Finishing Brooklyn Castle

I’m posting an email I just received from Katie Dellamaggiore, director and producer of the documentary Brooklyn Castle. This is a wonderful project they have been working on for a few years now. Please read the letter and help out if you can.

My name is Katie Dellamaggiore and I’m the director and producer of Brooklyn Castle, a documentary about the best – and most winning – junior high school chess team in the country, from Intermediate School 318 in Brooklyn, New York. Please watch the trailer for the film here – it gives a good idea of what the movie’s all about:

I’m writing to you today because you are involved with or run a chess club in your community, and I think this is the kind of chess movie you love to see and share with your club members. 

I.S. 318 is a school where 65% of students (and a staggering 87% of students on the chess team) are from homes living below the poverty level. Yet its chess team consistently wins against schools with far more resources. The kids on the team are so highly rated that if Albert Einstein, who was rated about 1800, were to become a member, he’d only be fifth best.

Recently, the school has been hit with budget cuts so deep they threatened to wipe out the chess program. So, we reached out to press to draw attention to the school’s plight, resulting in this article in the NY Daily News. In response, a local power company stepped up and donated 25k to the team. Just a few days after the first article ran,the Daily News did a follow up article reporting on the good news.

That quick response is proof for us that community members respond to I.S. 318’s story. Ironically, it may not have a chance to be told if Brooklyn Castle doesn’t get the funds it needs for completion. All audiences – including those within the world of chess — need to know the story of this school that is doing so amazingly for its students, of this chess team whose circumstances require they do more with less, and about the fact that chess can change lives and turn schools around.

PLEASE JOIN US in taking this very special chess story to the widest audience possible. There’s a couple of ways you can get involved:

  1. We’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign ( to raise funds to finish the film and support our outreach and audience engagement efforts.  Our campaign still has 9 days to go —  please check out our Kickstarter and join our efforts to get this story out there by making a pledge and sharing the page with your network. It would be incredibly sad if we don’t reach our goal and can’t get this story out there.
  2. We would love to invite your and your chess club to a screening of Brooklyn Castle when we are playing in a city near you. Please join our Mailing list at or email me directly to let me know if you are interested in attending or hosting a screening.
  3. Like us on facebook  and follow us on twitter @brooklyn_castle.
  4. Email me any suggestions for chess groups or organizations that might be good partners in our campaign to bring quality after school programs, like chess, to underserved schools throughout the country.

Thanks so much for your time. I look forward to hearing from you.

Enjoy the holiday season!

Best regards,

Katie Dellamaggiore
Brooklyn Castle

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