Can you do big things from such a small place?
I am anxiously awaiting the release of this film so that I can share it with my family. I have screened it twice now, and it is such a beautiful film. Movies like this are rare, and the messages in this one are so loud and so important. Why? Because this film is so eye opening, painfully so at times. But it’s also full of inspiration and hope.
This film 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.
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.
My son is a chess player, and I have always been so amazed at his interest in the game. I have seen where the game has been so beneficial to him in so many ways but of course, I had never imagined what the game of chess might do for someone from such poverty. Phiona stumbled upon the game of chess while she was out searching for a meal. Can you imagine? This story of Robert Katende and his dedication to children who really might have otherwise had no hope for a better life, is an amazing look at what can happen when you choose to help others. When you choose to see the needs of those around you, and help lift them up for better things. I love this story, and I know that you will too. Such a wonderful family film, a must see for all ages.
Also: tissues. Pack the tissues.
QUEEN OF KATWE will have a limited early release in select theaters on September 23rd, and will be in theaters everywhere September 30th. 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.
Based on the true story that took place in Katwe just a few years ago
My favorite thing about this film is that it is based on a real story. Real people. Strong people that are all looking for a way to survive (literally) and as you will see, the work on Robert Katende (shown below) saw an opportunity to truly change the lives of these children.
A look at Katwe
Probably the most moving and touching part of this story, is that it is based on a true story. REAL people from a real place. It is hard to imagine that, especially when we enjoy such a different life. I urge you to take a look at life in Katwe , which will really help you to understand this story, and why everyone should see this film:
This story, and these real life images and videos have really opened up a lot of conversations with my children about the world, and just how lucky we are to live where we do. I feel like it is so important to be aware of the challenges that others face, and the things that they can do to overcome them, if they just believe that they can. I also loved sharing with my children the story ofRobert Katende and how he was committed to making a difference in the lives of these children, it is such a wonderful lesson in the power of love and compassion.
Queen of Katwe Trailer
QUEEN OF KATWE hits theatres on September 23th!