I was hosted by Walt Disney Studios and attended a special screening of Queen of Katwe during #TheBFGEvent.
You can find Queen of Katwe in select theaters now and in theaters everywhere on September 30, 2016. So what do you need to know before you head to the movies?
It’s based on a true story.
Lots of films are based on true stories, but there’s always the question of what is true and what is made up or exaggerated just to make a good film. The real life inspirations for the movie, Robert Katende and Phiona Mutesi, were on set every day, giving the film an extra layer of authenticity. The film was shot entirely in the slums of Katwe in Kampala, Uganda and Johannesburg, South Africa and over one hundred Ugandans played the extras in the film.
You’ll need tissues.
When I attended the screening, my friend Nickida leaned over and told me to stop crying. That was just because she was crying, too. Whatever. They were mostly happy tears. I’m also pretty sure we weren’t alone in our need for tissues, either.
You don’t have to understand chess to understand the film.
All you really have to know is that in chess, the small one can become the big one.
The soundtrack is catchy as heck.
It includes Back To Life by Alicia Keys and #1 Spice by Young Cardamom & HAB. Cardamom’s mom is director Mira Nair, who also directed the music video.
Prepare to be inspired.
You’ll want your entire family to see the incredible story of Phiona Mutesi and her coach Robert Katende. It’s funny. It’s heartbreaking. Most of all, it’s incredibly inspiring. And don’t leave early. The pre-credit scene from the film is quite possibly the best true-life story follow up you’ll ever see.
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.