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Saturday, April 14 @ Angelika
Sunday, April 15 @ Angelika

By Megan Rodgers
DIFF Writer

It was just another day in Brooklyn in 2007 when Katie Dellamaggiore woke up, made breakfast and sat down to read that day’s New York Times. Little did she know an article in the paper would change her life.

“The article was about a young chess player at a school right around the corner from where I was living,” she said, “so I decided to drop by to see what was going on. I realized this was more than just chess. The geeks on the chess team were the heroes of the school. I was intrigued.”

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The fascination turned quickly into action as she and her team began to create the inspiring tale of perseverance, determination and faith that is BROOKLYN CASTLE. In the film, Dellamaggiore follows the middle school students of I.S. 318’s chess team as they strive to solidify their reputation as the best in the nation—and, as it turns out, save the entire program from near extinction.

The team itself is not an easy victory. Not only does a majority of I.S. 318’s students come from families that fall below the poverty line, but the school itself is continuously faced with budget cuts that threaten after-school programs.

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BROOKLYN CASTLE is an intimate chronological look at the students, teachers, parents and community leaders that fight against institutional and recessionary odds to ensure that these programs continue—programs that not only keep children in school, but motivate them to look for and succeed in a future beyond Brooklyn. (During the film one champion player wins a scholarship to the University of Texas at Dallas in Richardson, which fields one of the top-ranked collegiate chess teams in the US).

“The most rewarding experience for me was that the kids, families, and staff welcomed us and trusted us so whole-heartedly into their homes and lives,” Dellamaggiore said. “It was so apparent that these programs do matter, and it takes an entire community to make them happen.”


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DIFF is proud to honor Laura Linney, Bernie Pollack and Gabourey Sidibe with the Dallas Star Award at the DFS Honors on April 20.  >> See all Awards


The 2012 Dallas International Film Festival is Dedicated to Lee Roy and Tandy Mitchell
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