By Pat Burns, GRAND Magazine Film Reporter
“SlingShot” is a new documentary screening at the 2014 Newport Beach Film Festival. It’s one of those films you want your 9- to 15-year-old children or grandchildren – as well as their parents and teachers – to watch. It’s an inspirational true story of what can happen when real people, given the proper guidance, set out to solve real problems. This is a documentary you can recommend to everyone who cares about the human race.
It’s not a “how to” film or a “talking head” documentary. “SlingShot” is directed and produced by Paul Lazarus. With brilliant imagery from gadgets, machines, displays of technological inventions and other wizardry, this film holds the viewer’s attention throughout the entire film.
The documentary is about Dean Kamen, his life and his passion to change the world. The film cleverly opens by asking people on the street if they know who Dean Kamen is – but no one has heard of him. If you’re like most people, though, you’re probably familiar with Kamen’s inventions. His most widely known creation is the Segway, an eco-friendly, two-wheeled scooter. But, Dean Kamen also has more than 440 patents and has developed many key medical technologies, including the portable dialysis machine, insulin pumps and the Ibot, a wheelchair that can climb stairs.
A portion of the film takes the audience back to Kamen as a young genius growing up – dyslexic and sometimes bullied – and always curious about how things work. The message is how important it is to acknowledge and be supportive of childhood differences because you never know what each child will come to accomplish.
“SlingShot” gradually guides us through Kamen’s creative process, the trial and error, the disappointments, the victories and the team efforts it takes to make his visions a reality. We are introduced to Kamen’s silent partner, who indeed never says a word, and are given an up-close and personal experience of Kamen’s workplace, home and family.
The film’s title “SlingShot” is also the name of Kamen’s water purification device, which produces clean water from any unfit source. Dean Kamen has been on a 15-year quest to bring this life-saving technology out into the world. This inspirational documentary shines a light on the work of a brilliant man who is actually changing the world, one invention at a time.
Don’t miss this live interview: Click here to listen to the interview with Paul Lazarus
“SlingShot”: Director/Producer Paul Lazarus (“Seven Girlfriends,” “Pretty Little Liars,” “The Middle”) and Producer Barry Opper.
Pat Burns, GRAND Magazine film critic, Regional Editor
Pat Burns helps families save money – tax free, with no market risk while building compounding wealth which helps to guarantee their financial future. She is also the co-founder of the Orange County Children’s Book Festival; a film reporter, Regional Editor of GRAND Magazine, author of Grandparents Rock®, and the happy grandmother of four.