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Saturday, December 13, 2014

Super-Cool Maurice Ashley Chess Documentary Project: You can Help make it Happen!

Hello chess blog friends, this Chess Blog post is about a special chess star - Maurice Ashley. Award-winning director/producer Jeffrey Plunkett and his talented team has completed the first part of the documentary 'Pushing Wood'. 

PUSHING WOOD - a feature documentary

Director/producer Jeffrey Plunkett says, "If you've watched our intro video, you know we've already shot the first part of the story but we need your help to keep this project rolling... We're hoping to raise $50,000 so that we can finish shooting. That would include going to Brooklyn to explore Maurice's formative years (his daughter Nia has already told us some great stories) and following him on his roadshow of pitch meetings in the run-up to his second Vegas event. 
"In addition, we're hoping to continue shooting with some of the great folks we met in Vegas: Wesley, Timur, Alejandro, as well as some of the commentators. I also want to shoot at the US Championships this spring which will be held -- where else??? -- in my chess-loving hometown of St. Louis, Missouri.
"The money we raise will help cover other production costs, too (expensive ones) like licensing archival film from the Fischer-Spassky showdown in '72. We're trying to keep the budget tight, but filmmaking ain't cheap, especially when we're committed to keeping the production values high." Jeff is supported by a highly qualified and talented team which includes Andrew McAllister as producer/editor and Michael Lockridge as director of photography.  It is indeed a super-cool chess documentary project and you can help make it succeed.

Chess changed his life. Now he's changing chess.

Maurice's passion for chess is personal. He remembers growing up in Kingston, Jamaica, and being embarrassed to go to school because his family didn't have enough money to buy him shoes. At 12, he moved to Brooklyn with his mother, and fell in love with chess soon after. It transformed his life. Against the odds, he became the game's first black grandmaster. He went on to play professionally, traveling to tournaments around the world. He became one of the sport's best-known commentators and promoters. He's written books and given lectures. He's taught in New York, in the jungles of Belize, in the townships of Cape Town, South Africa. He's become a Joint Fellow at Harvard's Berkman Center and MIT's Media Lab exploring ways that technology can spread chess education. He knows that chess can be a vehicle for change. But with so little money in the game, there are few opportunities for kids to pursue careers in chess. He wants to change that.

Front and center in Pushing Wood is today's culture of competitive chess, a culture unlike any other in sports, one that demands endless preparation, induces endless psychological stress, and pays very little. In Vegas, we explore what a life in chess is like with grandmasters Cristian Chirila, Alejandro Ramirez, Wesley So, and Timur Gareev. 

Contribute now for the project on Indiegogo.

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