Do you ever see a movie and think, “I can’t wait to bring ALL of my family and friends to see this!”? That’s how Queen of Katwe was for me.
I was invited to Los Angeles to attend the red carpet premiere of Disney’s Queen of Katwe (see my experience HERE) and got to see the movie twice while there. Travel and accommodations were covered by Disney, but all thoughts are my own. Photos courtesy of Disney.
About Queen of Katwe
“Queen of Katwe” is based on the vibrant true story of a young girl from the streets of rural Uganda whose world rapidly changes when she is introduced to the game of chess, 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. The book (with even more details than the movie) is available HERE, on Amazon.
After seeing the movie twice, this trailer literally brings me to tears.
10 Things You’ll LOVE about Queen of Katwe
There is so much to love about Disney’s Queen of Katwe, but here are just 10 of them:
1. Finally! A happy, positive movie that takes place in Africa.
2. The young stars of the movie, Madina Nalwanga, Martin Kabanza and the other “Pioneers,” were real and fully relatable. I was so impressed by the newbies!
3. Queen of Katwe is a movie with a positive message for the whole family. It reinforces the importance of following your dreams, having hope and faith, and never giving up.
4. Queen of Katwe is full of raw emotion – from pain to pure joy. I laughed and I cried.
5. This is a story of HOPE. We need more hope in our world.
6. This is a story of the strength and importance of family bonds. Lupita Nyong’o played Harriet, Phiona’s mother, beautifully. And as you’ll see in my upcoming interview post, the bonds that Lupita made with her on-screen children were real. It was beautiful to witness!
7. This is a story of the power of a good mentor. My husband has a favorite quote that is perfect for Phiona’s story. It goes something like this: “Be the person you needed when you were younger.” Coach Katende is an admirable coach and mentor to countless children.
8. Queen of Katwe is a movie that you are going to want to see again and again.
9. It’s appropriate for the whole family (although little ones might have a harder time following the story).
10. Quene of Katwe is a totally unique “feel-good” story….and a TRUE story! (the best kind) It is full of meaningful quotes and metaphors that will leave you thinking.
About the Children of Queen of Katwe
We had the opportunity to meet both Madina Nalwanga and Martin Kabanza (Phiona and Brian in the movie), and as I mentioned above, the fact that the majority of the Queen of Katwe cast was NOT movie stars was one of the best, most endearing things about it. I love learning a little about the main characters:
MADINA NALWANGA (Phiona Mutesi) makes her acting debut in “Queen of Katwe.” Madina was 4 years old when her future mentor, Lezon Mark Mugwanya, who runs the Sosolya Undugu Dance Academy for underprivileged youth, spotted her on the streets selling corn with her brother and saw something special in her. Mugwanya already knew Madina’s mother, and once he received her blessing began training her at the dance academy – a safe place for Madina to live – and she soon blossomed. Madina could dance four traditional dances perfectly by the time she was eight and is now one of the troop’s lead dancers as well as its lead vocalist. She can sing in 12 different languages. Madina attends Green Valley High School where her education is subsidized by the dance academy.
MARTIN KABANZA (Mugabi Brian) makes his acting debut in “Queen of Katwe.” He was discovered for the role while playing football. Martin was born on November 11, 2002 in Kampala, Uganda and now lives in the Kampala suburb of Bugiza with his grandparents. He is in his first year of high school at St. Mguba School, where he enjoys playing football and following Uganda’s national team.
TARYN “KAY” KYAZE (Night) is from a close-knit family in the suburban Rubaga district of Kampala, Uganda. The 19-year-old makes her feature film debut in “Queen of Katwe.” A former fashion model and co-star of the popular Ugandan television series “The Hostel,” Kyaze also enjoys listening and dancing to music (Nicki Minaj is her favorite artist). She is also very athletic and loves to play soccer and basketball, swim and ride dirt bikes.
NIKITA WALIGWA (Gloria) is 10 years old and in the sixth grade. Nikita makes her acting debut in “Queen of Katwe.” She is now an avid chess player.
9-year-old ETHAN NAZARIO LUBEGA (Benjamin) attends Entebbe Junior School at Grade 4 level. He hid during his first school talent show but has since found his confidence. Ethan started doing commercials at age five and was cast in a documentary about malaria at the age of six.
Queen of Katwe is in limited theaters now, but will be in theaters everywhere on September 30, 2016. Please go see it!
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