In PRODIGY BROTHERS, filmmaker Joe Camoriano provides a “behind-the-scenes” look at what life is like for Josh and Zac, two Canadian brothers who are prodigies - one in art, the other in music. An attack from a Russian crime ring while Josh was still in his mother’s womb may have led to Josh’s prodigiousness, as explained by experts in psychology and neuroscience. A similar trauma thirteen years later may have led his brother Zac to become a prodigy in his own right. We are able to capture a few moments of their lives as they pursue their separate passions. By the end, we begin to appreciate the bond they have together and learn that prodigies are not that different from us.
When the concept of this film came to me in 2012, it was little more than a “what-if” idea. Over the course of the past five years, that “what-if” idea slowly transformed into a “but when” revelation as I began to see just how far we as a society needed, and still ever increasingly need to understand how our brain works, and more specifically, the brain of a prodigy. Science has been slow to catch up with the phenomenon of child prodigies and what exactly makes these children produce their exceptional talent.
The “what-if” idea began when a professor of psychology from The Ohio State University came to our campus studio to talk to the national media about child prodigies. A thought occurred to me after her interview. What if I were to put a microphone on one of her prodigies and followed this person around? I wanted to find out what it was like to live as a prodigy. I wanted to know what made a prodigy ‘tick.” I had already seen plenty of child prodigies playing the piano on television, but here was my chance to perhaps spend some time with one.
A few months after that interview, the professor called me to say she had found not just one, but two prodigies that I could follow. When I found out they were both from the same family, I was thrilled because one’s chances of finding a prodigy is about one in 5 to 10 million people.
And so began my journey.
While searching to understand how these children think and what may have caused their prodigiousness, I did not anticipate how invested I would become in these boys’ lives. For me, the journey became more of a discovery about how “normal” these young men were and how talent, no matter how exceptional it may be, cannot replace the human factor behind a painting and a strum of a guitar.
I am honored to have been able to capture at least a small snapshot of their lives and a glimpse into their prodigious talent. More than that though, I am humbled to have been allowed to spend time with these brothers and to learn more about the human spirit than I ever could have by researching it through science alone.
Director/Producer/Cinematographer/Editor, Joe Camoriano