Real Life Photos of Stars of Queen of Katwe
In just under a month the inspiring movie based on the life of chess champion of Phiona Mutesi premieres in theaters everywhere and I can’t wait for audiences across the world to learn more about his story and her life. I had the opportunity to screen the movie during the BFG event and it was amazing. One of favorite parts of the movie was during the end credits when they showed the real life characters along with the people that played them in the movie. It was amazing to see how great they were with casting. Check out some behind the scenes photos of the real characters and actors.
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. We’d like to share with you some of the images from her incredible journey to becoming a world-class chess player. We’ve included these photos (which come from the personal archives of Robert Katende) along with some images of the two actors, Madina Nalwanga and David Oyelowo, who play Phiona and Robert on screen.
Robert Katende was a recent college graduate and soccer coach for Sports Outreach Ministry who ran a chess program for impoverished children in the slums of Kampala when he first met Phiona Mutesi. As Phiona’s coach, mentor and father figure, Katende was instrumental in helping her pursue her dreams and become the champion she was destined to be. Today he is married with three children and houses several of his chess students while simultaneously serving as the director of Sports Outreach in Kampala and running 300 chess programs throughout Uganda.
QUEEN OF KATWE opens in theaters in limited release on September 23rd and everywhere on September 30th!