Queen of Katwe

Genre : Social
Type : Biopic
Column : Cinema/tv
Year of production : 2015

David Oyelowo (Selma) and Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong'o (12 Years a Slave) star in the true story of a young girl from rural Uganda (played by newcomer Madina Nalwanga) who discovers a passion for chess, and sets out to pursue her dream of becoming an international champion.

A film by Mira Nair

Uganda / South Africa, 2015, Fiction, 2h04 minutes, PG, colour, English

starring David Oyelowo, Lupita Nyong'o, Madina Nalwanga, Dinaz Stafford, Hope Katende, Mark Mugwana, Robert Katende, Sarah Katende, Zohran Kwame Mamdani, Phiona Mutesi, Martin Kabanza

Director Mira Nair returns to the Festival with this rousing tale of a brilliant Ugandan girl whose humble life is transformed after she realizes her gift for chess. Based on an amazing true story, Queen of Katwe stars David Oyelowo (also at the Festival in A United Kingdom), Oscar winner Lupita Nyong'o, and newcomer Madina Nalwanga.

From her vantage point in the Kampala shantytown of Katwe, 10-year-old Phiona Mutesi (Nalwanga) can see precious few routes out of destitution, even though her mother, Harriet (Nyong'o), works hard as a vegetable vendor to clothe and feed her children. When a missionary and one-time soccer player named Robert (Oyelowo) begins teaching the local kids to play chess, Phiona is transfixed - and displays an instant affinity for the game.

Recognizing raw talent and fierce moxie when he sees them, Robert takes Phiona under his wing. Harriet is worried that her daughter's new-found passion might lead to heartbreak, but soon Phiona is triumphing at local tournaments. As she gets more and more opportunity to demonstrate her talents, Phiona begins to realize that she might also be able to help her family find a better life.

There are few things more inspiring than a young person realizing their potential, and Nalwanga - as gifted an actor as her character is a chess player - captures Phiona's self-actualization beat by beat, move by move. Queen of Katwe is a thrilling story of hope and discovery.

Tags: Film, Youth, Black + African Diaspora, Female Director

Mira Nair

Production Company
Walt Disney Studios Pictures (US)

Executive Producer
Will Weiske, Troy Buder

Lydia Pilcher, John Carls

William Wheeler

Sean Bobbitt

Barry Alexander Brown

Production Designer
Stephanie Carroll

Alex Heffes

Original Score
Alex Heffes

David Oyelowo,
Lupita Nyong'o,
Madina Nalwanga,
Dinaz Stafford,
Hope Katende,
Mark Mugwana,
Robert Katende,
Sarah Katende,
Zohran Kwame Mamdani,
Phiona Mutesi,
Martin Kabanza

Primary Publicity
Walt Disney Studios Pictures (US)

International Sales Agent
Walt Disney Studios Pictures (US)

US Sales Agent
Walt Disney Studios Pictures (US)

Canadian Distributor
Walt Disney Studios Pictures (US)

US Distributor
Walt Disney Studios Pictures (US)

2016 | 41st TIFF - Toronto International Film Festival, Canada
* Selection - Gala Presentations
* World Premiere
* Projection / Screening: Sat Sep 10
* Projection / Screening: Sun Sep 11
* Projection / Screening: Thu Sep 15
* Projection / Screening: Sat Sep 17


1 files

Leave a comment !

Please share your impressions, remarks, suggestions to help us improve the new Southplanet website. Don't hesitate to signal any bugs that you happen to come across !


  • Arterial network
  • Media, Sports and Entertainment Group (MSE)
  • Gens de la Caraïbe
  • Groupe 30 Afrique
  • Alliance Française VANUATU
  • Zimbabwe : Culture Fund Of Zimbabwe Trust
  • RDC : Groupe TACCEMS
  • Rwanda : Positive Production
  • Togo : Kadam Kadam
  • Niger : ONG Culture Art Humanité
  • Collectif 2004 Images
  • Africultures Burkina-Faso
  • Bénincultures / Editions Plurielles
  • Africiné
  • Afrilivres

With the support of