(57 min) USA
Director/Producer: Tom Weidlinger
Five teenagers stigmatized by being in Special Education struggle to articulate how their brains work and discover they are smarter than they thought. In a one-size-fits-all educational system, kids with learning disabilities suffer from lack of self-esteem. They become alienated and drop out. But the protagonists of Original Minds buck the trend. They work intensively with the filmmaker to tell their own stories. Their narratives reveal the unique approach to learning that each must discern and claim as his or her own if they are to succeed in the world. The film eschews the confusing thicket of clinical labels for learning disorders to touch on fundamental truths about how we all acquire and process information.
Tom Weidlinger is an independent filmmaker who has been writing, directing and producing documentary films for twenty-eight years. Sixteen of his films have received national broadcasts on public television. Many have won prestigious festival and industry awards, and are in educational distribution. Weidlinger’s work deals with a wide range of subjects focusing on themes of social justice and human relations, from the emotional development of boys in the United States to humanitarian aid in the Congo.