Rethinking Dyslexia Film – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Rethinking Dyslexia Film

The HWS chapter of Project Eye to Eye will present the HBO documentary, “The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia,” directed by James Redford, on Tuesday, Nov. 27 in the Geneva Room of the Warren Hunting Smith Library. Project Eye to Eye is a national effort to help elementary, middle and high school children. Mentors assist students to help them use their full potential and remove barriers to their learning processes, allowing them to see their individual strengths. This HBO Documentary uses animation and figurative language to illustrate the experiences of people with dyslexia to allow for a better understanding of the disorder.

Dyslexia afflicts one in five students, affecting their ability to read comprehensively. These students are often misunderstood or unidentified, and so dyslexia remains a persistent problem. Redford relates to this extensively as his son Dylan, who is featured in the documentary, was diagnosed with dyslexia in fourth grade.

“Allison,” another individual featured in the documentary, was diagnosed at age 23 while attending Columbia University. Redford portrays the struggles his son faced in his early years, but also those of other students such as Allison and successful leaders, including: investment pioneer Charles Schwab, business magnate Richard Branson, high-profile lawyer David Boies and California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom. The film emphasizes how each individual’s unique strategies allows him or her to overcome the obstacles of dyslexia and use one’s full learning potential for future success.

The documentary also notes that without early diagnosis and intervention, gaps in academic attainment and low-self-esteem can result. Redford encourages viewers to rethink the issue of dyslexia, and illustrates the successes that can be attained with persistence. Dylan’s gift for thinking outside of the box landed him on the honor roll at Middleberry College his first year.

The “Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia” premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. According to David Flink, in an Eye to Eye narrative, it delves into the life of a dyslexic in its “Hopeful, honest, and compelling.”

For more information on the documentary, visit and @HBODocs #Dyslexia.