Doco delves into learning disorder
Film-maker draws on son’s experience
Arrowtown hosted the New Zealand premier of an acclaimed documentary on dyslexia aimed at broadening knowledge on the condition at the weekend. The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia was directed by Jamie Redford, the son of actor director and founder of the Sundance Film Festival, Robert Redford. The film draws on Jamie’s experience with his son, Dylan, who has dyslexia. The family’s connection to New Zealand goes back 20 years, when Jamie Redford’s mother Lola Van Wagenen bought property near Keri Keri in Northland. ‘‘I’ve made annual pilgrimages to New Zealand ever since, and been to Queenstown once – it reminds a lot of Aspen, Colorado when I was growing up in the 1960s,’’ Redford said. Dorothy Brown’s Cinema was chosen as the premiere screening venue by the Dyslexia Foundation of New Zealand after schools in the town have made good prog- ress in tackling learning difficulties experienced by children with dyslexia, or similar conditions. His mission with The Big Picture was to make the film he wished he could have seen when Dylan was first struggling with dyslexia, Redford said. ‘‘Like many dyslexics, Dylan is intelligent, thoughtful and intellectually curious – a ‘big picture’ thinker. ‘‘But at the age of 10, he was barely able to read and write. ‘‘Now that he is grown and thriving, there are many things that I wish I had known about dyslexia at that time,’’ Redford says. ‘‘Creativity and entrepreneurship are some of the upsides that come with being able to see the big picture, and certainly the high achieving dyslexics, including Richard Branson, interviewed for this film exemplify that. ‘‘From what I have seen, New Zealand appears to be forward thinking in viewing dyslexia as a learning difference rather than difficultly – and celebrating the creative gains that come from this.’’ The Big Picture, first shown at the Sundance Film Festival in January last year, then on HBO, received excellent reviews. Redford has an extensive list of credits as a documentary director.
In focus: BigPicture director, son of screen legend Robert Redford, and part-time New Zealander Jamie Redford at the Kiwi premiere of his dyslexia documentary at Arrowtown’s Dorothy Brown’s Cinema on Saturday.