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Earlier this year it was announced that a film based on a book about Uganda’s chess prodigy Phiona Mutesi – Queen of Katwe – is in the works with Disney. The story follows a young girl that comes from nothing to become a national chess champion.

From living in the streets in the slums of Katwe to learning chess in a Sports Outreach Institute missionary program to becoming one of her nation’s top chess players competing in international competitions, Phiona triumphs  A  long way from the 9-year old girl who innocently followed her brothers into town looking for a bowl of porridge, she is an inspiration to millions, and especially to youngsters in a nation where girls are particularly marginalized.

Shot on location in Uganda and South Africa, the film version is directed by internationally-acclaimed filmmaker Mira Nair, with actors including golden girl Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years A Slave) and Selma’s leading man David Oyelowo. Nyong’o (who is also starring in Disney’s upcoming Jungle Book and Star Wars) plays Phiona’s mother, Harriet and Oyelowo plays her coach and mentor.

“I signed up for Queen of Katwe within ten minutes of reading the script, because this film is a very real circumstance of the need to dig yourself out of a hole,” Oyleowo said.

At the Disney D23 Expo this weekend, Nyong’o spoke about how excited she is for audiences to see the upcoming film:

So looking forward to this film. Find out more about the story below:

The “astonishing” (The New York Times Book Review) and “inspirational” (Shelf Awareness) true story of Phiona Mutesi—a teenage chess prodigy from the slums of Uganda.

Photo: Lupita Nyong’o & ‘Queen Of Katwe’ director Mira Nair (via @lupitanyongo)

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