BEAUTIFUL NEWS: Inner-City Junior High Students Defy The Odds To Become National Chess Champs In ‘Brooklyn Castle’ [VIDEO]

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brooklyn-castle“Brooklyn Castle” is the exhilarating story of five students from I.S. 318, a public school in Brooklyn that serves mostly minority students from families living below the poverty line. These students are powerhouses in junior high chess competitions and have won more than 30 national championships. For these kids, chess is more than a game, and winning is more than a matter of trophies. “Brooklyn Castle” is a clear-eyed look at a school program that has made a huge difference to students. It is equally a celebration of youth’s determination to dream, if given the chance.

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Andrew O’Hehir of Salon says, “If you want to see what may well be the most optimistic, inspiring and downright thrilling movie released all year—then absolutely do not miss . . . Brooklyn Castle.”

The 85-member squad boasts so many strong players that the late Albert Einstein, a dedicated chess maven, would rank fourth if he were on the team. “Brooklyn Castle” has its national broadcast premiere on Monday, Oct. 7, 2013 at 10 p.m. (check local listings) on the award-winning PBS documentary series POV (Point of View). The film will stream on POV’s website, from Oct. 8- Nov. 6, 2013. The film is part of the new PBS INDIES SHOWCASE, a four-week series of independent documentaries airing on Monday nights from Sept. 30-Oct. 21.

Meet the students:

Justus Williams: 11-year-old prodigy. Already one of America’s highest-ranked young chess players. Yet he is plagued by a tendency to freeze, stymied by the expectations created by his success.

Rochelle Ballantyne: 13-year-old  who broke the gender line of what had been an all-boys chess club, has the potential to become the first African-American female master in the history of chess. She is the first-ranked player in the school.

Pobo Efekoro: 12-year-old big, boisterous, warm-hearted leader of the team. When the school’s budget for after school programs is cut, he runs for school president with the goal of mobilizing a student protest to get the cuts restored.

Alexis Paredes’: 12-year-old who approaches chess in a meditative and thoughtful way. The second-ranked player at I.S. 318, he sees chess as a way to an education and a lucrative career that will allow him to support his Paraguayan immigrant family.

Patrick Johnston: 11-year-old sensitive beginner who wants to raise his ranking to middle level. He has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and has taken to chess to develop concentration and patience.

Check Out The Trailer:

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