Queen of Katwe

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Queen of Katwe
Queen of Katwe poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Mira Nair
Produced by
Screenplay by William Wheeler
Based on The Queen of Katwe: A Story of Life, Chess, and One Extraordinary Girl’s Dream of Becoming a Grandmaster
by Tim Crothers
Starring
Music by Alex Heffes
Cinematography Sean Bobbitt
Edited by Barry Alexander Brown
Production
companies
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
Release date
  • September 10, 2016 (2016-09-10) (TIFF)
  • September 23, 2016 (2016-09-23) (United States)
Running time
124 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $15 million[2][3]
Box office $10.4 million[3]

Queen of Katwe is a 2016 American biographical sports drama film[4] directed by Mira Nair and written by William Wheeler.[5] Starring David Oyelowo, Lupita Nyong'o, and Madina Nalwanga, the film depicts the life of Phiona Mutesi, a Ugandan girl living in a slum in Katwe. She learns to play chess and becomes a Woman Candidate Master after her victories at World Chess Olympiads.[6]

Adapted from an ESPN magazine article and book by Tim Crothers, the film was produced by Walt Disney Pictures and ESPN Films. Queen of Katwe was screened at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival.[7] The film had a limited release in the United States on September 23, 2016, before a general theatrical release on September 30.[8]

Plot[edit]

Living in Katwe, a slum in Kampala, Uganda, is a constant struggle for 10-year-old Phiona (Madina Nalwanga), her mother Nakku Harriet (Lupita Nyong'o) and younger members of her family. She and her younger brother help their mother sell in the market and scavenge for food and water. She also helps care for a new baby brother. Her world changes one day when she meets Robert Katende (David Oyelowo) at a missionary program. Katende coaches soccer and teaches children to play chess at a local center. Curious, Phiona approaches and learns the game. She becomes fascinated with it and soon becomes a top player under Katende's guidance.

Over several years, her success in competitions and tournaments leads to higher-level competitions, stress, and identity issues. Phiona must learn more than the game as she is exposed to life outside Katwe. Her education, both formally and informally, continues as she dreams of gaining escape from poverty for herself, her mother and siblings.

Cast[edit]

Maurice Kirya and Ntare Mwine have supporting roles as Theo[9] and Tendo respectively. Gladys Oyenbot and Rehema Nanfuka played a minor roles as shopkeeper and Nurse respectively.

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

Tim Crothers wrote The Queen of Katwe: A Story of Life, Chess, and One Extraordinary Girl's Dream of Becoming a Grandmaster, which chronicled Phiona Mutesi's life. Published by ESPN in 2012, it was optioned that same year by Walt Disney Pictures.[10] Tendo Nagenda, Walt Disney Studios' senior creative executive, developed the project into production. He happens to be ethnic Ugandan.[11] With executive approval from studio president Sean Bailey,[12] Nagenda went to visit Mira Nair at her Ugandan home to recruit her to direct a film about Mutesi. Nair was captivated by the story, stating, "I have always been surrounded by these local stories but hadn’t done anything in Uganda since 1991. I love any story about people who make something from what appears to be nothing."[13]

Mira Nair met with Mutesi, her mother Harriet, and the chess group run by coach Robert Katende. She invited screenwriter William Wheeler to come to Kampala to conduct interviews with the principal figures as a foundation for a screenplay.[14] Nair filmed a short high-concept and presented it to Disney, to alleviate the studio's concerns about the film being entirely set in Africa.[14]

Wheeler believed that the film could fit within the Disney tradition of films about "underdog" sports stories, noting that:

"we were trying to ... gently expand the idea of what a 'Disney film' could be. Disney was very open to wanting to tell an aspirational story about someone from someplace that is not at all familiar to Western audiences ... this could really fit into one of the things that they do very well – which is telling sports underdog stories and finding the ways the story naturally intersects with that genre of film."[15]

Nair described Queen of Katwe as "a radical film for Disney in many ways.... It has beauty and barbarity side-by-side."[12] In January 2015, Disney studio chairman Alan F. Horn greenlit the film into production for US $15 million.[12]

Casting[edit]

In January 2015, David Oyelowo and Lupita Nyong'o were cast as Robert Katende and Harriet Mutesi, respectively. They were Nair's first choices for the roles. Nyong'o said that she had decided to play the part after reading the script's first ten pages, saying "It was the first time I felt really awakened by a script and super challenged."[16][17] Oyelowo immediately accepted the role, seeing the film as a "subversive work", given the lack of diversity in contemporary American cinema.[18][19] Nair said that finding an actress to play Phiona was the most difficult. The casting search lasted from July to December 2014 and the production team auditioned nearly 700 girls.[14] The casting director found Madina Nalwanga in a community dance class. The 15-year-old Ugandan dancer was cast as Phiona.[5][20]

Filming[edit]

Principal photography began in April 2015.[21][22] The film was shot entirely in Africa, in the Katwe slums in Kampala, Uganda and in Johannesburg, South Africa. More than one hundred Ugandans were hired as extras for the street scenes ; eighty had no prior experience with cameras.[23] Nair set up an acting boot camp to help prepare the children for their scenes.[24] Most professional Ugandan actors settled for roles as extras, including Gladys Oyenbot who acted as Lupita's stand-in double.[25]

Nair and cinematographer Sean Bobbitt used different visual approaches for the various matches which Mutesi plays. Katende, who was present at the shoot, designed the games, while Nair and Bobbitt worked on each shot. The chess scenes were complicated because the call sheet contained actual chess moves. Nair and editor Barry Brown cut the scenes to create some drama.[23] Production wrapped in June 2015 after 54 days of shooting.[2]

Music[edit]

The musical score for Queen of Katwe was composed by Alex Heffes.[26] "It's a very thematic and gentle score that is more orchestral than something like Roots, although it's set in Africa," said Heffes. "There are plenty of authentic Ugandan needle drop tracks in the film to set the scene so the score could concentrate more on the music story telling."[27]

Alicia Keys wrote and recorded the song "Back to Life" for the film; it was released on September 1, 2016 by RCA Records.[28] A soundtrack album was released on September 23 by Walt Disney Records.[29]

Soundtrack[edit]

Queen of Katwe (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Queen of Katwe Soundtrack.jpg
Soundtrack album by Various artists
Released September 23, 2016 (2016-09-23)
Recorded 2015–16
Length 62:55
Label Walt Disney
Producer
Singles from Queen of Katwe (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
  1. "Back to Life"
    Released: September 1, 2016 (2016-09-01)
Queen of Katwe (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) – Standard edition[30]
No.TitleArtist(s)Length
1."#1 Spice"Young Cardamom & HAB3:50
2."Sekem"MC Galaxy3:58
3."Budo!"Alex Heffes2:05
4."Tuli Kubigere"A Pass3:17
5."Bomboclat" (featuring Weasel)Jose Chameleone3:45
6."Brian, My Brother!"Alex Heffes1:00
7."Skelewu"Davido3:09
8."Juicy"Radio and Weasel3:46
9."It Is Fine"Alex Heffes1:03
10."Engoma Yange"Nsubuga Saava Karim4:26
11."Wuuyo"A Pass4:21
12."Oswadde Nnyo"Afrigo Band and Moses Matovu3:29
13."Mbilo Mbilo"Eddy Kenzo3:50
14."Escape from Hospital"Alex Heffes0:57
15."Nfunda N'omubi"Afrigo Band and Joanita Kawalya2:48
16."Kiwani"Bobi Wine4:49
17."The Promise of Harriet"Alex Heffes1:16
18."Kyempulila"A Pass2:26
19."Home Again"Michael Kiwanuka3:31
20."Back to Life"Alicia Keys4:54
21."Shekini"P-Square3:38
Total length:62:55

Release[edit]

Queen of Katwe had its world premiere at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival on September 10.[32] Disney held the corporate premiere at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood on September 20,[33] with another screening at the Urban World Festival on September 22.[34] The African premieres were held in Kampala on October 1[35] and Johannesburg on October 5.[36] The film had its European debut at the 2016 BFI London Film Festival on October 9.[37] Another screening was held at the Morelia International Film Festival in Mexico on October 22.[38] On November 12, it was screened at the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival and at the Brisbane Asia Pacific Film Festival on the 24th.[39][40]

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment released the film on Blu-ray and DVD on January 31, 2017, with a digital release on January 10.[41]

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

Queen of Katwe opened on September 23 as a limited release in the United States, with an estimated Friday total of $82,000 averaging $1,577 per screen across 52 selected theaters. By the opening weekend, it earned $304,933 averaging $5,864 per screen.[42] It opened on wide release on September 30 to 1,242 screens, and went on to gross $2.5 million in the first week.[43]

Critical response[edit]

Queen of Katwe received positive reviews from critics, with David Oyelowo and Lupita Nyong'o's performances receiving unanimous praise.[44][45] Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film an approval rating of 93% based on 165 reviews and an average rating of 7.4/10. The website's critical consensus states: "Queen of Katwe is a feel-good movie of uncommon smarts and passion, and Lupita Nyong'o and David Oyelowo's outstanding performances help elevate the film past its cliches."[46] On Metacritic, the film has a normalized rating of 73 out of 100 based on reviews from 40 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[47] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an "A+" grade.[42]

Accolades[edit]

List of awards and nominations
Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) Result Ref(s)
African-American Film Critics Association February 8, 2017 Top 10 Films Queen of Katwe 10th Place [48]
Africa Movie Academy Award July 15, 2017 Africa Movie Academy Award for Most Promising Actor Madina Nalwanga Won [49]
Africa Movie Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role David Oyelowo Nominated
Africa Movie Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role Lupita Nyong'o Nominated
Africa Movie Academy Award for Best Director Mira Nair Nominated
Africa Movie Academy Award for Best Film Queen of Katwe Nominated
Africa Movie Academy Award for Best Production Design Queen of Katwe Nominated
Africa Movie Academy Award for Best Costume Design Queen of Katwe Won
Africa Movie Academy Award for Best Visual Effects Queen of Katwe Nominated
Alliance of Women Film Journalists December 21, 2016 Best Woman Director Mira Nair Nominated [50][51]
Best Breakthrough Performance Madina Nalwanga Nominated
Black Reel Awards February 16, 2017 Outstanding Actress Madina Nalwanga Nominated [52]
Outstanding Supporting Actress Lupita Nyong'o Nominated
Outstanding Original Song "Back to Life" – Alicia Keys, Illangelo and Billy Walsh Nominated
Critics Choice Awards December 11, 2016 Best Young Performer Madina Nalwanga Nominated [53]
Evening Standard British Film Awards December 8, 2016 Best Actor David Oyelowo (also for A United Kingdom) Nominated [54]
Golden Tomato Awards January 12, 2017 Best Kids/Family Movie 2016 Queen of Katwe 2nd Place [55]
London Film Critics' Circle January 22, 2017 British/Irish Actor of the Year David Oyelowo (also for A United Kingdom) Nominated [56]
NAACP Image Awards February 11, 2017 Outstanding Actress Madina Nalwanga Nominated [57]
Outstanding Supporting Actress Lupita Nyong'o Nominated
Outstanding Supporting Actor David Oyelowo Nominated
Outstanding Film Director Mira Nair Nominated
National Film Awards UK March 29, 2017 Best Actress Lupita Nyong'o Nominated [58]
Best International Film Queen of Katwe Nominated
Toronto International Film Festival September 18, 2016 People's Choice Award Mira Nair 3rd Place [59]
Women Film Critics Circle December 19, 2016 Best Movie by a Woman Queen of Katwe Nominated [60]
Best Young Actress Madina Nalwanga Nominated
Best Female Images in a Movie Queen of Katwe Nominated
Best Family Film Queen of Katwe Won

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Queen of Katwe (PG)". British Board of Film Classification. September 12, 2016. Retrieved September 17, 2016. 
  2. ^ a b Fleming, Jr., Mike (January 9, 2015). "David Oyelowo & Lupita Nyong'o In Talks To Star In 'Queen Of Katwe' For Disney". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 27, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b "Queen of Katwe (2016)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved March 10, 2017. 
  4. ^ Carissimo, Justin (May 10, 2016). "Lupita Nyong'o and David Oyelowo star in the new trailer for Queen of Katwe". The Independent. Retrieved August 29, 2016. 
  5. ^ a b McNary, Dave (January 9, 2015). "David Oyelowo, Lupita Nyong'o in Talks for Disney's 'Queen of Katwe'". Variety. Retrieved 27 April 2015. 
  6. ^ Robinson, Joanna (August 16, 2015). "Why Lupita Nyong'o, Not Superheroes, Represents the Future of Disney". Vanity Fair. Retrieved August 16, 2015. 
  7. ^ "Toronto To Open With 'The Magnificent Seven'; 'La La Land', 'Deepwater Horizon' Among Galas & Presentations". Deadline Hollywood. July 26, 2016. Retrieved July 26, 2016. 
  8. ^ Siegel, Tatiana (April 8, 2016). "Disney's David Oyelowo Drama, 'Queen of Katwe,' Gets Release Date". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 27, 2015. 
  9. ^ Gitau, Elly (May 11, 2015). "Uganda: Maurice Kirya to Star Alongside Lupita Nyong'o in Queen of Katwe". The Star. Retrieved August 16, 2015. 
  10. ^ Levs, Josh (December 10, 2012). "From slum life to Disney film: Ugandan teen chess star 'the ultimate underdog'". CNN. 
  11. ^ Rainey, James. "Tendo Nagenda Named Executive VP of Production at Disney". Variety. Retrieved August 7, 2016. 
  12. ^ a b c Watercutter, Angela (September 30, 2016). "The Inside Story Behind Disney's 'Radical' Queen of Katwe". Wired. Retrieved October 2, 2016. 
  13. ^ Sperling, Nicole (September 2, 2016). "Queen of Katwe: Watch Phiona gets the best of her chess partner in first match". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved September 5, 2016. 
  14. ^ a b c Sulcas, Roslyn (September 8, 2016). "'Queen of Katwe' Makes Moves on a Ugandan Chessboard". The New York Times. Retrieved September 11, 2016. 
  15. ^ McKittrick, Christopher (September 30, 2016). "Queen of Katwe: Expanding What a Disney Film Can Be". Creative Screenwriting. Retrieved September 30, 2016. 
  16. ^ Sperling, Nicole (September 15, 2016). "Queen of Katwe: The return of Lupita Nyong'o". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved September 13, 2016. 
  17. ^ Pallotta, Frank (September 12, 2016). "David Oyelowo and Lupita Nyong'o talk Oscars diversity and 'Queen of Katwe'". CNN. Retrieved September 13, 2016. 
  18. ^ Whipp, Glenn (September 10, 2016). "With 'A United Kingdom' and 'Queen of Katwe,' David Oyelowo continues his mission of inclusion". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 13, 2016. 
  19. ^ Schneller, Johanna (September 9, 2016). "Disney could be looking at Oscar buzz for 'transcendent' film Queen of Katwe". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved September 13, 2016. 
  20. ^ Gettell, Oliver (January 5, 2016). "Disney unveils first look at Lupita Nyong'o in The Queen of Katwe". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved January 7, 2016. 
  21. ^ Sefa-Boakye, Jennifer (March 31, 2015). "Lupita Nyong'o Is Filming Disney's 'Queen Of Katwe' Chess Biopic In Uganda With David Oyelowo". OkayAfrica. Retrieved August 16, 2015. 
  22. ^ Gerard, Jermey (July 30, 2015). "Lupita Nyong'o Sets New York Stage Debut In Public Theater's 'Eclipsed'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 16, 2015. 
  23. ^ a b Bhatia, Uday. "From Kampala, with love – Director Mira Nair on her new film, the challenge of shooting chess and making a film in what has been her home for the last 27 years". Live Mint. Retrieved September 16, 2016. 
  24. ^ GANTT, DEIDRE (September 7, 2016). "Meet Tendo Nagenda: Disney Exec and Mastermind behind 'Queen of Katwe'". Face2FaceAfrica. Retrieved September 17, 2016. 
  25. ^ "Oyenbot played Lupita's double". Daily Monitor, Uganda. Retrieved 28 May 2016. 
  26. ^ "Alex Heffes to Score Mira Nair's 'Queen of Katwe'". Film Music Reporter. January 16, 2016. Retrieved January 29, 2016. 
  27. ^ Schweiger, Daniel (May 24, 2016). "Interview with Alex Heffes". Film Music Magazine. Archived from the original on September 27, 2016. Retrieved September 27, 2016. 
  28. ^ Lawrence, Derek (August 31, 2016). "Queen of Katwe story inspired Alicia Keys to write a new song". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved September 13, 2016. 
  29. ^ "Queen of Katwe (2016)". Soundtrack.Net. Retrieved September 27, 2016. 
  30. ^ "Queen of Katwe (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)". iTunes. September 23, 2016. Retrieved September 25, 2016. 
  31. ^ "Queen of Katwe (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) [Deluxe Edition]". iTunes. September 23, 2016. Retrieved September 25, 2016. 
  32. ^ Desta, Yohana (26 July 2016). "TIFF 2016: Magnificent Seven, Loving, and More Announced for Festival Lineupl". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 26 July 2016. 
  33. ^ Czachor, Emily Mae (September 21, 2016). "Cast and Crew Celebrate 'Queen of Katwe' as "a Love Letter to Uganda" at Disney Film's Premiere". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 25, 2016. 
  34. ^ Cox, Gordon. "'Queen of Katwe' Leads the Slate at 2016 Urbanworld Film Festival". Variety. Retrieved 25 August 2016. 
  35. ^ "'Queen of Katwe' Ugandan premiere set for October 1". The Insider. September 6, 2016. Archived from the original on October 10, 2016. Retrieved October 9, 2016. 
  36. ^ "Queen of Katwe Premiers in Joburg". The New Age. 6 October 2016. Retrieved 9 October 2016. 
  37. ^ Barraclough, Leo (13 July 2016). "Lupita Nyong'o's 'Queen of Katwe' to Make European Debut at London Film Festival". Variety. Retrieved 13 July 2016. 
  38. ^ "Queen of Katwe". FICM. Retrieved 9 October 2016. 
  39. ^ "Queen of Katwe". Golden Horse. Retrieved 13 October 2016. 
  40. ^ "Queen of Katwe". Brisbane Asia Pacific Film Festival. Retrieved 3 November 2016. 
  41. ^ Queen of Katwe's Official Website, November 18, 2016 
  42. ^ a b D'Alessandro, Anthony (September 25, 2016). "'Magnificent Seven's $35M Opening A Career Best For Antoine Fuqua; 'Storks' At $21.8M – Sunday AM B.O. Final Update". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 25, 2016. 
  43. ^ "'Miss Peregrine' Enrolls Moviegoers On Thursday Night – Box Office". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 30, 2016. 
  44. ^ Lawson, Richard (September 11, 2016). "Queen of Katwe Is a Bright and Inspiring Success – Mira Nair has returned to form with this piquant Disney movie". Vanity Fair. Retrieved September 18, 2016. 
  45. ^ Berkshire, Geoff (September 10, 2016). "Toronto Film Review: 'Queen of Katwe'". Variety. Retrieved September 18, 2016. 
  46. ^ "Queen of Katwe (2016)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved June 22, 2018. 
  47. ^ "Queen of Katwe Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved December 18, 2016. 
  48. ^ Nordyke, Kimberly (December 12, 2016). "'Moonlight' Named Best Picture by the African American Film Critics Association". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 12, 2016. 
  49. ^ Chima, Chidi (May 14, 2017). "AMAA 2017: Akin Omotoso's Vaya grabs ten nominations, Queen of Katwe, '76 get eight". The Cable Lifestyle. Retrieved May 14, 2017. 
  50. ^ Merin, Jennifer (December 16, 2016). "2016 AWFJ EDA Award Nominees". Alliance of Women Film Journalists. Retrieved December 17, 2016. 
  51. ^ McCue, Michelle (December 16, 2016). "'Arrival', 'La La Land', 'Hell or High Water' Among The Nominees for the 2016 AWFJ EDA Awards". WeAreMovieGeeks.com. Retrieved December 17, 2016. 
  52. ^ Davis, Clayton (December 14, 2016). "Black Reel Award Nominees – 'Moonlight' Leads with 13 Nominations". AwardsCircuit.com. Retrieved December 15, 2016. 
  53. ^ "La La Land Leads with 12 Nominations for the 22nd Annual Critics' Choice Awards". Critics' Choice. December 1, 2016. Retrieved December 1, 2016. 
  54. ^ Moore, William (November 17, 2016). "Evening Standard British Film Awards - The Longlist". London Evening Standard. Retrieved November 29, 2016. 
  55. ^ "Golden Tomato Awards - Best of 2016". Rotten Tomatoes. 12 January 2017. 
  56. ^ "'Moonlight' and 'Love and Friendship' Lead London Film Critics'". The Hollywood Reporter. December 20, 2016. Retrieved December 20, 2016. 
  57. ^ Hipes, Patrick (December 13, 2016). "NAACP Image Awards: Nate Parker & Donald Glover Lead Film & TV Noms; Beyonce Tops Field". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 13, 2016. 
  58. ^ "Home ACADEMY NEWS EWAN MCGREGOR, CATHERINE ZETA JONES, MICHAEL FASSBENDER, SHANA SWASH, & DANIEL RADCLIFFE lead NATIONAL FILM AWARDS UK 2017". Retrieved 1 February 2017. 
  59. ^ "TIFF People's Choice Award cements La La Land in Oscar race—The festival also released its full list of winners". Entertainment Week. September 18, 2016. Retrieved September 18, 2016. 
  60. ^ "Women Film Critics Circle Nominations: "Hidden Figures," "13th," & More". Women And Hollywood. December 19, 2016. Retrieved December 15, 2016. 

External links[edit]