America’s future rests on the shoulders of our next generation. At a time when our teens lag far behind other countries in math and science, Whiz Kids is a coming-of-age documentary that tells the story of three remarkably different yet equally passionate 17-year-old scientists who vie to compete in the nation’s oldest, most prestigious science competition: Intel Science Talent Search, which was formerly sponsored by Westinghouse.
Win or lose, these ‘whiz kids’ raise questions about class, courage, personal sacrifice, success and failure and in the process, learn as much about themselves as they do about science. From the filmmakers who brought you the Sundance and Emmy Award-winning films Scout's Honor and Girls Like Us comes the new feature length documentary Whiz Kids.
Spitfire Ana Cisneros is a first generation Ecuadorian American whose parents came to the U.S. in search of a better life for their family. The daughter of a former DuPont chemist from West Virginia, Kelydra Welcker is an earnest environmental watchdog. Pakistani-born Harmain Khan is a mercurial teen with enormous ambition.
While the competition itself provides a grueling and emotionally compelling narrative, the filmmakers agreed that the coming of age stories of its contenders would comprise the heart of the film. For a year and a half, they visited high schools around the country searching for teenagers who were engaged in sophisticated research. The team found students, who at 16 and 17, were already working in university and government labs, sometimes alongside Nobel Prize winning scientists. They also found students with fewer resources who were making discoveries in the apocryphal basement or garage lab. Several traits were consistent among these ‘whiz kids’—an insatiable curiosity, a deeply felt determination to communicate their work to the public and a passion to make a difference in the world.
The film-makers included:
- Director and Co-producer Tom Shepard, a teen scientist and a Science Talent Search finalist in 1987;
- Co-directer and co-producer Tina DiFeliciantonio;
- Editor, Writer and Sound-recordist Jane C. Wagner;
- Producer Michael Duca.
Interested in becoming a Whiz Kid?
The deadline for the 2010 Intel Science Talent Search is November 18,2009. For rules, entry form and more information, please visit: http://scisery.org/sts/
Computer History Museum
1401 N. Shoreline Boulevard
Mountain View, CA, 94043