Disney Releases Powerful Queen of Katwe Featurette

Walt Disney Pictures has revealed a new Queen of Katwe featurette, which tracks the true story of an inspiring chess champion, the 10-year old Phiona Mutesi (newcomer Madina Nalwanga) from the slums of Katwe, in Kampala, Uganda. Co-starring Golden Globe nominee David Oyelowo (Selma, Interstellar), and Oscar winner and Tony Award nominee Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave, Star Wars: The Force Awakens), Queen of Katwe looks like a checkmate.

Living in Katwe is a constant struggle for Phiona and her mother, Harriet (Nyong’o). Luckily Harriet's will is made of strong stuff, and she does whatever she must, like selling vegetables in the market, to make sure her children are fed, clothed, and have someplace to sleep. Phiona meets Robert Katende (Oyelowo), a former soccer player turned missionary who teaches local kids how to play chess. She's immediately taken to the complex, ancient game, which requires skills that will be useful for Phiona in her normal life in Katwe. 

And Phiona has a natural ability; she's tough, smart, and focused. But Harriet worries Phiona will only be disappointed, and withholds her support. Yet Phiona begins to do well in local chess competitions, and Katende becomes more than just a chess mentor; he teaches her to read and write. Soon, she's winning tournaments, but at the same time she's striking out on her own, breaking away from her family in an effort to win them all a chance out of poverty.

Queen of Katwe is directed by Mira Nair (Monsoon Wedding) from a screenplay by William Wheeler (The Hoax), and is based on the book by Tim Crothers.

The film opens in U.S. theaters on September 23, 2016.


Bryan Abrams

Bryan Abrams is the Editor-in-chief of The Credits. He's run the site since its launch in 2012. He lives in New York.

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