Queen of Katwe is an upcoming film that’s inspired by a real-life, made-for-TV story. Based on a book about the life of chess master Phiona Mutesi, Queen of Katwe tells the story of a young woman with a prodigious chess ability who overcomes her humble beginnings and wins championship after championship. The film stars David Oyelowo, Lupita Nyong’o, and newcomer Madina Nalwanga as Mutesi, and is produced by Disney and ESPN. Oyelowo plays Mutesi’s chess teacher, and Nyong’o plays her mother. Today, the film received a suitably uplifting trailer.
The story is remarkable not only because of Mutesi’s ability, but also because she started out in Katwe, which is a slum in Uganda. As seen in the film, Mutesi succeeds because of the strength of her community and in the face of extreme discrimination at the hands of her fellow Ugandans. As was originally reported in a story by Tim Crothers — who later wrote the book (Queen of Katwe) about her life — Mutesi is daughter to a man who died of AIDS and a mother who may have been HIV-positive, and who was missing for a time. This meant Mutesi had to raise her siblings while also training to compete in chess competitions, which she’s managed to do super-successfully.
Watch the trailer below. There’s also a short documentary on the life of Mutesi available on YouTube.