From the director of CHILD OF GIANTS: My Journey with Maynard Dixon and Dorothea Lange, 2e: Twice Exceptional follows the personal journeys of a unique group of high school students in Los Angeles who have been identified as “twice exceptional” – gifted or highly gifted individuals with learning disabilities or differences. They are geniuses, mavericks and dreamers – Malcolm Gladwell’s budding “outliers.”
Featuring illuminating and thought-provoking interviews with students, parents, teachers, psychologists and therapists, 2e: Twice Exceptional is produced and directed by Thomas Ropelewski (Child of Giants: My Journey with Maynard Dixon and Dorothea Lange) and will be available for screenings Fall 2014.
“They vex their parents. They are often considered “at risk”… but they may very well grow up to change the world if they are given the chance to demonstrate and develop their abilities.”
– 2e Center for Research and Professional Development
“2e: Twice Exceptional is an honest, up-close look at what it’s like to be – or to be the parent or teacher of — a young person who’s both gifted and coming to terms with a learning difference. Essential viewing for anyone interested in understanding where our next generation of game-changing outliers may be coming from.”
– Steven Kotler, New York Times best-selling author of The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance
Thomas Ropelewski has written and directed for both film and television. He wrote and made his feature directorial debut with the Orion Pictures comedy MADHOUSE, starring John Larroquette and Kirstie Alley. Other film credits include LOVERBOY, THE KISS, LOOK WHO’S TALKING NOW and THE NEXT BEST THING. His television work includes serving as writer/executive producer for three seasons of Paramount TV’s action/sci-‐fi series SEVEN DAYS.
Recently, Ropelewski produced and directed the documentary, CHILD OF GIANTS: My Journey with Maynard Dixon and Dorothea Lange. The film has been screened at film festivals, colleges and museums around the world. It has also aired on KCET/San Francisco’s “Truly CA” documentary series. For more information about CHILD OF GIANTS, please visit www.childofgiants.com.
Ropelewski currently resides in Berkeley, CA and is married to screenwriter Leslie Dixon (MRS. DOUBTFIRE, HAIRSPRAY, THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR, LIMITLESS).
As the parent of a “twice-exceptional” teenager (he’s intellectually gifted – that’s the first exception – but with a learning difference – ADHD – that’s the second), I know first-hand about the challenges of trying to understand and nurture a child who at one moment seems wise beyond his years and the next can throw a tantrum like a much younger child. I know the heartache of speaking with school officials who acknowledged that my son was brilliant but unmanageable.
But I also know the thrill of being in the presence a unique and lively mind, one that has little patience for a three-minute pop song but can sit through the entirety of Wagner’s Ring cycle and discuss it excitedly afterward. To this day, he’s never seen the Star Wars trilogy; at age seven he got through about ten minutes of Episode 4 before turning off the TV and running to his room to start building his own Imperial Fleet.
I admit my son’s a challenge, but why can’t everyone see the same brilliant kid I see? Why do they always focus on the problems instead of the gifts? And why can’t my son just go with the flow once in a while? Why does he always have to make everything so hard on himself by insisting on doing things his own way?
The simple answer is that that his brain is “wired” differently. Basic executive skills (like remembering to turn in his homework on time) that come so easily to other children are real challenges for him. But studying graduate-level molecular genetics in tenth grade was a piece of cake.
Although the concept of twice-exceptionality has evolved over the past half-century, I hadn’t heard of it until I discovered Bridges Academy. I had no idea that there was a small but passionate network of educators around the country who were developing curricula that focused on the strengths of these unique students while also helping them address their challenges. Most importantly, these teachers were helping students identify and develop their talents and passions. They were defining these kids by their strengths – what they can do, often brilliantly – instead of by their weaknesses, which is the predominant approach of the American public school system.
No federal agency or organization currently gathers statistics about giftedness, but the National Association of Gifted Children estimates that there are approximately three million school children – about 5-7% of the student population — “capable of high performance” and “in need of services or activities not normally provided by the school. “ Almost all funding decisions regarding gifted education are generated at the state and local level. While “No Child Left Behind” was designed to address students performing below proficient levels, gifted children – and especially the twice-exceptional – are usually left out in the cold.
Navigating adolescence is challenging enough for anyone, no matter what path to adulthood you find yourself on. That challenge is compounded greatly for the young person who finds himself on a path which few, if any, have forged before. Parents and teachers are equally lost when trying their best to nurture and guide them.
It is my hope that 2e: Twice Exceptional will expand the national dialogue about twice-exceptional education and shed light on educators who are developing insightful, effective programs to engage these idiosyncratic kids who may indeed grow up to change the world.
Director / Producer
WHEN: Saturday, October 15, 2016
WHERE: Awareness Film Festival – Oct. 6-16
Regal Cinema’s LA LIVE
1000 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90015
TIME: 2:00 PM
WHEN: Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2016
WHERE: Newport Beach Civic Center | 100 Civic Center Drive, Newport Beach , CA 92660
TIME: 6:00 PM
SPONSORED BY: Reid Day School
WHEN: Saturday, September 24, 2016
WHERE: 6th Annual Golden Door Film Festival – Sept. 22-25
THE BEACON PARAMOUNT THEATRE
20 Beacon Way
Jersey City, NJ 07304
TIME: 12:00 noon
WHEN: Tuesday, September 20, 2016
WHERE: Northwood High School
310 Northwood High School Road
Pittsboro, NC 27312
TIME: 6:00 PM in the Auditorium
SPONSORED BY: AIG – Chatham County Schools
CONTACT: Susan Southern at firstname.lastname@example.org
WHEN: Tuesday, September 20, 2016
WHERE: 2016 Arts and Autism Festival: Creating, Learning & Living
The Gateway Film Center
1550 North High Street
Columbus, OH 43210
TIME: 6:30 PM
TICKETS: $5.00 at the door
September 7, 2016 – Eckerd College
July 28, 2016 – NEW HOPE FILM FESTIVAL – New Hope, PA
July 21-22, 2016 – SENG (Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted) Annual Conference. WILLIAMSBURG, VA
July 25, 2016 – 7th Annual New Hope Film Festival – New Hope, PA
June 7-10, 2016 – LOUISIANA LAGNIAPPE CONFERENCE at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette sponsored by the Center for Gifted Education. LAFAYETTE, LA
June 2, 2016 – New Haven Public Library
MAR. 13 – HUNTINGTON, NY (LONG ISLAND) – JCC/NY ReelAbilities Film Festival – Cinema Arts Centre – 1:00 PM
MAR. 13 – QUEENS, NY – JCC/NY ReelAbilities Film Festival – Central Queens Y – 2:00 PM
MAR. 13 – NEW YORK, NY – JCC/NY ReelAbilities Film Festival – JCC Manhattan – 4:00 PM
MAR. 10 – ROCKLAND, NY – JCC/NY ReelAbilities Film Festival – JCC Rockland – 7:30 PM
MAR. 6 – PRINCETON, NJ, Princeton Public Library
MAR. 1 – BRYN MAWR, PA- CSE/Lower Meron – PA Assoc. for Gifted Education
FEB. 20 – POTOMAC, MD – Jewish Disabilities Awareness & Inclusion Month, Beth Shalom Congregation
FEB. 13 – SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Innovation Hangar, Palace of Fine Arts
JAN. 25 – OAKLAND, CA – BANANAS Child Care Resources
DEC. 16 – SAN RAMON, CA – San Ramon Council of PTAs – Iron Horse Middle School
NOV. 14 – EUGENE, OR – Eugene International Film Festival (WINNER: BEST SOCIAL BENEFIT DOCUMENTARY)
NOV. 11 – PIEDMONT, CA – Piedmont High School
OCTOBER 1 – DENVER, CO – University of Denver
SEPTEMBER 22 – ORANGE, CA – Chapman University (Free screening; no charge)
SEPTEMBER 3 – PORTLAND, OR – Portland Film Festival
JULY 27-31 – BOISE, ID – 19th Annual EduFest
JULY 12-17 – STORRS, CT – 38th Annual “Confrature” Conference, University of Connecticut – Storrs Campus
JUNE 6 – EDEN PRAIRIE, MN – Arete Academy Fundraiser
MAY 30 – HOLLYWOOD, CA – Dances with Films
APRIL 9 – OCALA, FL – Silver Springs International Film Festival (WINNER: AUDIENCE CHOICE AWARD – BEST FEATURE FILM)
MARCH 6 – DURHAM, NC – Duke University
MARCH 5 – WINSTON-SALEM, NC – North Carolina Association of the Gifted and Talented 41st Annual Conference
MARCH 2 – NEW YORK, NY The Lang School
FEB. 28 – RICHMOND, VA – Richmond International Film Festival (WORLD PREMIERE / WINNER: BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE)