Whenever I see an inspirational film that was “based on a true story”, I always wonder about the actual people the film is based on. What happened after? How much is real? And how similar are they to who was cast to play them.
Well, last month, I got to screen “The Queen of Katwe”, the 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. I’ll have more to tell you about the film closer to the release date but I can say this, it is storytelling at it’s finest.
What the “Queen of Katwe” does do, is show us who the real people are that inspired the film, and give us mini-updates. Luckily for us, this journey was documented by Ketende, so we can see some comparisons of the the film set up and the actual photo.
David Oyelowo as Robert Katende leading the chess club
Actual Robert Katende leading the chess club in Kampala, Uganda
The real Phiona Mutesi concentrating on a practice match in Kampala, Uganda
Madina Nalwanga as Phiona during a practice match
Robert Katende and Phiona with team mates and trophies
David Oyelowo, Madina Nalwanga and team cast
Phiona is now a graduate of the St. Mbuga Vocational Secondary School. She is now applying to college and hopes to become a doctor or lawyer. Robert Katende is a father of three 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.
Queen of Katwe opens September 23rd.