Disney's "Queen Of Katwe" Trailer Released

Disney's "Queen Of Katwe" Trailer Released

| 29 | Misc

The first official trailer has been released of Queen of Katwe, Disney's version of Tim Crothers' book, which was based on a true story: Phiona Mutesi's rise from the slums of Kampala, Uganda to her first trip on an airplane — to Siberia for the 2010 Olympiad.

Photo: Disney Productions.

It all started with ESPN's captivating long-read from January 2011 (posted online two years later) about Phiona Mutesi. The author Tim Crothers tells the story of a 10-year-old girl who lived in the slums of Uganda and was still learning to read when she first heard about chess. Eventually she became one of the first titled female players in Ugandan chess history.

Crothers later turned the story into a full-length book, and Mutesi became a famous figure who made a tour throughout the U.S. in 2014. She spoke at various events in an effort to raise awareness and money for a chess center to be built near her native village.

According to the program “has been so successful at engaging at-risk young people that the World Chess Federation (known as FIDE) has identified it as a model program.” In December 2013 Mutesi herself helped to organize the first-ever clinic for impoverished girls in Uganda, attended by no fewer than 447 girls.

It's a story that begged to be transformed into a film, and it was Disney who obtained the rights. Here's the trailer which was posted online three days ago:

The film, co-produced by Walt Disney Pictures and ESPN Films, features Golden Globe nominee David Oyelowo and Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o. Phiona Mutesi is played by an actress not known yet to the big public: Madina Nalwanga. Oyelowo plays Robert Katende, a soccer coach turned missionary who teaches chess to local children. Nyong’o (Academy Award, 12 Years A Slave) plays Harriet Mutesi, Phiona's mother.

“The trailer gives me chills — it reinforces how excited I am to be a part of this incredible cast and to help bring this story to the world,” Nyong’o said to Vulture.

The storyline is about Harriet raising her daughter in the Katwe slums. Phiona one day meets Robert Katende, who recognizes a special talent for chess in the girl. Whereas he stimulates her to improve her game — potentially a way to break away from Katwe — Harriet is worried about what will happen if Phiona’s dreams are dashed.

“Sometimes the place you are used to is not the place you belong. You belong where you believe you belong,” says Katende to Mutesi.

Disney’s “Queen of Katwe” hits theaters with a limited release on September 23.

Peter Doggers

Peter Doggers joined a chess club a month before turning 15 and still plays for it. He used to be an active tournament player and holds two IM norms.

Peter has a Master of Arts degree in Dutch Language & Literature. He briefly worked at New in Chess, then as a Dutch teacher and then in a project for improving safety and security in Amsterdam schools.

Between 2007 and 2013 Peter was running ChessVibes, a major source for chess news and videos acquired by in October 2013.

As our Director News & Events, Peter writes many of our news reports. In the summer of 2022, The Guardian’s Leonard Barden described him as “widely regarded as the world’s best chess journalist.”

In October, Peter's first book The Chess Revolution will be published!

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