Disney’s The Queen of Katwe is a truly inspiring story based on the life of Phiona Mutesi and her coach Robert Katende. When I was in LA for Disney’s THE BFG event, I was able to screen The Queen of Katwe, and I was blown away by how good it it. The movie is emotionally intense and pulls at your heart strings, bringing you into a world that is vastly different from where we live. With real life struggles of just trying to find food and shelter, a 10-year old girl develops a love for the game of chess and a strong friendship with a man who will become her coach. The role her mother plays and how it leads us on this amazing journey will virtually have you enchanted until the very last second. Have your tissues handy – it is a beautiful movie full of emotion and trials with an amazing outcome that will have you silently cheering in your seats (fist pump and all) as you watch. Take your whole family and enjoy this movie as it opens your hearts and minds to what is possible if we only just believe and dedicate ourselves.
“Queen of Katwe” is based on the vibrant true story of a young girl from the streets of rural Uganda whose world rapidly changes when she is introduced to the game of chess, and, as a result of the support she receives from her family and community, is instilled with the confidence and determination she needs to pursue her dream of becoming an international chess champion. Directed by Mira Nair from a screenplay by William Wheeler, “Queen of Katwe” is produced by Lydia Dean Pilcher, p.g.a. and John Carls, p.g.a. with Will Weiske and Troy Buder serving as executive producers. The film stars Golden Globe® nominee David Oyelowo, Oscar® winner and Tony Award® nominee Lupita Nyong’o and newcomer Madina Nalwanga.
For 10-year-old Phiona Mutesi (Nalwanga) and her family, life in the impoverished slum of Katwe in Kampala, Uganda, is a constant struggle. Her mother, Harriet (Nyong’o), is fiercely determined to take care of her family and works tirelessly selling vegetables in the market to make sure her children are fed and have a roof over their heads. When Phiona meets Robert Katende (Oyelowo), a soccer player turned missionary who teaches local children chess, she is captivated. Chess requires a good deal of concentration, strategic thinking and risk taking, all skills which are applicable in everyday life, and Katende hopes to empower youth with the game. Phiona is impressed by the intelligence and wit the game requires and immediately shows potential. Recognizing Phiona’s natural aptitude for chess and the fighting spirit she’s inherited from her mother, Katende begins to mentor her, but Harriet is reluctant to provide any encouragement, not wanting to see her daughter disappointed. As Phiona begins to succeed in local chess competitions, Katende teaches her to read and write in order to pursue schooling. She quickly advances through the ranks in tournaments, but breaks away from her family to focus on her own life. Her mother eventually realizes that Phiona has a chance to excel and teams up with Katende to help her fulfill her extraordinary potential, escape a life of poverty and save her family.
Watch the “Dream” TV Spot of Disney’s Queen of Katwe
Disney’s “Queen of Katwe” will open in U.S. theaters on September 23, 2016
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