Published Sep 10, 2016Though they've been making them for 41 years, a live-action Disney film has never been included in the Toronto International Film Festival. That's all about to change with Mira Nair's (Monsoon Wedding) latest feature, Queen of Katwe, and there's a reason why: This isn't your typical Disney film.
Filmed in Uganda and South Africa and featuring an all-black cast, Queen of Katwe tells the remarkable true story of Phiona Mutesi (total newcomer Madina Nalwanga), a chess prodigy from the Ugandan slums who rose up the ranks locally before becoming a Woman Candidate Master at the World Chess Olympiad. Academy Award-winner Lupita Nyong'o and David Oyelowo both deliver powerful and affecting performances as her mother and coach, respectively.
Created in partnership with ESPN films, Queen of Katwe has all the trappings of your average sports drama — this is a tale of perseverance and resilience in the face of adversity — but its biggest strength is the way it smashes stereotypes about life in Africa thanks to a universal story that transcends all boundaries.