Education Blog

Game. Set. Watch!

By Karolina Manko, Education Assistant 05.06.14

“Imagine a school where the cool kids are the chess team. Welcome to I.S. 318.”

Last Friday, as part of our Classroom to Screening Room program, Brooklyn Castle was screened for a group of Westchester students from Ossining High School, Scarsdale Middle School, Children’s Village, and WESTHAB. The event, which also included a fantastic discussion with the film’s director, Katie Dellamaggiore, sparked some interesting and insightful conversation. As the students from Scarsdale Middle School prepare to shoot their own documentary films in the upcoming weeks, many had questions for Katie about technique and craft; while Ossining High School’s students grappled with thematic questions about race, class and identity, which they have been exploring in the classroom. eeks.

Winner of the Audience Award at the 2012 SXSW Film Festival, Brooklyn Castle (2012) is a wildly entertaining and surprisingly emotional documentary film about one Brooklyn middle school’s undefeatable chess team as they grapple with deep budget cuts that threaten their future. The film tracks several of the students on their journey to secure a place in chess history. 

The screening proved interesting and fruitful for everyone in attendance and we’re thrilled to know that the discussion sparked by the film will continue on in the students’ own classrooms in the coming weeks. Classroom to Screening Room is a program that provides unique opportunities for students to address issues relating to citizenship, current events, and human rights through a film and guided post-screening discussion. Last week’s screening epitomized the purpose and capability of Classroom to Screening Room and was a true testament to the educational value of film. 

Interested in continuing the conversation yourself? Check out Katie Dellamaggiore talking with Jon Stewart on The Daily Show about the film’s initial release. Brooklyn Castle is currently being adapted into a scripted feature by Sony Pictures and Scott Rudin Productions.

If you are an educator who would like to participate in our Classroom to Screening Room program we encourage you to join our mailing list and subscribe to our Monthly Newsletter for Educators. You can also visit our website or email education@burnsfilmcenter.org for more information about this or any of the other school and group programs offered here at the JBFC.