Chess Movie is an in-the-works feature documentary that goes inside the best junior high chess team in the nation, I.S. 318 from Brooklyn, New York.
Thanks to all of our generous donors who have helped us reach our initial goal of $4,000. YOU GUYS ARE AMAZING. This $4k will cover the cost of travel and equipment rental for 2 big upcoming shoots, The New York State Scholastic Championships in Saratoga and the USCF Junior High Nationals in Minnesota. Now that we have these 2 shoots covered we can set our sights on raising even more money to finish this movie. Thanks for checking out our project and please consider being a backer.
WHY THIS STORY?
In 2007, we came across an article in the New York Times about a super-talented chess player from Edward R. Murrow high school in Midwood, Brooklyn -- the neighborhood where we grew up. For obvious reasons, we were immediately intrigued by the story. A little research revealed that the article was inspired by The Kings of New York, a fascinating book by Michael Weinreb that follows the Murrow chess team for one year. We contacted Michael to find out more, and over coffee, he spoke highly of I.S. 318, a feeder junior high school to Murrow (which he also covers in a chapter of his book). He encouraged us to get in touch with coaches John Galvin and Elizabeth Vicary, who had left a lasting impression on him.
Since I.S. 318 was just minutes from our apartment, we headed there one morning before work to meet the team and take some Polaroids . What we found was a school full of genuinely happy kids and a staff that was immensely proud of their students. It was written, literally, all over their walls. That was May 2007 and now here we are -- with something very special, we believe.
HOW FAR ALONG ARE WE?
In April 2009 we embarked on our first big trip with the team to Nashville, Tennessee, to the United States Chess Federation Super Nationals. This event is held every four years and more than 5,000 kids compete from every age group. Once we saw how BIG this scholastic chess world was, we were hooked. We embedded ourselves with the team-- at home, at school and away at tournaments -- and slowly, the kids' individual stories began to take shape. Then, in an unexpected twist, the school suffered a huge budget cut and the chess team's livelihood was threatened. The crumbling economy was affecting the lives of children in an unexpected way. Was it possible the best chess team in the nation might not have the money to compete for this year's title? Not something we were expecting, but an important part of the story to tell. After all, for these kids, chess is a lot more than just a board game. And we want the opportunity to show you why.
OK, THAT WAS THE HARD SELL; HERE COMES THE ASK
We've shot hundreds of hours of footage on an out-of-pocket budget, calling in all the favors we have to get us this far. We plan to shoot for another nine months, until the start of the next school year, and there are some big events coming up. The team is competing in the New York State Championships this February in Saratoga, New York, and hopefully, the National Junior High Championships in Minnesota. These shoots are the most costly for us between airfare, hotel and special equipment rental. On our last trip to Dallas with the team, we spent roughly $3,000. Although minuscule for similar works with a budget, it's not an easy cost to keep swallowing when you're financing a film independently. That's where we need your help. We want to raise
$4,000 to help cover the cost of these upcoming shoots. Your support not only offsets the cost of travel, lodging and equipment rentals, but also helps us, as independent artists, to keep doing our thing and not pack it in. Because this story is happening right now, we can't put off documenting it. We hope that you understand the timely nature of this project and that you'll support us with an open heart, an open mind and, well, an open wallet.
Hopefully, this is just the first of many projects related to making this film. It’s our ultimate goal to secure a national television broadcast for our Chess Movie and maybe even a small theatrical release. We also plan to build a strong community outreach campaign in the hopes the film will help build support for after school programs in under served communities as we have witnessed firsthand the profound effect the I.S. 318 chess program has had on its students.
As you can see by some of the rewards, we've already had the generous
help of some incredible organizations. We see this as a symbol of
their firm belief in this project and thank them for their donation of
memberships and books. Please visit their sites, below:
We also want to give a special thanks to the Marshall Chess Club in New York City. The top 318 players spend much of their time playing in tournaments at this world famous club and we are truely grateful for the
access they have granted us.
Please visit their site:
You can follow the I.S. 318 chess team at their blog:
Follow us on twitter too
In no way are any of the music artists affiliated with this
fundraising trailer. Please don't sue us! Oh -- and Jay-Z went to this
school, so hopefully he'll give us a pass.