SXSW 2012: “Brooklyn Castle”

BROOKLYN CASTLE is a documentary about I.S. 318 an inner-city school where more than 65 percent of students are from homes with incomes below the federal poverty level that also happens to have the most winning junior high school chess team in the nation. The school has cultivated many of the nation’s highest ranked players; if Albert Einstein, who was rated 1800, were to join the team he’d only rank fifth. Chess has helped transform the school from one cited in 2003 as a “school in need of improvement” to one of New York City’s highest achieving middle schools. But a series of recession-driven public school budget cuts now threaten to undermine those hard-won successes.

World Premiere Screening: Sunday, March 11 at 11:00 AM at Alamo Ritz 1

Followed (rain or shine!) by Chess in the Square from 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM directly across from the Austin Convention Center in Brush Square Park at East 5th Street (look for us in East Tent if there’s rain). Participants will include film’s director and subjects, chess team members from I.S. 318 featured in the film and from local Canyon Vista Middle School in Round Rock (suburban Austin), and Grammy-nominated recording artist John Forté who wrote and performed an original song for BROOKLYN CASTLE called “Protect the King.” During the event, I.S. 318 graduate and chess phenom Justus Williams will be doing a simultaneous exhibition (or “simul”), playing up to 15 other players at once.

Brooklyn Castle Trailer from Rescued Media on Vimeo.

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