I need you to mark your calendars for September 23rd! This is the day Queen of Katwe hits theaters and you need to go see it! I am going to admit here and now that I cried when this movie ended! Seriously crocodile tears that I couldn’t hide when the lights came on.
We had the chance to see the Queen of Katwe during the BFG event a while ago. It has been sooooooo hard not talking about this movie. Today I finally get to share some of the real life inspiration behind the Queen of Katwe.
This story will touch your heart, make you dream and inspire you! I promise!
Disney’s “Queen of Katwe” is based on the vibrant true story of Phiona Mutesi, a young girl from the streets of Kampala, Uganda whose world rapidly changes when she is introduced to the game of chess by soccer coach and former missionary Robert Katende, 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® nominee Lupita Nyong’o and newcomer Madina Nalwanga. Phiona’s story is a powerful testament to the strength of the human spirit, and it all began when she came across Robert’s chess program in a makeshift Agape Church in Katwe. Two years later she became Uganda’s junior chess champion and eventually, the national champion. Then in 2012 at the age of 16 at her second Olympiad, she became a Woman Candidate Master, the first step towards Grand Master. Earlier this year Phiona graduated from St. Mbuga Vocational Secondary School. She is now applying to college and hopes to become a doctor or lawyer. We’d like to share with you some of the images from her incredible journey to becoming a world-class chess player. We’ve included these photos (which come from the personal archives of Robert Katende) along with some images of the two actors, Madina Nalwanga and David Oyelowo, who play Phiona and Robert on screen
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.
David Oyelowo as Robert Katende and Madina Nalwanga as Phiona Mutesi in Disney’s Queen of Katwe
This movie shows how important dreams are but also how scary dreams can be. The movie shows the challenges faced by Phiona and her family as she learns to play chess and starts to compete.
One of the things I love about this movie is it was filmed not far from where the original events happened. You are truly brought to Uganda in this film and see what day to day life is like.
Please mark your calendars to see this inpsiring movie that will tug at your heart strings and push you to reach for big goals!
QUEEN OF KATWE opens in theaters in limited release on September 23rd and everywhere on September 30th!
OFFICIAL BOILERPLATE: “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. Disney’s “Queen of Katwe” will open in U.S. theaters on September 23, 2016.
Thank you to Disney for sponsoring my attendance at #TheBFGEvent