Brooklyn Castle - Documentary
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  • The documentary Brooklyn Castle, in my opinion can be attributed to many positive events after its airing
  • For instance, right after I watched the film I learned that an Inner City school in Brooklyn was the first school of its class to win the High School Championship put on by the United States Chess Federation
  • Along with great chess instructors and a good coach, the school was placed, for once, at a very favorable advantage, which I think is a well-deserved break for the team and the school
  • I highly recommend the documentary Brooklyn Castle

    • by Brynn Bowery
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      The documentary Brooklyn Castle, in my opinion can be attributed to many positive events after its airing. For instance, right after I watched the film I learned that an Inner City school in Brooklyn was the first school of its class to win the High School Championship put on by the United States Chess Federation. Kids who do not have the advantage won the event. Certainly, anyone who is familiar with the game knows chess is not a game of luck. It is very strategic and all powers as far as logical thought must be used by its successful participant. It is very impressive to learn that kids who do not have all sorts of financial means; and may even live in less than favorable surroundings, can collectively put their thinking caps on and put themselves

      to the test with regard to the game: Impressive? Undeniably: Yes—I think.

      The motivational documentary by Katie Dellamaggiore actually provides coverage with respect to two years of a school chess team’s history. It is during this time, Rochelle Ballantyn—a member of the team embraces her dream of becoming the first African American to become Grandmaster of the game; in the history of America. The team, during this time is under the unfavorable threat of losing its financial allocation due to possible fiscal reductions within the state. That makes the documentary all the more “viewable.”

      You cannot become highly creative as to Cinematic technique when you show two participants playing chess—there is just no realistic way to do it. However, individual expressions shown throughout the documentary are worth a thousand words. You witness the pride in

      the expressions of the kid’s parents. The team member’s expressions and winner’s expression speaks volumes. Rochelle is very happy once she is awarded the title which she so diligently pursued. She was also provisioned with a 4 year college scholarship after her win.

      Now back to the school which was addressed at the front of the review. Well over half of the student body within the inner city school profiled is substantially below what is considered the poverty level by the American government. The school provides its students with an After School Chess program; and has done so for quite a while. The after school activity is tied to achievement. The documentary’s timing though could not have been more perfect. It is as if the introduction of the documentary, to the public viewing ...


      • Brooklyn Castle - Documentary
      audience, came at the right time. Along with great chess instructors and a good coach, the school was placed, for once, at a very favorable advantage, which I think is a well-deserved break for the team and the school.

      The party truly responsible for winning is the player. The instructors of the game can give any player excellent advice; however, it is up to each and every player of the game to apply that advice correctly. The victory lies in the fact that when a chess player does win, he or she has shown her or his grand strength in logic—and the preceding aspect is a character trait which I most admire in any chess player.

      The documentary shows chess players gathering after school, hitting the tournament circuit and just going about together in the spirit of

      comradeship. We also witness the increase in self-esteem the game affords to certain members of the team. In example, there is one team member by the name of Patrick who suffers Attention Deficit Disorder. We witness his self-esteem escalate. The idea that Patrick has improved at the game of chess is highly motivating. It can be described as a non-traditional approach to the disorder, and is very inspiring.

      I highly recommend the documentary Brooklyn Castle. It has won an Audience Award at a certain film festival; and in and of itself is very inspiring. You will become highly motivated after viewing the documentary—and this applies to any endeavor you may wish to achieve which requires your personal determination.

      Credits: Producer: Distribution Agency.

      Director: Katie Dellamaggiore.

      Run time: One hour and 45 minutes.




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