Queen of Katwe Receives Standing Ovation in Toronto

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By Andrew Kaggwa

The Queen Of Katwe premiere in Kampala has been set for October 1. But like the other hugely-successful movie about Uganda, Last King of Scotland, which won Forest Whittaker an Oscar, Queen Of Katwe had a special screening at the Toronto International Film festival (TIFF) last Saturday and will make rounds at cinemas in New York to limited audiences before a world premiere on September 23.

The audience at the Saturday screening loved the film; in fact, according to rogerebert.com, there was a standing ovation to the cast, crew and the real life Phiona

Mutesi and Robert Katende, who were part of the audience.

Mutesi, a chess prodigy from the Katwe slums in Kampala, and her coach Katende inspired the movie starring Lupita Nyong’o and David Oyelowo. By Sunday, the reviews were trickling in and the film is already triggering speculations of a second Oscar for Nyong’o, who two years ago struck gold with Twelve Years A Slave.

With Queen Of Katwe director Mira Nair has also redeemed herself. The Guardian praised Queen Of Katwe as the new Slumdog Millionaire.

“In fact for what is, in essence, a by-numbers Disney sports flick, there’s endless freshness and vivacity to Mira Nair’s picture – her best in years. The Slumdog settings are eye-poppingly well shot by Sean Bobbitt, and though it’s hard to attest to their authenticity, urban Africa is rarely this intimately drawn.”

The film is exciting Ugandans; last week, singer/actor in the film Maurice Kirya posted about being thankful about working on the film.

Bobi Wine noted that his song Ndi Muna-Uganda was the opening song of the film, adding that his other song, Kiwani is the only song that is not in the film compiled on the official soundtrack album. He ended the post with a veiled attack on Uganda’s “so-called international” artistes.

But much of the light is on Alicia Keys’ Back To Life that many have already tipped for an Oscar too. The American star last week tweeted that Mutesi’s story was so moving, it inspired her to pen the song.

The movie’s soundtrack is dominated by Ugandans with A-Pass having songs such as Tuli Ku Bigere, Wuuyo and Kyempulira; others on the album include Karim Saava, Eddy Kenzo, Afrigo band and British maestro, Michael Kiwanuka, among others.

Source: The Observer (Kampala)

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