|Tonight on TDS, Katie Dellamaggiore & Pobo Efekoro, Brooklyn Castle; and on TCR, Rachel Maddow.|
|Jon's got director Katie Dellamaggiore and Oghenakpobo “Pobo” Efekoro, one of the kids featured in her documentary, Brooklyn Castle:
Brooklyn Castle is the remarkable and improbable true story of I.S. 318 in Brooklyn. The school, where 65% of students live below the federal poverty level, has the highest ranked junior high chess team in the nation. The heart of the film is the engaging young students who populate the team: Rochelle, who has the goal of becoming the first female African-American chess master; Pobo, the team's charismatic leader; Justus, an entering student who must manage the high expectations that come with achieving master status at an early age; Alexis, who feels the pressure of his immigrant parents' desire for him to realize the American dream; Patrick, who uses chess to help overcome his ADHD; and James, the young rapping maestro and budding chess talent; among several others.The 37 reviews at RottenTomatoes have it at 97%. Here's the start of the NYTimes review:
The child chess champions in the irresistible documentary “Brooklyn Castle” don’t take long, as one of these sweetpeas likes to say, to crush you. Year after year, these big brains and little bodies at Intermediate School 318 in Williamsburg win chess tournaments, and their winning streak continues on screen. They are a remarkable, funny, inspiring, at times devastating group. Through the eyes of the director Katie Dellamaggiore, you come to know these children, their teachers and parents as you witness their pulse-quickening matches and tears splashed on the family dining-room table. There’s smiling uplift here, but the road is seldom easy and sometimes brutal.
Found a couple other links worth looking at, including Pobo's Change.org petition (started 8 months ago):
My name is Oghenakpobo Efekoro, but most people call me Pobo. I am a 15-year-old sophomore at Forest Hills High School, but I’m better known for being an alumnus of Brooklyn, New York’s I.S.318, which has the best junior high school chess program in the United States. It was an honor and a privilege to be a member of that team for the three years I was a student at 318. We won some championships and worked hard to be the best. But even as we racked up titles year after year and filled showcases with first place trophies, it became increasingly hard for 318 to send us to nationals. The team grew used to hearing a reoccurring term – “budget cuts” – and we quickly learned that they could keep us from competing outside the city and state. It wasn’t long before that phrase – “budget cuts,” the most dreadful and repeated words I heard in my last two years at 318 – would catch up to us...Looking through all this stuff, I'm torn between being impressed and "aw, aren't young activists sweet?"
Anyway, it should be a nice way to end out the week.
(Note: Whenever reading reviews from the NYTimes (particularly Janet Maslin, remember this.)