In June while in Los Angeles for The BFG Press Event, I had the opportunity to be among the first to pre-screen Disney’s QUEEN OF KATWE which hits theaters September 30, 2016. Since it was June I was really surprised that the movie was ready for viewing and I was really excited that I was one of the first people to see it. This early screening also meant that there wasn’t a great deal of information that had been released about the film, and I had not read the book, so I walked in somewhat unaware of what to expect.
As the movie began, my first thoughts were that there was no way I would be able to identify with the movie or its characters. I remember thinking … oh boy, this is going to be a long two hours and then we started getting into the storyline. I left the theater wiping away tears. That evening I spent time Googling additional information about the true story events that inspired the film. Needless to say, I’m excited for next month and the opportunity to share this amazing story with my family and friends.
QUEEN OF KATWE reminds us to DREAM, to PERSEVERE, and to remember … “Sometimes the place you are used to is not the place you belong. You belong where you believe you belong.”
Today we share with you photos released by Disney showing Phiona Mutesi and her coach Robert Katende with the mirror images of the actors who play them on screen, Madina Nalwanga and David Oyelowo in the new movie QUEEN OF KATWE. The film also stars Lupita Nyong’o and is directed by Mira Nair.
QUEEN OF KATWE is based on the vibrant true story of Phiona Mutesi, a young girl from the streets of rural Uganda who is introduced to the game of chess by Robert Katende, a former missionary and soccer coach, and goes on to become an international chess champion.
Now, a little inspiration behind the inspiration to get your family inspired for the film. We’ll see you at the movie on September 30, 2016!
Robert Katende was a recent college graduate and soccer coach for Sports Outreach Ministry who ran a chess program for impoverished children in the slums of Kampala when he first met Phiona Mutesi. As Phiona’s coach, mentor and father figure, Katende was instrumental in helping her pursue her dreams and become the champion she was destined to be. Today he is married with three children and houses several of his chess students while simultaneously serving as the director of Sports Outreach in Kampala and running 300 chess programs throughout Uganda.
QUEEN OF KATWE opens in theaters September 30, 2016!
“Dream” TV Spot
YouTube Link: https://youtu.be/KSXIkGu11jQ
“Queen of Katwe” is the colorful true story of a young girl selling corn on 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 (“Monsoon Wedding”) from a screenplay by William Wheeler (“The Hoax”) based on the book by Tim Crothers, “Queen of Katwe” is produced by Lydia Dean Pilcher (“The Darjeeling Limited”) and John Carls (“Where the Wild Things Are”) with Will Weiske and Troy Buder serving as executive producers. The film stars Golden Globe® nominee David Oyelowo (“Selma”), Oscar® winner and Tony Award® nominee Lupita Nyong’o (“12 Years a Slave”) 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. Disney’s “Queen of Katwe” will open in U.S. theaters on September 23, 2016.
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QUEEN OF KATWE opens in theaters in limited release on September 23rd and everywhere on September 30th!
*I was sent on an all expenses paid trip to LA courtesy of Disney. All opinions are my own. Photos and video courtesy of Walt Disney Studios.