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Current Page: Entertainment | Friday, September 16, 2016
Disney's 'Queen of Katwe' on Life: Reset the Pieces and Play Again (Interview)

Disney's 'Queen of Katwe' on Life: Reset the Pieces and Play Again (Interview)

Harriet also tries to prevent one of her daughters, Night, from going down the wrong path with a man she feels is wrong for her, but Night doesn't listen and ultimately ends up pregnant and suddenly single.

In one way or another in "Queen of Katwe," many locals are trying to escape the slums of Kampala, seeking some kind of upward mobility, including Mr. Katunde. While he may live in a nice home, he is hoping for an engineering job to ensure a better upbringing for him and his wife's young daughter. During a job interview, however, he gets the cold shoulder from people higher up on the totem pole.

When he tries to get his children into the Uganda Chess Foundation tournament, Katunde is met with resistance from a tournament director who doesn't want children from the slums to participate, and considers the fact that they are not in school, which is a stipulation. Besides, the tournament costs four-thousand shillings per child. Surely Mr. Katende can't come up with the funds, the director figures. Mr. Katunde, however, quickly agrees that he'll come up with the cash as the director's only requirement and he slyly exits the office before the director can disagree.

To raise funds, Katende secretly plays soccer for money, despite his severe past injuries and objections from his wife. Meanwhile, he keeps working with his children in the slums, building up their chess acumen and within one year Phiona is beating even him.

The team brings back a local trophy and gains even more confidence.

At an international competition, however, Phiona falls short against her Canadian opponent and loses her faith. With some encouragement from Mr. Katunde she begins again.

"Sometimes the place you're used to is not the place you belong, he tells her. ... What matters is when you reset the pieces and play again."

This time the children fly to the Ugandan Chess Foundation tournament, many of them experiencing a flight for the first time. When they arrive they are intimidated by the better-dressed children who appear to be crisp and clean in contrast to their tattered clothing.

Phiona is in awe of the spacious facilities, and when they are served dinner some of the children fail to show a sense of decorum, grabbing at the plates of food.

At night, instead of sleeping in beds supplied with fresh linens and blankets, the children huddle on the floor as they are accustomed to do in their dirt-floor shacks back home in Kampala.

During competition, Phiona is ultimately paired with Uganda's reining champion and, after a grueling match of back and forth, Phiona defeats her opponent to claim the Ugandan Championship. She is welcomed home to the equivalent of a ticker tape parade with locals dancing in the streets cheering her on.

Phiona's biggest winning moment, however, is when she pulls her family from the slums and brings them to the new home she had promised her mother.

"Queen of Katwe" opens in theaters nationwide on Sept. 30.

Follow Kevin Porter on Facebook: kevin.porterFollow him on Twitter: @kevindonporter

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