Category Archives: Brooklyn Castle
Interview with Director
Story Calgaryherald Brooklyn+Castle
‘…But what may be most inspirational about Katie Dellamaggiore’s portrayal of the blue-ribbon chess team at Intermediate School 318, which will screen Wednesday as part of the Calgary International Film Festival’s Doc Soup Series, is how thoroughly it dismantles the cliches that would no doubt flood a Hollywood film about low-income kids finding purpose and power in competitive chess.
Reality, is seems, turned out to be much more uplifting than anything Hollywood could come up with.
“I think there’s lots of films that tell a certain type of story about what happens at inner-city schools and a lot of times they are not really positive stories,” says Dellamaggiore, in an interview from her home in Brooklyn. “When I found the 318 team and I saw how positive it was and how driven the kids were, I thought: ‘Well, that’s nice. Maybe we need to hear more of these stories.’ Not every inner-city public school is failing us. There are examples out there of teachers and administrators that are doing innovative things and kids that are responding to it and parents that are supporting them. Sometimes we need to be reminded that those stories are out there. They’re not the ones that we hear the most about.”
So, in Brooklyn Castle, there’s no gangs to tempt the gifted players away from the board and into a life of crime. There’s no pragmatic immigrant parent who believes their gifted child should abandon chess for more practical pursuits. There’s no villainous school officials looking to derail the team, or jockish bullies to antagonize these geeky chess tacticians.
No, at this school, members of the chess team are the star athletes. This was immediately apparent to Dellamaggiore when she entered the halls nearly four years ago in hopes of chronicling the team’s trials and triumphs over one school year.
“When I got there, I was hooked immediately,” she says. “As soon as I got there I knew there was something really special happening. You walk into the school and there’s all these trophies and banners lining the hallways. You walk in and it’s the chess team. You don’t see the football team, the basketball team or the volleyball team. It was all the chess kids. Their faces were in the hallways.”
With some guidance from the team’s instructors, Elizabeth Vicary and John Galvin, Dellamaggiore found half-a-dozen or so students to focus on.
A very interesting chess documentary.
‘In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, parents struggle to help their children cope with the fact that their homes are no longer their castles and the uncertainty each new day brings. Last night some of the stars of the new documentary film “Brooklyn Castle” talked to me by phone while sitting in the green room of “The Daily Show.” They reflected on how chess is their anchor for every kind of storm life throws at them.-
Story and video from CsMonitor-Brooklyn Castle