the term equity, They don’t lean into it in a way they’re even triggered by it and have a reaction to it.
[00:15:16] And I understand that and, and, you know, that is a part of the puzzle here that has been difficult and troubling at times. And so it’s, it’s made the journey imperfect as every journey is. Right. You know, you’re, when you make a movie about something that is, Implicitly or explicitly controversial to some, like, you’re gonna hit up against that controversy and it’s gonna be painful.
[00:15:37] Right. So we’ve experienced pushback as a movie because of our equity position and how we’re telling these stories and how we’re choosing to tell them. And the most kind of difficult. Piece of that is the transphobia that I’ve experienced. And that’s been extremely painful for me. And I think I maybe even talked to you about this in the past.
[00:15:55] I’m not sure. I don’t remember had that, have this conversation a lot. But, but long story short, one of the six stories in our movie is trans. And I am a big trans ally. A lot of my movies are with trans filmmakers and tell trans stories. It’s not all I do, It’s certainly not all The, G Word is about, but, but it’s in the room.
[00:16:10] And it’s interesting to me cuz there are so many trans and gender nonconforming teens and tweens who are gifted and are diverse. And so that was something I wanted to put in the movie that I decided to make, and I’m doing it that way, right? So I’ve experienced some of that, you know, kind of right wing transphobia or, you know, maybe people wouldn’t even call it right wing.
[00:16:28] It’s just gonna transphobia in general. So that’s been troubling, right? But, but the piece of the puzzle that is, that is more, I think broadly troubling that isn’t about necessarily like people having a transphobic response to the movie is. Is the way that gifted education has emerged again as a kind of political tool, both on the right and the left in America to kind of, you know, make it problematic again.
[00:16:55] So on the one hand you have people on the right of the political spectrum who kind of use it. It’s like, you know, it’s, it’s elitist, you know, it’s exclusionary from that perspective. These are very anti-intellectual people who don’t believe in investing in certain things that might, you know, kind of fall under the banner of gifted.
[00:17:14] or people on the right wing who’ve actually linked it with something called critical race theory. I’m not sure if that’s a concept in Australia you’ve been hearing much about, but there’s, there’s something called critical race theory, which has become like this bizarre blanket term for any, abil, any effort in the United States to, you know, kind of talk openly about race or racism in the education system.
[00:17:32] And it’s just a bunch of BS because that’s not actually what critical race theory is. It’s not taught in schools. It’s something at the university level, but it’s been co-opted by the right wing and, and it’s really politicized school boards and, you know, you know, it’s just, it’s, it’s a sort of crazy making kind of thing.
[00:17:48] And it’s actually influenced some local elections, some governor governor’s elections and, and, and gifted education has actually been in that conversation with critical race theory in ways that are just bizarre and almost schizophrenic and, you know, like just, it’s just all fake news kind of stuff, right?
[00:18:02] Like just making up crap about gifted, like, you know, And because there might. You know, some interest in making gifted, you know, programs more diverse or more inclusive, and, and, and that somehow that’s like, you know, aligned with some weird, like, affirmative action narrative, this kind of craziness, you know?
[00:18:19] No, For me, like what it’s about is that they’re smart kids everywhere. They’re from every bra. Background and if they happen to be black, brown and poor, like think of the societal benefit. If you could actually find them, actually cultivate them and, and do great things with them and for them to help them meet their potential.
[00:18:36] Like that’s the narrative. Like there’s a social benefit there, right? Meet these great smart kids where they are, you know, like, let’s not have them end up in prison. Let’s have them turn their smarts into something positive for society. Like it’s not that, it’s not rocket science, right? So, So that’s the sort of, you know, right wing piece.
[00:18:51] Then the left wing, which is, you know, usually where I feel more at home. There’s this kind of eradication of gifted education narrative happening in the last few years that is really troubling, which is sort of says that gifted education is actually coming out of. Eurocentric white supremacy, patriarchal stuff, and therefore has to be eradicated, right?
[00:19:16] That it, and, and there is an argument there that I wanna honor that, you know, that IQ testing actually originates from some pretty bizarre assumptions about who is smart and who should be as, who should be assessed. Okay? And that’s actually even kind of in our movie, right? I mean, you can sort of look back to like the origin of the IQ test and actually kind of goes back to eugenics.
[00:19:39] So it’s pretty troubling stuff, okay? So I’m not saying that the left is a hundred percent whole cross wrong, right? But this idea, uh, this idea of turning gifted education into a kind of, you know, a debate and has to be eradicated because it’s racist, like it’s inherently racist and could never not be racist like that.
[00:20:00] Devalues the important and powerful work that our gifted scholars of color have been doing for more than 40 years in this field, right? And our movie is all about those folks and our movie profiles them, it bring, it centers them and the deep work they’ve been doing to make sure that black and brown kids actually are being discovered.
[00:20:20] And they’ve been going into school districts and trying to help these school districts figure out how to discover them, right? And so, if you talk to any of those folks, and they’re in our movie Joy Lawson Davis is one of the most noticeable ones in our movie. You know, these folks will go in and they’ll say, Do not eradicate these programs.
[00:20:38] Dismantling gifted will not make it easier to find smart kids who are living poor zip codes. Like, that’s just not gonna happen. Okay? Mm-hmm. . So, so when you ask me like, like the surprising stuff, like that’s, that’s the crazy stuff. Like I, I, and I have to actually operate as a story teller. In the middle of those two political polls, right of the right and the left.
[00:21:02] Having this kind of schizophrenic narrative around what is gifted education in the United States and, and you know, dare I be so bold, both sides are wrong. They don’t get it. And our movie, I hope, is gonna kind of course correct this and kind of lean into a different way of talking about the benefits of a gifted education program in general.
[00:21:24] Right. And no program is perfect. No school is perfect. No school district is perfect. No, nothing is perfect, Right? Implementation of any kind of program is always gonna have, it’s, you know, it’s hiccups, right? But we have to try, you know, we have to try and like, if we don’t, we’re never gonna find these kids, you know?
[00:21:44] And there’s so many of them out there. You know, in, there’s another narrative in the United States around what we call merit-based high schools. And you know how there’s an you know, an overrepresentation of Asian-American kids in merit-based high schools, right? And so there’s like this idea of like, eliminate the merit-based high schools because they’re racist and there’s only white Asian kids going there.
[00:22:07] And, you know, there’s no space for other, other folks who are, you know, from different backgrounds. You know, the Asian and white kids are families over here are saying, Well, but our kids are performing well. Like, why should they suffer? Right? So it, you know, what I’m getting at here is that, you know, everyone should feel like they’re being seen and heard, and no one group should have to suffer at the hands of another being given access to something.
[00:22:29] Right? What’s wrong with that is that we’re actually talking about it in the wrong way, right? And so I think eliminating merit based high schools probably isn’t the solution to what the problem of systemic racism is in this country, right? So we have to do deeper work at the level of the schools themselves and figure out, okay, how do we get those black and brown kids into those merit-based high schools, and what does that even look like?
[00:22:57] So this year in San Francisco where I live and work, we had this horrible recall election for our board of Education where three of our board members were recalled because of this kind of merit-based craziness. And they were all about, you know, eliminating these merit-based high schools in San Francisco, of which there are a couple of them.
[00:23:17] And. And it became quite toxic. And the pandemic dynamics of schools being closed and virtual, virtual learning really kind of separated, you know, people from each other and it just got more and more toxic. So there was this bitter, bitter recall election after the recall election happened. One of the groups that was really involved in trying to.
[00:23:36] Figure out the what and the why of that recall election. They reached out to me. I was really delighted because it’s right here in my own city and we’re following our movie and asked us if we could help do a webinar to connect them with some of those black scholars that I just was talking about so we could introduce the San Francisco Unified School district audience to this idea that black giftedness actually is a.
[00:24:00] It actually is a thing. Okay. There can be black gifted kids and it just, it just, it, it can happen. Okay. And so we put together a panel called Young Gifted and Black, bringing equity into focus for the San Francisco Unified School District. And we had two very top tier gift black gifted scholars who’ve been doing this deep work for years.
[00:24:20] Talk to two people in the, in the district and be in conversation together. And that has nothing directly to do with The, G Word, right. But we were the hosts. We did. It was our way of giving back to my local city, which I’m always delighted when I can do that. But also the larger community, because it was virtual, anyone could watch it anywhere.
[00:24:37] And that was an wildly popular webinar. We had incredible response on social media, so, So I know that when we can support those difficult discussions to kind of get people in the room to think out loud together, kind of strip away the kind of political craziness that for some reason schools and school boards and all this craziness kind of attracts like, like that piece is heartbreaking to me.
[00:25:01] Like, like there is a social contract here in the United States that says that every child should have access to a free and fair, appropriate education. And like if we’re not working on that, if that’s not a work in progress all the time, Like, what are we doing? Right? And what that means is that wherever a child goes to school, they should have, you know, ultimately the same access as the other children in their city or town.
[00:25:27] Right? And we know that that’s not how that works. There’s just, you know, there’s a lack of equity everywhere. So bringing equity into school conversations is gonna be a great thing because it gets people thinking on their feet about how to treat schools a different kind of phenomenon. It’s keep, remind them, it’s for everyone.
[00:25:44] These are public schools. It’s a social contract, right? It’s no wonder that parents, like, who can afford private schools throw up their hands because there’s so much craziness and, and politicizing, you know, of our public schools and, and unfairly so and so, Yeah. So the extremes are the troubling piece, right?
[00:26:02] And, but guess. That’s the, that’s the important work we need to do is to really work and push through those challenges. And along the way it’s the communities that, and the people that I get to interact with that inspire me, that keep every day to do this work and, and help me keep my chin up. And look at the world and all this craziness as through, through the sense of that the glass is half, is, is half full.
[00:26:27] Okay. The glass is not half empty, the glass is half full. I wake up every day. I remind myself of that because I have to, you know, and I mean, education is for everyone and it really has to be, otherwise it just doesn’t make sense. You know? And home and school are a system that has to serve the child.
[00:26:45] Right. And if, if that’s not what we’re all aiming for, regardless of who that child is, whether, whether he, she they are white, black, brown, yellow, green, queer or trans . Okay? They are, they should be welcome in school. They should be able to express themselves in school and be safe in school. Right? Absolutely.
[00:27:04] So, yeah, I mean, yeah, these are, you know, so you, I’m not sure if that was the answer you expected, but. But gifted education is a, is a prism into all kinds of issues that people don’t expect. And I experience it doing this work every day, every week.
[00:27:22] Sophia Elliott: That’s, yeah, that, I mean, that’s, yeah, that’s a very interesting response to that question, but like, listening to you tell that story, it’s kind of like at every key point, the issue there is diversity and inclusion, accepting others as they are, and people who are either afraid of that diversity, trying to, you know, you know, create diversity, but, but doing it in the wrong way because they’re really not understanding what giftedness is all about.
[00:27:54] And that’s a challenge, isn’t it? It’s like that true understanding of what giftedness is as a neuro divergent state of being, and that. Anyone, you know can be gifted, like you say, regardless of culture, race, sexuality, gender, uh, socioeconomic demo, like, it just doesn’t matter. Giftedness is everywhere and it’s just about bringing everyone to the table, isn’t it?
[00:28:22] Marc Smolowitz: and this is why the movie is called The, G Word, because it’s such a problematic concept, right? It’s such a, it’s a rough, tough concept with all kinds of baggage. And, you know, The, G, Word, I was explaining The G. Word is the F word. You know, that’s the word. We can’t, it’s the word we can’t say out loud, right?
[00:28:36] Yeah. And, and so when you kind of, so, so folks who are advocates for the gifted and, and twice exceptional are job is to figure out other words to use to describe it. And guess what? Visual storytelling. Making a movie is a great way to describe it because it puts a different kind of lens and a face on what it looks like.
[00:28:59] And so that’s been the goal, right? Is to really use powerful storytelling to keep people in the conversation in a way that gets to think differently about this stuff. And, and, and that has been the interesting, most interesting part of, of these last seven years, is that I never expected to see a movement in motion the way that I have experienced it.
[00:29:21] You know, when I, when I first began this movie and I discovered what Twice Exceptionality is, and I met some families and started to research it, it was like this little nascent thing that was happening. And lo and behold, it’s a movement, right? Mm-hmm. , mm-hmm. . And it’s been a movement. It’s a movement that is created by parents who have self-organized, who have children, who are complex, who insist on their children being seen and rightly, Because they see a certain child at home that the school is not discovering or encouraging, right?
[00:29:58] Mm-hmm. . And so that mismatch comes out of a certain expectation that these parents have grown up in a society that tells ’em that their kids should get to go to school and feel safe and supported every day. And when that doesn’t happen, right? It’s heartbreaking. And so the parents feel trauma, right? And instead of sitting on their laurels and being stuck in trauma, the moms and the dads of the struggling two E kids who are also gifted kids, have started to self organize.
[00:30:25] And here we are years later, not that many years later, and it’s really like a movement in motion. And so I didn’t expect that. I didn’t know that. I was like, you know, walking into that. And that has been incredibly dynamic, extremely exciting, and a beautiful opportunity as a filmmaker and an activist to support those people because it’s important work.
[00:30:45] You know, when I first started the movie there were folks who said to me things like, there are probably 300,000 twice exceptional students in our schools who are undiscovered and, you know, being crushed and put into special ed programs. Now people have that, you know, that number could be, you know, much, much higher if we really look at it.
[00:31:04] Right? Yeah. You know, and I think it’s, you know, let’s say there’s a million students right across 50 states who are too e unidentified and struggling and have been put in special ed and are being crushed by that experience. Like, like what are we doing if we’re not trying to get those kids out of that room into a different room?
[00:31:24] Right now, special ed needs to be there for some students. Okay. We know that for sure. Yeah. Right? Yeah. That doesn’t mean that every kid who’s in there actually should be in there. Right? And we know, we know that this is a culture where misdiagnosis is so often in a through line of how things go down because of the conditions in which children are being assessed.
[00:31:46] So in our movie, assessments is a huge theme. Like assessments is almost every story. You know, testing, identification, assessments, you, you’ll see it in every story and how to do it differently, how to do it better, how to do it in ways that aren’t biased, that really discover kids and meet them where they.
[00:32:02] Sophia Elliott: Yeah. Well, I look forward to hearing about that and what an important job you’re doing on highlighting the diversity within us all. So on that note, how can people support The, G, Word, and start to be a part of the movement and the conversation.
[00:32:21] Marc Smolowitz: Oh, well thank you. Well, first of all, go to The G Word Film dot com. That’s our website. And The G Word Film dot com is your hub for everything, right? So, so all the G chain awareness programming links will be there. You can register, you can sign up, you can connect. You should follow us on social. We’re at The G Word Film, and we’re on Twitter and Instagram and Facebook.
[00:32:41] We’re very active. I have an incredible co-producer named Danielle Hoke who does all of our social marketing, and she is right there. In real time monitoring all the important topics and sharing stories and, and you know, really, you know, lively and engaged with people you know, in real time. And we want you to be a part of our social media community.
[00:33:01] Yeah, there’s just, you know, that, that’s sort of, that’s, that’s the point of entry. And then if you are so moved and you like what you see you can make a donation of The G Word documentary. We, in the United States anyway, we operate as a 5 0 1 C3 nonprofit through, so we’re charity through a fiscal sponsor.
[00:33:19] So folks here in the US can get a tax deduction for their donation through the Center for in documentary. And that sometimes motivates people to wanna donate. I mean, we’ve had more than 700 donors make donations to this movie, so I’m, you know, take that very seriously. That’s a huge, you know, vote of confidence and trust in me as a filmmaker.
[00:33:38] And I’m really grateful for everyone’s, everyone’s donations. You know, we’ve had people donate from, you know, from. From $5 to $50,000. And so if you’re, you know, if you’re out there and you’re listening and you’re rich and you wanna be an executive producer on a movie, you know, send me an email and I’m happy to hear from you.
[00:33:54] We’ll, we’ll, we’ll talk deal, we’ll talk deal terms. But if you’re someone who just, you know, like, like we, we sell, you know, knowing that the culture of philanthropy is that, you know, people join organizations that they’re passionate about, you know, so I would be honored to have you and your listeners, you know, consider The G.
[00:34:10] Word be something that you would like to support this year among the many important causes that you probably support in your own life and in your own communities. We can’t do this alone. It takes a village to make a movie. It takes a village to support the movement around the movie. But go to our website, learn about our partners, 80 groups and many of them in your state or your town, or your, your country, doing great work where you can connect and learn more about what it means to be gifted.
[00:34:36] But yourself, your kids, your teachers, your, you know, all the stakeholders that are kind of in the room. Everybody touches our, our community. I mean, I’ll lead you with this today. Like no one movie can be all things to all people, and I would never pretend that, right. We’re gonna do our best job to make this as meaningful for as many people as we can.
[00:34:56] And it’s really the impact work around the movie that will sort of fill in the rest, right? The, G, Word doesn’t belong just to me and the people around me who are helping to make it. It belongs to everyone who has a connection to this, these themes, these stories, and these concepts, right? So when you see The, G, Word, you’re gonna see six stories that I’ve chosen that I think are powerful, but I hope it will hold up to you like a mirror and get you to think about this stuff in your own life and in your own way and in your own time.
[00:35:25] And if I’ve done my job and I’ve touched your heart, made you think maybe surprised and delighted you a little bit. You know when the lights come up in the movie theater or you look at each other, you know, at home when you know in the living room, when you’re done watching, like, you know, let me know what you think, you know, this is a virtuous act.
[00:35:42] We’re making art feedback is important. I don’t pretend to know everything. You know, I’m well studied and deeply researched, but I’m learning all the time. And The, G, Word Enterprise is exactly a reflection of that. Like, like, join us and be a part of the movement and we’d be glad to welcome you.
[00:35:59] Sophia Elliott: Well, I thoroughly look forward to the next chapter and getting across the line with that last bit.
[00:36:05] And like Mark said earlier, there’s a little bit more fundraising to do. We’re at the, what is it, The 24th mile in the marathon. So by all means, if you have the opportunity to support The, G, Word, Film, get across the line, that would be amazing. And in the meantime get involved in gifted talent in Neurodiversity Awareness Week.
[00:36:25] So much cool stuff. I’ll put all those links in the show notes so that you can find everything. And Mark, thank you for your time this evening. It’s been absolute delight to catch up again. I look forward to eventually coming back and you’re like, It’s out ,
[00:36:43] Marc Smolowitz: I can’t wait. And my dream of dreams is to join you down there in Australia.
[00:36:47] Screen the movie in person, we can celebrate together.
[00:36:51] Sophia Elliott: That is a wonderful dream. Let’s hold onto that cuz that’d be amazing. Will take care. Thank you for joining us this evening. I’m very excited about next week’s activities and all the exciting joy that we get to share
[00:37:04] Marc Smolowitz: next week. Hashtag gifted joy.
[00:37:07] Let’s do it. Hashtag Thanks so much, Sophia. Thank you.