Friday, October 19, 2012
Directed and produced by Katie Dellamaggiore
Edited and produced by Nelson Dellamaggiore
At IS 318 in Brooklyn
Featuring student players
Justus, Alexis, Rochelle, Pobo and Patrick
Elizabeth Vicary, John Galvin and Fred Rubino
Rochelle at the chess board
Photo courtesy Brooklyn Castle
Katie Dellamaggiore, director and producer
and Nelson Dellamaggiore editor and producer
Photo by Eric Roffman
BROOKLYN CASTLE is a terrific movie. It tells the story plainly and simply of IS 318 in Brooklyn, which has consistently produced some of the best Junior High School chess players in the country.
This movie is an inspiring study of how to produce exellence in education. It is specifically about the chess program, but by being specific it is universal.
Everyone interested in looking at how education can succeed should see this film. It was one of the highlights at the 2012 Hamptons International Film Festival and it's playing near Lincoln Center now. Seek it out, wherever you are!
It is an extremely well-made documentary that avoids the primary pitfalls (confusion, hackneyed story-line, sugar-coating, conspicuous directorial style, exaggerated highs and lows) of even the best documentaries: BROOKLYN CASTLE tells, very clearly, simply and understandably what is really a quite complex story with many personalities. It is also free of mannerisms. It follows the successes, the ambitions, the motivations and the problems of the teachers, the student players, and the students' parents. It is also a "sports-competition" movie that does not follow the primary cliche (build-up to a climactic final competition) of that genre's cliched formula. Rather, it just tells what actually happens: (win some, lose some, do well, but not perfectly, and learn).
The film also documents the effects on education caused by cuts in public financing for public education, during these lean years.
The film is careful to document both the pressure that the school puts on the students to win, and the comfort and perspective they provide about losing. (Note: chess can be very stressful: two guys I played chess with in high school -- who seemed pretty normal at the time -- went on to become chess Grandmasters; and both developed mental problems. That does not happen to everyone of course. But the desire to win, and keeping a healthy outlook win or lose, are both essential parts of education for any competitive enterprise.) According to the director, IS 318 has an excellent history of providing students with an education that gives them a healthy start... for success in chess and/or other academic pursuits after they graduate.
BROOKLYN CASTLE is original, well shot, well edited, very interesting, and -- I'll say it again -- inspirational for anyone interested in high quality public education.
HAMPTONS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
BROOKLYN CASTLE OFFICIAL SITE
BROOKLYN CASTLE ON WIKIPEDIA
BROOKLYN CASTLE - IMDB
RESOURCES FOR CHESS AND AFTER-SCHOOL ACTIVITES
CHESS IN THE SCHOOLS
ON SATURDAY OCT 20 FROM 12-5 THERE WILL BE A SPECIAL CHESS EVENT
NEAR THE LANDMARK CINEMA AT HOUSTON & CHRYSTIE STREET
WHERE BROOKLYN CASTLE IS SHOWING
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