While on my trip to LA, I had the chance to view an advanced screening of Disney’s “Queen of Katwe”. The awe-inspiring true story of perseverance, dedication and over-coming many of life’s challenging obstacles. Young Phiona is a young girl who has grown up in an impoverished area of Uganda and is one of several children to a single mother.
I loved the meaningful story behind young Phiona and her family. While trying to grow in a severely poor community, Phiona, who does not have much schooling, finds that she has a natural gift for learning and ultimately mastering the game of chess. Under the direction of a local missionary, Robert Katende.
As a single mother myself, I really connected with Harriet, Phiona’s mother, in trying to raise my family in otherwise tough situations and financial hardships. My daughter, Hannah, also struggled in school and found a haven joining the chess club in elementary school. Today, it is one of her favorite games.
Harriet’s independence and determination is admirable and touching. I love how she wants her children to grow and become successful and not become a statistic in their impoverished community. Through discipline, respect and love, she succeeds.
“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.
Here is the new sneak peek of Queen of Katwe for your viewing pleasure
Disney’s “Queen of Katwe” will open in U.S. theaters on September 23, 2016. Be sure to stay connected socially for all of the latest movie news and release info