Film: Award-Winning Documentary: Brooklyn Castle
Thursday August 1, 2013: 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room
Join us for a special Ann Arbor screening of the award-winning 2012 documentary of a group of how a group of inner city kids defied stereotypes to become the highest ranked junior high chess team in the nation!
Brooklyn Castle is the story of five members of the chess team at a below-the-poverty-line inner city junior high school who have won more national championships than any other in the country. The 1 hour and 45 minute film follows the challenges these kids face in their personal lives as well as on the chessboard. The biggest obstacle thrust upon them arises not from other competitors but from budget cuts to all extracurricular activities at their school.
Each youth has a very compelling story: 11-year-old prodigy Justus is already one of America's highest-rated young chess players, and yet he often chokes, stymied by the expectations of others and his uncompromising belief in his destiny; Rochelle has the potential to become the first African-American female master in the history of chess, but she struggles to find the balance between chess and academic success; charismatic leader Pobo caters to the emotional needs of his teammates, often at the expense of his own playing; shy Alexis, second-ranked in the school, sees chess as a way to get a better education and job to support his immigrant family; Patrick, a sensitive beginner, is determined to use his modest goal of raising his chess ranking as a means to rise above his attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
The aspirations of the players are put in jeopardy by the school financial crisis. The budget cuts are another difficult battle that school and the team must fight, but the players have learned through playing chess that every problem has a solution if you are willing to work hard enough to find it.
Brooklyn Castle, directed by Katie Dellamaggiore, won many awards, including Audience Awards at both the South By Southwest and Newport Beach Film Festivals and the Best New Director Award at the Brooklyn Film Festival. This event is for adults and teens (grade 6 and up).