Doco delves into learn­ing dis­or­der

Film-maker draws on son’s ex­pe­ri­ence

Central Otago Mirror - - CLASSIFIEDS - By GRANT BRYANT

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.

Photo: SUP­PLIED

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.

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