Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Review: Nzingha Stewart Guides Lifetime's 'With This Ring' (Premieres Saturday, January 24th) Review: Nzingha Stewart Guides Lifetime's 'With This Ring' (Premieres Saturday, January 24th) Here Are 10 Reasons Why Many of You Aren't Going to Movie Theaters Anymore, According to a New Study Here Are 10 Reasons Why Many of You Aren't Going to Movie Theaters Anymore, According to a New Study 'Empire' Breaks Fox TV’s 22 Year Old Ratings Record 'Empire' Breaks Fox TV’s 22 Year Old Ratings Record Alexandra Shipp Has been Cast as Storm in 'X-Men: Apocalypse' Alexandra Shipp Has been Cast as Storm in 'X-Men: Apocalypse' Open Casting Call - 2 Male Leads in New Feature Film From the Producers of 'Pariah' & 'Yelling to the Sky' Open Casting Call - 2 Male Leads in New Feature Film From the Producers of 'Pariah' & 'Yelling to the Sky' "Stakes Is High" in First Trailer for Season 2 of STARZ Hit Drama Series 'Power' (Returns This Summer) "Stakes Is High" in First Trailer for Season 2 of STARZ Hit Drama Series 'Power' (Returns This Summer) An Open Letter to My Sister, Ava DuVernay An Open Letter to My Sister, Ava DuVernay American 'Luther' Gets Official Pilot Order at Fox, But Contingent on Cast. Let's Help Them Out... American 'Luther' Gets Official Pilot Order at Fox, But Contingent on Cast. Let's Help Them Out... Anthony Mackie Says 'Selma' Oscar Snub Is Because Voters Are "Tired of Race" Anthony Mackie Says 'Selma' Oscar Snub Is Because Voters Are "Tired of Race" Sundance Trailer Exclusive: Stanley Nelson's Timely 'The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution' Sundance Trailer Exclusive: Stanley Nelson's Timely 'The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution' Geeks Gone Wild in First Trailer for Rick Famuyiwa's Sundance-Bound Drama 'Dope' Geeks Gone Wild in First Trailer for Rick Famuyiwa's Sundance-Bound Drama 'Dope' These Movies Are Coming to Netflix's Streaming Library in February These Movies Are Coming to Netflix's Streaming Library in February Bill Duke's 'Dark Girls' Follow-up, 'Light Girls,' Premieres Tonight on OWN. Watch 3 Clips Bill Duke's 'Dark Girls' Follow-up, 'Light Girls,' Premieres Tonight on OWN. Watch 3 Clips Amazon Announces Plans to Disrupt Feature Film Production & Distribution Environment Amazon Announces Plans to Disrupt Feature Film Production & Distribution Environment Watch Teaser for 'Being Mary Jane' Season 2 + Details on Story, Guest Stars Watch Teaser for 'Being Mary Jane' Season 2 + Details on Story, Guest Stars Macy Gray, Bryshere Y. Gray (aka Yazz The Greatest) Will Have An Affair In Lee Daniels' 'Empire' Macy Gray, Bryshere Y. Gray (aka Yazz The Greatest) Will Have An Affair In Lee Daniels' 'Empire' It's A 'Hustle & Flow' Reunion! Taraji P. Henson Joins Terrence Howard In Lee Daniels' 'Empire' It's A 'Hustle & Flow' Reunion! Taraji P. Henson Joins Terrence Howard In Lee Daniels' 'Empire' Lifetime Launches New Series Set In Elite World Of Hip-Hop Majorette Competitions (Watch Preview) Lifetime Launches New Series Set In Elite World Of Hip-Hop Majorette Competitions (Watch Preview) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie...

Disney Developing Feature Based On Life Of Ugandan Chess Prodigy Phiona Mutesi w/ Mira Nair Directing

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act August 14, 2013 at 6:17PM

In an interview with Newsweek Pakistan, Mira Nair revealed that she's working on a film on teenage Ugandan chess prodigy Phiona Mutesi.
1
The Queen of Katwe

In an interview with Newsweek Pakistan, Mira Nair revealed that she's working on a film on teenage Ugandan chess prodigy Phiona Mutesi.

Nair shares that the project is set up at Disney, although she doesn't give any further information on it, like how far along in the production process she is, or when the film can be expected.

Also known as "The Queen of Katwe," which is what the film is currently titled, Mutesi's story was the inspiration for a novel by Tim Crothers, titled, The Queen of Katwe: A Story of Life, Chess, and One Extraordinary Girl's Dream of Becoming a Grandmaster. She's also been the subject of short documentaries and news reports, capturing her inspiring story. I embedded one of them at the bottom of this post.

In case you're wondering about Mira Nair's Uganda connection, she founded Maisha Film Labs - a Uganda-based film training initiative (not-so unlike the Sundance Film Festival's filmmaker labs, or the IFP's filmmaker labs).

The goal of the Maisha Film Labs is to give aspiring filmmakers in the East African country the tools & knowledge to tell their own stories through film, which would then help foster a self-sustaining film industry in Uganda and vicinity, that will support and represent the interests of local audiences.

Mira Nair's award-winning 1991 film, Mississipi Masala (which starred Denzel Washington, by the way, and probably my favorite of all her films), was shot, on location, in Kampala, Uganda. And, it's also in Uganda, in 1988, where she met her husband, scholar, Mahmood Mamdani, while she was doing research for the film. 

She also lives there.

Nair recounts her mission in starting the film labs:

One so rarely sees any images from the African continent that even vaguely resemble what it is like to live here, or to struggle here -- the dignity and the power and the beauty of it... The enormous validation and entertainment one gets from seeing your own situation, and your own language, and your own struggle onscreen is a very powerful thing... If we don't tell our own stories, no one else will.

Familiar words to all of you I'm sure, given ongoing discussions we have on this site about doing just that - taking control of *our* images and stories, and countering those rather limited depictions of *us* created by others.

Nair hopes to produce what she calls a "top-flight local cinema culture," in a region with a vibrant oral storytelling tradition, but with few opportunities to translate those stories into film, and with few institutions offering formal technical training. You can say the same thing about a number of other African countries.

But we can only assume that it's with that same motivation and passion that Nair will tackle Phiona Mutesi's story on film. I'm also assuming that this will be a scripted work of historical fiction, and not a documentary.

No ETA on The Queen of Katwe yet, but I'm definitely anxious to see what Ms Nair cooks up.

If you'd like to buy Tim Crother's novel, click HERE.

Watch the short documentary on Mutesi below:


This article is related to: Mira Nair


Shadow & ActNewsletter