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Brooklyn Castle

BROOKLYN CASTLE tells the stories of five members of the chess team from an inner city junior high school that has won more national championships than any other in the country, and follows the challenges these kids face in their personal lives as well as on the chessboard.

Director: Katie Dellamaggiore
Year: 2012
Time: 101 min

 Brooklyn Castle
(2012) on IMDb

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US: JustWatch
Canada: JustWatch
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Ways to Influence

Share this film. Consider hosting a screening and a discussion with friends, family or colleges.

Support Chess-In-The Schools, “a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to improving academic performance and building self-esteem among inner-city public school children,”. They need volunteers and financial donations.

Volunteer your time at an after-school program. Citizen Schools offers suggestions within the U.S.

Learn how to play or improve the skills you already have at Chesscademy.

Related Articles and Resources

The Game Is All-Consuming

“BROOKLYN CASTLE is itself an argument about how children succeed, but it is also unabashedly and somewhat overexcitedly a feature-length mash note to its young subjects. Yet why not? It’s deeply satisfying watching these public school, hard-knock kids win, and Ms. Dellamaggiore knows it. They struggle, these children, and their struggling reaches its climax in tournaments…”

Read The New York Times review.

On Kickstarter

“When we began shooting BROOKLYN CASTLE, we mostly wanted to document a great story: An underserved school where kids were thriving and the staff was tirelessly dedicated. But as we shot, we realized the film was a counterpoint to the tired notion that public schools – and public school students – can only fail. When budget cuts suddenly threatened to destroy the programs that make the school special, we knew we had to chronicle this new turn in the story.”

Lots of extras on the film’s funded Kickstarter.


Listen to our playlist with music from the film on Spotify.


A set of documentaries directed by female filmmakers.

From Brooklyn Castle to Ivory Tower

Read champion chessplayer Rochelle Ballantynes thoughts on how to succeed here.

Filmmaker Interviews

Filmmaker Katie Dellamaggiore talks about the making of BROOKLYN CASTLE, a documentary about a unique public school in Brooklyn that is a chess powerhouse, highlighting how a student’s education can be enhanced through the skills taught through this chess program.

Watch the full video on POV.

Schools Struggle To Recover

The financial crisis hitting many of the nation’s public schools is taking a heavy toll in cities such as Stockton, a blue-collar port city that struggles even in good times.Perched on the edge of central California’s delta, about an hour south of the state capital, the city of nearly 300,000 has had some of the highest home foreclosure and unemployment rates in a state that has ranked high in both categories.

Read the full article here.

The American Dream – Is It Still Alive?

Is the American Dream still alive today? Can people still rise from poverty to success? Why work so hard or put thousands of dollars into a college education or thousands of hours into a starting a business?

Read now on The Huffington Post.

Learn to Play Chess

It’s never to late to learn how to play chess! Read about rules and strategies here.

Elizabeth Vicary on Chess, Girls and Genius

Web editor Jennifer Shahade interviews chess expert, championship coach and frequent Chess Life Online and Chess Life Magazine contributor Elizabeth Vicary. Elizabeth has been teaching chess at I.S. 318, a junior high school in Brooklyn, New York since 1999.

Read the full interview on The United States Chess Federation.


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