Interview With The Druid Kings Director Emil Horowitz
Those who follow ChessCenter know that Chess.com vice president IM Danny Rensch recently sat down with the actor Orlando Jones to discuss his love for chess and his work on the "The Druid Kings," a documentary film chronicling the lives of "chess hustlers" in Washington Square Park.
To follow up, Chess.com also conducted a written interview with the Druid Kings director, Emil Horowitz. See what the lifelong fan of chess turned-movie director had to say about his project, the game of chess in general, and he and Orlando's plans for the future.
Visit www.thedruidkings.com now to sign up for updates on the project!
When did you and Orlando first decide to work on a project about chess together?
I've been friends with Orlando for many years. We've always discussed and played around with the idea of collaborating on projects together, yet nothing ever came to fruition until we began to discuss chess and its parallel to life. I was born and raised in the West Village, around the corner from Washington Square Park. Throughout my childhood I would pass by the chess tables there, often stopping to catch a glimpse of a match. When I was younger I played after-school chess as well as numerous tournaments. I loved how the game exercised my brain on so many levels.
To this day I've been fascinated about the lives of the chess players that inhabit the park and curious with what drew them to the game of chess. I also wanted to learn about each individual player's hustle.
When did Orlando first contact you about this project?
I actually approached him! Once I shared my story with Orlando, he completely agreed with me and shared the same sentiment about the game. We did a ton of research together on the history of chess and how Washington Square played a part in it. He saw the parallel between his love of basketball and the love the players have for chess. We were also both intrigued by the amount of minorities that play at the park in relation to the demographic one typically associates with chess.
Why did you interview so many different types of players from the park?
After we shot the interviews with the players in the park, I began to realize how important chess was to each of them and how it affected them on a deeper level. Chess was more than just a game to these players; it helped them grow as men. The opportunity to listen to their stories left me with a thirst to learn more and I truly look forward to telling other players' stories in the near future.
What are your feelings about the project now that you're done, and what are the future plans?
After filming with The Druid Kings I like to think of chess as more than just a game. In this day and age where so many children don't enjoy reading and gravitate to video games, chess is more important than ever. I believe that there are many parallels that we can teach our youth between chess and day-to-day life. Things like strategy, patience and looking at the bigger picture are just some of the lessons that can be taught.
I want The Druid Kings to open doors to all walks of life, but especially with our youth who might have never heard of chess or didn't think it was relatable to them.
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