Brooklyn Castle tells the stories of five members of the chess team at a below-the-poverty-line junior high school that has won more national championships than any other in the country. The film follows the challenges these kids face in their personal lives as well as on the chessboard and shows how their dedication to chess magnifies their belief in what is possible for their lives. After all, if they can master the world’s most difficult game, what can’t they do?
ABOUT THE DIRECTOR
Katie Dellamaggiore previously directed and shot UR Life Online, an educational film on A&E about cyberbullying that was nominated for an Emmy® for Single Camera Editing. Katie has also worked on the award-winning documentaries 39 Pounds of Love, To Die in Jerusalem, 51 Birch Street, and American Teen and the MTV docu-series True Life, MADE, and 16 and Pregnant.
Brooklyn Castle was broadcast on P.O.V. and included in PBS’s American Graduate program. There have been 50 high impact screenings, 30 film festival screenings and 50 theatrical release markets to date, with a wide digital release on iTunes, Netflix, Amazon, and Movies on Demand. The film was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for Best Documentary, and won a SXSW Audience Award, a Christopher Award, and a Newport Beach Film Festival Audience Award; it was named a Top 10 Audience Favorite at Hot Docs. Brooklyn Castle garnered significant press attention, including from NPR’s All Things Considered, NBC’s Today Show, MSNBC, CNN, FOX, The Steve Harvey Show and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. International outreach screenings have reached as far as Israel, Turkey, and Armenia with the American Films Showcase, hosted by the U.S. State Department. The film is currently being adapted into a scripted feature by Scott Rudin Productions and Sony Pictures.
Private Violence explores a simple but deeply disturbing fact of American life: The most dangerous place for a woman in America is her own home. Every day in the U.S., at least four women are murdered by abusive (often, ex-) partners. The knee-jerk response is to ask,“Why doesn’t she just leave?” Private Violence shatters the brutality of this logic. Through the eyes of two survivors, we bear witness to the complicated and complex realities of intimate partner violence.
About the Director
Cynthia Hill crafts documentaries that take a complex approach to critical contemporary issues, creating story-driven and visually rich films. The subjects of her work range from tobacco farming to Latino migrant labor and Southern foodways, and challenge dominant narratives about the rural South. Cynthia’s films lay bare the assumptions behind the systems that drive people’s everyday lives. Producer/director credits include Tobacco Money Feeds My Family, The Guestworker, February One, and the Peabody-award winning A Chef’s Life. Cynthia is the co-founder of the Southern Documentary Fund, a nonprofit organization established to support place-based storytelling.
Private Violence premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, where we were able to change the conversation around a “murder-suicide” that took place during the festival. Our engagement helped the community and media in Salt Lake City to understand this “murder-suicide” as a case of domestic violence. We were the recipient of the True/Life Fund at the True/False Film Festival. Other awards include the Full Frame Festival’s Human Rights Award, The Dallas International Film Festival’s Silver Heart Award, the Candescent Award, and the Women in Film Award. We are honored to be the opening night film at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival in NYC. At every screening, we reach out the domestic violence prevention and first responder communities as part of our multimedia engagement campaign, which is centered around changing our cultural response to domestic violence.
In Uganda, a new bill threatens to make homosexuality punishable by death. David Kato, Uganda’s first openly gay man, and retired Anglican Bishop Christopher Senyonjo, work against the clock to defeat state-sanctioned homophobia while combatting vicious persecution in their daily lives. But no one is prepared for the brutal murder that shakes their movement to its core and sends shock waves around the world.
About the Directors
Call Me Kuchu is co-directed by Malika Zouhali-Worrall and Katherine Fairfax Wright.
Malika Zouhali-Worrall is a British/Moroccan filmmaker. Her journalism work has been published in The Financial Times, and she has reported for CNN.com from India, Uganda, and China. Malika holds an MA from the Paris Institute of Political Studies, and she is a graduate of Cambridge University. Malika is a Roger Ebert Directing Fellow and an alumnus of the Film Independent Documentary Lab and the Garrett Scott Documentary Grant. In 2012, Filmmaker Magazine named Malika one of 25 New Faces of Independent Film. She is currently finishing production with co-director David Osit on her next documentary, Thank You For Playing.
Katherine Fairfax Wright graduated from Columbia University with a double major in Film Studies and Anthropology. She produced Malik Vitthal’s Watts-set gangster drama Imperial Dreams (Sundance, 2014), Gabi on the Roof in July (2010), associate produced the award-winning documentary Lumo, and has worked in a producing role on several other films. She is also an award-winning photographer. Katherine is a Chaz & Roger Ebert Directing Fellow, and an alumnus of the Film Independent Documentary Lab, the Garrett Scott Documentary Grant, and the Film Independent Producing Lab. In 2012, Filmmaker Magazine named Katherine one of the 25 New Faces of Independent Film.
Since the 2012 world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival, Call Me Kuchu has played 200+ festivals, won 20 awards, and been translated into eight languages. The film was theatrically released in four countries, and distributed on DVD/iTunes. Ugandan activists have participated in 29 Q&As in the US, Europe, Africa and Russia, and been interviewed by the BBC, CNN, NPR, among others. The film was screened by the U.S. State Department at The World AIDS Conference, and shown for the British Parliament and the High Commissioners of Commonwealth Countries. Call Me Kuchu has screened across Africa, and was featured as the opening event for the first ever Uganda Pride in 2012. After viewing the film, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon publicly stated: “The hardest work is done by local activists like those you will see in this film. I am proud to join in this great human rights cause.”
After his nine-year-old daughter died of leukemia, Marine Corps drill instructor Jerry Ensminger wanted to know why. His search for answers uncovers one of the largest water contamination incidents in American History.
About the Director
Semper Fi: Always Faithful is co-directed by Rachel Libert and Tony Hardmon.
Rachel Libert is a New York-based producer / director. Her work includes the Oscar-shortlisted and Emmy-nominated film Semper Fi: Always Faithful, which tells the story of the water contamination at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, and the award-winning television series Boomtown, which examined the impact of an oil boom on a small North Dakota town. Her critically-acclaimed documentary Beyond Conviction was broadcast as a primetime special on MSNBC and featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show and the Today Show. She is the recipient of the 2012 Ridenhour Documentary Prize and a Sundance Institute Documentary Fellow.
Tony Hardmon is the co-director of the Oscar-shortlisted and Emmy-nominated documentary Semper Fi: Always Faithful, which tells the story of the water contamination at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and chronicles the work of Master Sgt. Jerry Ensminger. Tony is also a veteran cinematographer who has worked on numerous projects for television and theatrical release. His credits include Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady’s Boys of Baraka and Detropia, Stacey Peralta’s Made in America, and Liz Garbus’ The Execution of Wanda Jean. He is the recipient of the 2012 Ridenhour Documentary Prize and a Sundance Institute Documentary Fellow.
In the summer of 2011, the filmmakers screened Semper Fi: Always Faithful on Capitol Hill. This screening was hosted by a bi-partisan group of Congressmen and Senators. In February 2012, the film aired as a primetime special on MSNBC. On August 6, 2012, President Obama signed the Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act which provides health care to veterans and their families made ill from the contaminated drinking water. Film subjects Jerry Ensminger and Mike Partain and directors Rachel Libert and Tony Hardmon were at the intimate Oval Office signing ceremony. Awards and Honors: Emmy® Nomination, Shortlist for Best Documentary, Academy Awards®, The Ridenhour Documentary Film Prize, Best Editing, Tribeca Film Festival, Best Documentary Woodstock Film Festival, Gracie Award. The film is available digitally on iTunes, Amazon, and NetFlix and DVDs are available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.