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Defying popular myths that assume most gifted people are wealthy, white, and will do fine on their own, THE G WORD reveals the economic, cultural and gender diversity of our nation’s gifted and talented population at every stage of life, highlighting their educational challenges, social isolation, and deep emotional sensitivities. It puts a face to the physical threats experienced by many in our schools and society at large. It also reveals a large and lively community of people around them working hard to meet their needs while challenging the prejudice that comes with being labeled “smart” in the 21st century.
The clips below spotlight a selection of stories and experts featured in The G Word. Though each short video stands on its own, they’re part of the larger picture we are currently investigating and shaping.
Marc Smolowitz – Director/Producer – Marc Smolowitz is a multi-award winning director, producer and executive producer with 20+ 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. In addition to “The G-Word,” his credits include: “The Nine” (Producer, 2016)“Buried Above Ground” (Producer, 2015), “Desert Migration” (Producer, 2015), “Black Is Blue” (Producer, 2014), “Heaven Adores You” (Producer, 2014), “Havana Curveball” (Exec. Producer, 2014), “The Campaign” (Producer, 2013), “Keep The Promise: The Global Fight Against AIDS,” narrated by Margaret Cho (Director/Producer, 2013), “The Power Of Two” (Director/Producer, 2011) “Still Around” (Exec. Producer/Collaborating Director, 2011), “The Weather Underground” (Producer, 2003), “Trembling Before G-d” (Producer, 2001). In recent years, he was the Producer at TellyTopia, a Silicon Valley start up specializing in interactive television, IP-TV and VOD products for cable & satellite companies. In the 1990s, 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 as the 26th largest film company in North America, 14th among independents, at its peak in 1998. Today, he works full-time as an independent filmmaker, while maintaining a thriving consulting practice called 13th Gen that guides filmmakers through key stages of development, fundraising, production, post, completion, and distribution.
Ron Turiello – Producer – Ron Turiello 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.
Tim Kulikowski – Co-Producer – 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.