The idea behind PBS’s Indie Showcase is to spotlight the work of independent filmmakers, offering viewers year-round access to the diversity of voices and unique perspectives these films provide. Debuting this fall with last week’s premiere of Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey, the program pairs up new documentaries on Independent Lens with those on our sister series, POV. The next film in the series airs tonight (Oct. 7) at 10 p.m. (check local listings): Brooklyn Castle [trailer], the acclaimed documentary from Katie Dellamaggiore that profiles a public-school powerhouse in junior high chess competitions that has won more than 30 national championships, the most of any school in the country. Its 85-member squad boasts so many strong players that the late Albert Einstein, a dedicated chess maven, would rank fourth if he were on the team. Most astoundingly, I.S. 318 is a Brooklyn school that serves mostly minority students from families living below the poverty line.
That film will be followed on October 14 by Michael Apted’s latest installment in his long-running “Up” series, 56 Up, of which critic Peter Rainer wrote, “What gives the series its force is not just its universality but also its particularity. These grown-ups may be Everyman, but they are also singular.” Then on October 21, PBS will air the Independent Lens documentary The Waiting Room by Peter Nicks, an intimate, and quite timely, look at a diverse group of patients waiting for medical care at a busy hospital emergency room (“human drama at its most intense and universal,” wrote Mick LaSalle in the SF Chronicle).
Also: Tomorrow, Tuesday, October 8, there will be a special online screening of Brooklyn Castle, via OVEE, with a cornucopia of fantastic panelists, including director Dellamaggiore, plus students and teachers featured in the film, and more. Read more about this event on the POV blog, and RSVP on Facebook.