Cool kids in school are the chess team
Director Katie Dellamaggiore on the story behind 'Brooklyn Castle'
- Duration 12:16
- Date Nov 12, 2012
Director Katie Dellamaggiore on the story behind 'Brooklyn Castle'
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-- -- -- -- And it really helps.
My hitting yeah.
-- -- -- -- Becoming the first African.
-- -- I believe in my pain and some.
If you're the best team doesn't provide there was -- one thing.
OK so how cool is that that is -- trailer from Brooklyn.
Castle of fantastic film that is a documentary going through -- Looking at this particular school in Brooklyn.
With these really inspiring kids who want to play -- who are playing -- who are becoming champions.
And it's just inspiring story and I want to just get right after that interviews -- guest Katy -- Missouri yes I got that right.
Producer and director of the Brooklyn castle.
And a cool -- school playing chess started -- -- -- -- want you to fill us in on speaking about the story.
And who these kids aren't -- -- yeah well let's say it.
Started in 2007.
It's quite some time ago now.
I read an article in the New York Times which was about the high school -- team in Brooklyn.
Tomorrow high school which is not far from -- grew up in Brooklyn.
And it caught my eye because being from Brooklyn.
I had no idea that you know Brooklyn was home to be scholastic chess champion let -- of the public.
The public schools and so I did a little digging and I found out that this high school was featured in the book called the kings of New York.
It was a really interesting.
Look at a year in the life of this test team and I thought well that seems like a really nice neat idea for a documentary.
You know kind of like the cool.
David -- being the cool kids at school right and so in that book was one chapter dedicated to this junior high school I asked me eighteen.
And am I met with the -- -- for some coffee to tell her about this idea that I had and he suggested that I.
They go check out the junior high school he said that you know the high schools and getting a lot of attention lately.
-- but a lot of times people don't always pay attention to younger kids.
And in fact this junior high school was a title one school which meant you know 70% of the kids were from homes below the poverty level.
-- there was like a lot of interesting things happening at the school.
That we're defying expectations.
Which is what I found when I got that -- I think that's kind of what you needed the story initially was just.
The idea there was this you know kind of inner city public school.
That was doing really amazing things and it was it was -- actually that was inspiring the whole school which is kind of unexpected.
Let's say you know what I was reading the -- on his -- what I saw the trailer.
The first thing that I kind of thought about that one of my favorite movies is -- in the -- time and I don't you know that movie but I -- -- this young girl who wants to those spelling -- and and just you know goes through so much to be there -- and so this story these kids and I want you to talk about.
The five members of the chess team that you are.
That we see in the film.
They just as Williams College go to the names that tell -- about his kids -- -- -- -- sounds fantastic yes we have agreed.
Group of kids in the film I mean honestly they are what make the movie stuff still -- -- so.
Lucky as a filmmaker to have been able to tell their stories.
And polo who is one of our main characters.
He is this charismatic.
It's twelve or thirteen year old.
And he's got political and this aspiration other cell phone call Michelle Obama that's -- -- isn't he said that I thought what is this.
It couldn't and actually written anything radio on my own that was that a just thing.
It's a -- -- up Obama and he decides to run for junior high school president.
And at the time the school -- it really bad budget cuts so he kind of makes it his goal as class president.
To fight against these budget cuts all the while still traveling with the test team winning chess championships.
Helping his mom out at home -- she runs a daycare out of her home and he's like the man of the house so dislike is really great kid.
-- just -- Williams is -- chest phenom when he enters the school because he is.
Thank ranked fifth out of the heat pumps chest kids at his -- in the entire country.
So he enters the school with a lot of kind of personal expectations to do well.
-- we follow his journey for the year as he kind of struggles with those expectations.
On his way to becoming a master -- -- So amazing apps just as hard.
Create chances Bartlett's exit so how how do these kids have a big learned that they all learned of the -- at school -- they haven't even the most out of college Chavis.
Out of their -- come about I think some of the kids -- this.
-- in this other young woman Rochelle.
That was the case for that but for some other kids like Patrick.
He didn't have any tests instruction before entering 318 and so.
And like half of the kids on the test team they just -- tests and how to move the pieces.
For the first time when they -- in sixth grade and they of this wonderful teacher mister curry who is just I'm really passionate dedicated.
And she can basically take the kids in sixth grade and you know not knowing how the pieces move.
They get most of them -- like a really competitive strong level by the time they're -- eighth grade class on and that's all car she just has that gift and on you know she's wonderful so.
I say it's a good mix of kids who come in with a little bit -- knowledge in some who have none at all.
How does this film has it changed them and get a good way and yeah -- But like you know they've they have they've they've got the recognition now a -- other kids want to isn't waiting on head on chess team I imagine that this is really.
Given everybody a boost to -- well.
There's no waiting list it on the -- -- -- neat thing about the school in the program is that it's very inclusive.
And so it's not about kind of just taking the top kids.
And down and making -- team of really strong player said John Galvin who's the assistant principal and the test coordinator.
Is he really makes it his gold sit invite as many kids to participate in the test program as possible -- -- -- can get costly.
Which is part of the reason why the budget cuts are so devastating because.
You know it.
He doesn't want to just take five kids to nationals who want to take all fifty kids because they all deserve to go.
-- yes I think lots of kids want to be part of the test program and M and the school encourages and many to be -- part as possible.
And in terms of the environment at the school -- when you walk in you see all these trophies and banners covering the hallways.
And I think that's kinda unique because not only is it inspiring for the kids on the team.
They think for kids at the school who don't play chess it's really nice for them -- come to school.
And see something that they can be proud of to kind of have like these positive images.
And positive role models to look up to you noting that.
To be proud of their school and to be proud of the things that their other stick their other classmates are -- something good happening here -- that really resonates with kids and I think kids really pick up on that when they walk into school when there's that kind of really positive vibe happening.
It's very different than if you walk into -- school and -- -- detectors or like yeah you know kind of you get a sense that oh something's not right here and it's eighteen it's very different it felt like that at all.
And what -- like for you and accomplishing this film because I -- -- a reporter.
You hear about -- they have hit -- hit you hope that you can't you know get moving within and get them.
You know for you for getting a budget to do this but yeah.
You get it done that you've got it on film it's so inspiring and playing in a variety of theaters yes.
So like for you to be able to tell the story.
Well I think it's personal.
Amazing to actually be in theaters right now looks -- -- such a journey on my husband and my brother and I've been working on this film.
For four years my husband's -- editor my brother is the director of photography.
Who made the film with money out of our own pockets.
You know in four years later we got into a great film festival at SXSW.
England the audience award.
He found a great distributor.
And the film is now out in fifteen cities so far right now across the country.
And anything is is like now I get to watch the film with an audience and get to see very -- and to have people come out of the theater.
Telling us how good they feel -- And how inspired they feel but at the same time.
How kind of fired up they are a little bit to do something you know they -- like -- we do we want to take action.
We know programs like this matter and we we want to make -- programs like this are available to our kids to people.
Want to do something and that makes me feel good because that's how I felt when I discovered the program.
And it happened you've got a way that people can get out yeah show people the web site.
-- for Brooklyn -- because that is how you can find out more information.
About the movie there you can see the trailers all cued up and ready to go and all the links.
And there's a link up there to take action.
Yes so on our web -- there is a couple of things that people can -- I'm one of those one of the first things are really encouraging people to do is.
If they have a dollar or ten or to play me to donate you can go online and make -- tax deductible donation.
And half of that money will go directly to that the pre -- test programs to help them travel and to keep their program going.
Half of that money will help us continue to bring the film -- kids.
Who we think.
Would love this story but otherwise might not have a chance to get -- CXT -- its really hard with an independent film there.
To get it in front of a lot of kids in and movie tickets are expensive and so.
You know we've been partnering with some nonprofits and some community organizations.
To bring groups of kids that theater see the film talk about it.
What they take from it and you know we want to continue doing that so that money will help us citizens and our retail.
That's so great so -- -- in closing.
What do you want people to you want people to -- -- the -- didn't start but.
As people leave what is what is your take away what do you hope people -- the movie theater.
You know aside from taking action -- what do you hope is in their hearts and in their minds.
After they see this film and the story that you brought to them.
You know I just I think sometimes it.
It's nice to be reminded that there are good things happening in our communities.
Especially in our public schools which have been under fire and teachers are under fire.
And -- it's nice to be reminded that you know when you give students.
And the support that they need it they can really exceed our expectations.
But that has to happen first and so you know you can't.
Take -- take away take away and then ask -- why aren't you guys excelling.
And so I just you know I think it was nice for me to be able to discover that story and so I'm happy -- you know be able to share that with people and at the same time break down some stereotypes about.
What it's chess player is or what an inner city school is you know I think that this school kind of -- from this film shatters all of that right and so it's nice sometimes it to be reminded.
That is so amazing while we encourage everyone to get on that website find out if it's playing near you and if it's not.
Maybe people can get you millions find a way to you know -- -- -- is gonna be on iTunes -- some yes after a theatrical run noble will eventually be it on iTunes Netflix and whatnot but yet there's people that wanna see it in their own communities because you know us on the website -- -- we'll try our best to get to a theater near you is it fair to call us an unlikely story.
It's absolutely a good -- of -- very good.
A very -- -- television or anything.
She is the producer director of Brooklyn Cassel again the web site.
Fighter on Twitter all of that thank you so much for being an today months sharing -- amazing story and best of luck to you and ultimately more more obvious as.
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