London Film Festival: David Oyelowo's 'Queen of Katwe' to Get European Premiere

Courtesy of YouTube
'Queen of Katwe'

The film, about a Ugandan chess champion, also stars Lupita Nyong'o.

The London Film Festival has only named two films thus far for its upcoming 60th edition in October, and both star David Oyelowo.

Following up from the announcement that A United Kingdom will kick off the festival on Oct. 5, organizers on Wednesday revealed that Disney's Queen of Katwe will have its European premiere on Oct. 9.

The film, directed by Mira Nair and starring Oyelowo, Lupita Nyong'o and newcomer Madina Nalwanga, tells the true story of a young girl in rural Uganda whose world is turned around after she is introduced to the game of chess and goes on to become an international champion.

"It makes me very proud that the European premiere of Queen of Katwe, a film so close to my heart, and set in my hometown of Kampala, will take place at the BFI London Film Festival," said Mair, who has seen six of her previous films screened at the festival, starting with Salaam Bombay! back in 1998. "I have so many fond memories of London. We are proud to be back."

The announcement comes ahead of the BFI's Black Star season, celebrating the "range, versatility and power of black actors on film and TV," which is set to be unveiled later today and will run from Oct. 17 to the end of the year.

"Queen of Katwe beautifully illustrates a thing I know to be true but rarely see in films," said Oyelowo. "Africa is teeming with amazing people who in spite of their, at times, difficult lives, manage to remain full of joy and hope. This is a story where the impossible is made possible through family, mentorship, encouragement, hard work, and faith, all things we can aspire to. It is a story that speaks to anyone and everyone, and I am so proud to have it screen in my hometown as part of the BFI London Film Festival."

Directed by Nair from a screenplay by William Wheeler, Queen of Katwe was produced by Lydia Dean Pilcher and John Carls, with Will Weiske and Troy Buder serving as executive producers. It is set for release Nov. 4 in the U.K.

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