CHESSFEST drives word-of-mouth and moviegoers to Brooklyn Castle

It was clear when we first began working on Brooklyn Castle that we had a special film on our hands— one with a powerful and important message that needed to be seen by every parent, teacher and student who cared about the future of our nation’s education system. The film was a critic and audience favorite, with a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, Oscar buzz, and an online community of passionate fans committed to the cause. But we needed to push the discussion a step further— we needed to bring the amazing online energy and word-of-mouth offline and into the theaters.

BOND created CHESSFEST, a one-of-a-kind family event to celebrate the film’s opening weekend and convert this online buzz to ticket sales. Prior to the event, BOND secured coverage on top NYC event sites, mom blogs, chess forums and education groups, solidifying the interest of fans from key target communities like the Marshall Chess Club, Chess NYC, and others. The event also allowed BOND to expand the film’s audience beyond these core targets, drawing crowds of passers-by on the street who suddenly found themselves not only aware of, but emotionally invested in the story of five inner-city middle school chess players who had become national champions.

At the event, attendees got to learn chess tricks from Grandmasters, win pop-culture themed chess sets, draw on life-size Brooklyn Castles, and more. But most important of all, attendees got to meet the inspirational men and women behind the film; from the filmmakers to the student chess champions themselves. These unique experiences generated content for social media and encouraged further word-of-mouth. CHESSFEST brought the spirit of Brooklyn Castle to life and drew attendees to see the film at the theater next door, showing just how powerful connecting with an audience on a personal, human level can be.

We at BOND are pleased to watch the word-of-mouth for this wonderful film blossom as it expands to more cities in the upcoming weeks.

For more information about this project, please email

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