Queen of Katwe is a 2016 American biographical sports drama film directed by Mira Nair and written by William Wheeler. Starring David Oyelowo, Lupita Nyong’o, and Madina Nalwanga, the film depicts the life of Phiona Mutesi, a Ugandan girl living in a slum in Katwe who learns to play chess and becomes a Woman Candidate Master after her performances at World Chess Olympiads.
Adapted from an ESPN magazine article and book by Tim Crothers, the film was produced by Walt Disney Pictures and ESPN Films. Queen of Katwe was screened at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival. The film had a limited release in the United States on September 23, 2016, before a general theatrical release on September 30.
Living in the slum of Katwe in Kampala, Uganda, is a constant struggle for 10-year-old Phiona (Madina Nalwanga) and her family. Her world changes one day when she meets Robert Katende (David Oyelowo) at a missionary program. Katende coaches soccer and teaches children to play chess. Curious, Phiona approaches and learns the game. She becomes fascinated with it and soon becomes a top player under Katende’s guidance. Over several years, her success in competitions and tournaments leads to greater competitions, stress, and identity issues. Phiona must learn more than the game as she is exposed to life outside Katwe. Her education, both formally and informally, continues as she dreams of escaping a life of poverty for herself, her mother, and her siblings.