The chess team at Williamsburg’s I.S. 318, a Title 1 middle school, is among the best in the nation. Unfortunately, it’s been plagued by a lack of funding. Time after time, city budget cuts have threatened to shutter the program, and time after time, it has emerged to continued success. Brooklyn Castle, a new documentary, follows the team in the wake of one of those cuts. The documentary’s trailer showcases a charming group of I.S. 318 students, including Justus Williams, the youngest-ever African-American chess master.
“The more time I spent there, the more I was convinced there was a bigger story to be told,” director Katie Dellamaggiore told CNN. “Not just the success of the team, but the kids and their lives and the impact of the program on their lives.”
The school has continued to suffer cuts in funding since the production of the film. This spring, Mayor Bloomberg proposed a budget that would have eliminated the chess program. After protests from the community, funding was restored.
“I teach the kids that for every problem on the chessboard, you have to find a solution,” Dellamaggiore recalls I.S. 318 chess coach John Galvin saying. “It would be horrible for me to have this problem with these budget cuts and not make it work.”
(Photo: Norwood News)