Opening this weekend, the new film Queen of Katwe is based on the life of Phiona Mutesi, who started playing chess at 9 years old in the Kampala, Uganda slum of Katwe, and within four years became an international champion.
The cast is a mix of rising stars and new faces. Ugandan actress Madina Nalwanga makes her debut as Mutesi. Academy Award-winner Lupita Nyong’o plays Mutesi’s mother, and David Oyelowo plays Robert Katende, the man who offered to teach her how to play the game.
It might be hard to believe but as NPR’s All Things Considered mused, the film “may be the first time a major studio (Disney) has set a movie in Africa with all black actors and no animals.” It certainly seems like it’s the first movie in American theaters set in Kampala where someone from Kampala plays a resident of Kampala.