SXSW: Crowd-Pleasing Documentary Brooklyn Castle To Be Remade By Sony

“Crowd Pleaser” isn’t an official award at the South By Southwest film festival, which might be a good thing because picking a favorite this year would be damn near impossible. After its recent premiere, I’m sure 21 Jump Street would earn votes. So would Cabin in the Woods, which kicked off this year’s fest with a bang. And don't forget The Raid. But those are titles you already knew. Here’s one you haven’t heard of yet but will soon.

Brooklyn Castle is the movie this year that is brought up in conversation and recommended the most (at least, in my limited experience). The winning documentary, directed by Katie Dellamaggiore, follows students at a cash-strapped public school who compete through the facility’s chess club. Their accomplishments have elevated the school’s stature, though the school’s future is currently being threatened by budget cuts.

If you think it sounds like the beginning of a riveting drama, you’re not alone. Uber-producer Scott Rudin (The Social Network, No Country for Old Men) grabbed remake rights to the story for Sony, according to Deadline, and would like to tell the kids’ remarkable tale using actors.

Rudin, of course, produced the chess-themed Searching for Bobby Fischer back in 1993, which Steve Zaillian wrote and directed. The site notes that Cinetic Media, which closed the deal with Rudin, also is shopping for distribution. Wouldn’t it make sense for Sony to grab it, and maybe distribute it wide under Sony Pictures Classics? It’s an amazing doc, and one that’s generating great buzz at SXSW. After a recent screening, kids from Brooklyn Castle set up chess boards on the streets of Austin and challenged local chess whizzes to competitions. Castle needs to be seen before Rudin translates it to narration. Wouldn’t you want to see the actual film first, and not someone else's interpretation? Let us know.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. He's frequently found on Twitter at @Sean_OConnell. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.