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Meet the True-Life Chess Champion from Disney’s “Queen of Katwe” movie


The true-life inspired movie “Queen of Katwe” will bring an incredible story packed with award winning acting talent to the big screen in September. But how does the on screen talent stack up to the real life inspirations? Disney has released photos of Phiona Mutesi and her coach Robert Katende to compare with images of the actors who play them on screen, Madina Nalwanga and David Oyelowo in the new movie “Queen of Katwe.”

The film starring Lupita Nyong’o, Oyelowo, and Nalwanga is directed by Mira Nair and will have its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 10. “Queen of Katwe” is based on the remarkable 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, who goes on to become an international chess champion.

Disney also released two new TV spots for “Queen of Katwe”

Never Surrender –

Dream –

Will you watch Disney’s True Life “Queen of Katwe” in theaters?

About the Movie:

“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.

1 thought on “Meet the True-Life Chess Champion from Disney’s “Queen of Katwe” movie”

  1. Pingback: Queen of Katwe - It's about more than Chess | The Disney Blog

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