QUEEN OF KATWE is based on the vibrant true story of Phiona Mutesi, a young girl from the streets of rural Uganda who is introduced to the game of chess by Robert Katende, a former missionary and soccer coach, and goes on to become an international chess champion.
Below you will find photos of Phiona Mutesi and her coach Robert Katende from the (true life) inspirational movie QUEEN OF KATWE as well as a new TV Spot highlighting the improbable journey to become a champion.
Queen of Katwe in theaters September 30!
Phiona Mutesi (right, green shirt), Robert Katende (back row center)
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.
This #QueenofKatwe clip and photos were brought to you by Disney. All opinions are my own.