(2019, 93 minutes)
In 2004, a small group of elementary students were identified as gifted, and the filmmakers documented their search for the right high school. Ten years later, those filmmakers went back to find them and ask … “Are they still gifted?”
SUPERKIDS 2 is a feature-length documentary, completed over a period of more than 10 years, which explores the lives of five young people identified as ‘gifted’ when they were still children.
The documentary first finds them in 2004, as elementary school students who have been inducted into a segregated class for gifted learners within the Vancouver school system. Each of the children is engaged in the surprisingly competitive and challenging task of trying to find the correct fit for themselves at a local high school. Several of them are attempting to gain admission to a radically accelerated program for gifted children at the University of British Columbia which will see them enter university proper at an age as young as 14.
The documentary then finds them as young twenty-somethings in Vancouver, San Francisco, Nashville, and New York as they complete their formal education, and set out upon careers. From this later perspective, and in the style of the famous British ‘Up’ series, they are able to actively reflect on their experiences at school, both public and private, and they express a variety of opinions on the benefits and disadvantages of the unusual educational pathways they followed.
Throughout the documentary, the stories of the ‘superkids’ are told against a backdrop of international experts who offer a sharp critique of the complex issues of identification, labeling, segregation and acceleration that each of these young adults has been forced to contend with. In the end, these critics suggest a new perspective on the challenge of educating our brightest children, one with profound implications for the education of all children everywhere.