The Queen of chess. From slum to chess star


Do you know Phiona Mutesi? Don’t worry, you are not the only one. However, this is going to change in a few days with the Queen of Katwe, an upcoming 2016 Disney live-action biographical film.

But let me help you understand why you should not miss this awesome film.

I know, I know, a  biographical film do not sound like a lot of joy, but you’ll be surprised.

What makes this film outstanding?

It tells us a story, that’s pretty obvious, but this one will make you want to hug Phiona Mutesi. You’ll feel automatically captivated.

The movie has filmed the streets of Uganda in a way you haven’t seen before. It was an awesome teamwork. You’ll fully understand that the success of this little girl was not only surviving, but flourishing in an unusual way. Instead of dying on the streets, she succeeds by learning chess! A girl who grew from a slum to a world chess champion. Someone sentenced to poverty rise to success.

Tell me more

Phiona and her family live in the  impoverished slum of Katwe in Kampala, Uganda. Her mother, Harriet, is determined to get her children fed and to give them a home. She works tirelessly to get this done.

One day Phiona and her oldest brother Brian met Robert Katende, a soccer player became missionary who teaches local children chess.

She is fascinated. Chess needs concentration, strategic reasoning and risk taking, one bad movement and you are out, as in real life.

Katende soon understands that this young girl has a special gift, particularly when she starts beating him!

Katende begins to mentor her, but her mother does not agree. She does not want to see her daughter  disappointed. But Phiona begins to succeed in local chess competitions, so Katende teaches her to read and write in order to pursue schooling. She quickly advances through the ranks in tournaments. Her mother finally realizes that Phiona has a chance to excel and teams up with Katende to help her fulfill her dream, escape a life of poverty and save her family.


Madina Nalwanga as Phiona Mutesi, a 10-year-old girl with a natural talent for chess

David Oyelowo as Robert Katende, a missionary who teaches chess to Phiona

Lupita Nyong’o as Harriet Mutesi, Phiona’s mother

Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine as Tendo

Esteri Tebandeke as Sara Katende

Taryn Kyaze as Night

Russel Savadier as the Russian Chess Official

Charity Rose Pimer

Directed by Mira Nair, written by William Wheeler and co-produced by Walt Disney Pictures and ESPN Films.


A must-see. Not only the story but the film itself. The film was entirely shot in Uganda and South Africa. The costumes reflect the family status.  Every detail was thoroughly reviewed. Queen of Katwe makes it clear that we can be successful if we persevere. But it is perfectly obvious that we also need a mentor to help us in our way.

Besides you can always follow Phiona Mutesi and celebrate her victories. She is real and she is alive and successful.

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