ALGORITHMS Hits Theaters in Los Angeles Today
First Run Features presents The Blind Chess Players of India in ALGORITHMS. The movie hits theaters in Los Angeles today, October 17 and opens in New York City on October 24, 2014.
In India, a group of boys dream of becoming Chess Grandmasters. But this is no ordinary chess and these are no ordinary players. Algorithms is a documentary that transports us into the little known world of Blind Chess.
Chess is an ancient and Universal game with origins in India. Filmed over three years in different parts of India, Algorithms follows three boys and an adult champion who not only aspires to bring global recognition to India's blind chess players, but also wants to encourage all blind children to play chess.
The filmmakers travel with THE PLAYERS to competitive tournaments, including the World Junior Blind Chess Championship. They also film them in their home milieu where they reveal their struggles, anxieties and hopes. Moving through the algorithms of the blind chess world, the film is a tactile and mindful journey that challenges the notion of what it means to "see."
Filmmaker Biography: Ian McDonald is a sociologist and documentary filmmaker developing a centre for Film Practice at Newcastle University. Having always used the camera to support his research on sport and physical culture in UK and India, Ian's move to documentary filmmaking, benefits from a seemingly effortless 'way of seeing' that has resulted in documentaries with a difference on art and sport, especially of the 'sporting outsider' - the one who is seen as 'different' by a 'normal' society. His documentaries have been screened at film festivals, conferences and campaign meetings around the world. Algorithms is Ian's debut feature documentary.
Filmmaker's Statement: "Chess is an ancient and Universal game with origins in India. When Geetha and I began this project in India in 2008, we knew what we were encountering was unknown, complex and beautiful. Then began a journey that challenged our perception of ability and disability, of sight and vision. The paradox of using a visual medium to image those without sight that weighed heavily on us lessened with the complete trust we gained by being with the community through the years. Four years later and with over 240 hours of footage, we began to compose the first ever feature documentary on Blind Chess.
"Initially, my concern was to capture this mind game as a game of equality for the blind and a metaphor for life. Chess demands patience and foresight that go with being blind. Four moves in, it puts the sighted on par with the blind. Blindness that emerged as 'difference, not lack' then went beyond to actually critique our ocular-centric world. Also, with one constant focus on the truth of the lives of the blind chess players, the slant shifted from the sociological to the philosophical.