Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking

It’s 1998 in Miami. Rampant poverty, broken families, and a prejudiced system push underprivileged youth to the fringes of society. But for a magnetic group of teens, there’s a reprieve. A game where it’s not about where you come from, but how you play. That equalizer is chess. Mr. “T” Martinez, a chess militant and passionate coach, leads them to a completely foreign field of battle: the National Chess Championship. With an underfunded school district, Martinez and his team can’t just waltz into the arena. They have to fight for it. Chess runs parallel to their own experiences as Martinez teaches them that the power of Critical Thinking can not only save their kings, but also their lives.

Programming descriptions are generated by participants and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of SXSW.


John Leguizamo




Director: John Leguizamo
Executive Producer: Carla Berkowitz, Harvey R. Chaplin, Emilio Estefan, Jr.
Producer: Scott Rosenfelt, Jason Mandl
Screenwriter: Dito Montiel
Cinematographer: Zach Zamboni
Editor: Jamie Kirkpatrick
Production Designer: J. Mark Harrington
Sound Designer: Andrea Bella
Music: Chris Hajian
Principal Cast: John Leguizamo, Michael Kenneth Williams, Rachel Bay Jones, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Angel Bismark Curiel, Will Hochman, Corwin Tuggles, Jeffry Batista, Zora Casebere, Ramses Jimenez
Additional Credits: Music Supervisor: Mathieu Schreyer, Costume Designer: Danny Santiago


Public Film Contact
Carla Berkowitz
Critical Thinking, LLC
Publicity Contact
Hilda Somarriba
Sales Agent
Mikey Schwartz-Wright
Primary Entry: Platinum Badge, Film Badge
Secondary Entry: Music Badge, Interactive Badge, Film Festival Wristband

Year: 2019
Premiere Status: World Premiere
Genre: Biography, Comedy, Drama, Family, Sports
Screening Section: Narrative Spotlight
Screening Category: Narrative Feature
Country: United States
Language: English
Runtime: 117 mins