“Queen of Katwe” is such a fabulous and uplifting movie that I strongly believe every young person should see this film. The story embodies the statement that no matter what our life brings, each of us has the ability to transcend our circumstances and make our lives what we want them to be. This true tale follows the life of Phiona, a young 10-year-old Ugandan girl, and her daily existence living in an impoverished slum in Katwe (in Kapala, Uganda). Although Phiona’s mother gives her children all she can, her father has passed away and Phiona must sell corn in the village to help her family survive each day.

Phiona and her Mother in Queen of Katwe

One day Phiona is exposed to the game of chess thanks to a missionary in her village. Even without any formal education, we watch Phiona’s understanding and passion for the game grow. Her confidence and determination soar and she is able to successfully master the game and begin competing in competitions.

Phiona in Queen of Katwe

You’ll find yourself cheering on Phiona and her village chess playing friends as they struggle and succeed with the world opening up around them. It is delightful and moving to watch Phiona transcend her place in life to become a Master of the game.


“Queen of Katwe”

Filming for the “Queen of Katwe” took place from April to June of 2015 in and around Katwe and Kibuli in Kampala, Uganda, as well as in Johannesburg, South Africa. Since the film’s shooting was so recent, I felt the current culture of this area of the world was shown extremely well.

Children Dancing in Katwe

Kampala, the capital of Uganda, is located on the eastern shores of Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest lake, and with a population of just under two million people is one of the fastest growing cities in Africa. Katwe is located several miles south of Kampala’s primary business district, yet for its inhabitants, downtown Kampala seems a world away. The experience I had watching life in these African locations brought me a true sense of understanding daily life in this region of the world.

selling in the market of Katwe

Movie Trailer

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Queen of Katwe Poster 2


Genre: Drama
U.S. Release date: September 23, 2016
Cast: David Oyelowo, Lupita Nyong’o, Madina Nalwanga
Director: Mira Nair
Screenplay by: William Wheeler
Based on the book by: Tim Crothers
Producers: Lydia Dean Pilcher, p.g.a., John Carls, p.g.a.
Executive Producers: Will Weiske, Troy Buder

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the movie after you see it! I hope you are as uplifted and inspired as I was!