Film - BFI London Film Festival Premieres

Queen Of Katwe

The 60th BFI London Film Festival is to present the European Premiere of Queen Of Katwe, while A United Kingdom announces a wider release ...

The 60th BFI London Film Festival has announced that Queen Of Katwe will receive its European Premiere on Sunday 9 October at the Odeon Leicester Square, screening in the Festival’s prestigious headline gala section. The film stars Golden Globe nominee David Oyelowo, Oscar winner and Tony Award nominee Lupita Nyong’o and newcomer Madina Nalwanga, who will attend with director Mira Nair.

Queen Of Katwe is the vibrant true story of a young girl, Phiona Mutesi (Nalwanga) selling corn on the streets of rural Uganda whose world rapidly changes when she is introduced to the game of chess by Robert Katende (Oyelowo) a soccer player turned missionary. As a result of the support she receives from her mother Harriet (Nyong’o), family and community, Phiona is instilled with the confidence and determination she needs to pursue her dream of becoming an international chess champion.

Director Mira Nair, spoke about the news “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. I have so many fond memories of London. We are proud to be back.”

David Oyelowo said of the film, “Queen Of Katwe beautifully illustrates a thing I know to be true but rarely see in films. 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.”

Clare Stewart, BFI London Film Festival Director, added “Queen Of Katwe is an inspirational story, directed with vision and heart by Mira Nair and featuring performances of great depth and integrity from David Oyelowo, Lupita Nyong’o and newcomer Madina Nalwanga. We are proud to be announcing its European premiere to coincide with the launch of the BFI’s Black Star season.”

Directed by Mira Nair from a screenplay by William Wheeler, Queen Of Katwe is produced by Lydia Dean Pilcher, p.g.a. and John Carls, p.g.a. with Will Weiske and Troy Buder serving as executive producers.

Queen Of Katwe is the seventh film directed by Mira Nair to be presented at the Festival, following Salaam Bombay! (1988), Mississippi Masala (1991), Monsoon Wedding (2001), Vanity Fair (2004), Namesake (2006) and The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2012).


David Oyelowo also stars in A United Kingdom, the BFI London Film Festival’s opening night film with its European premiere on 5th October, and now set to open on 25 November 2016 at cinemas across the UK and Ireland through Pathé. This film tells the true story of Seretse Khama, King of Bechuanaland (modern Botswana), and Ruth Williams, the London office worker he married in 1947 in the face of fierce opposition from their families and the British and South African governments.

A United Kingdom is directed by Asante (Belle) from a screenplay by Guy Hibbert (Eye in the Sky), based on the book Colour Bar by Susan Williams. The cast is led by David Oyelowo (Selma) as Seretse Khama, with Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl) playing his future wife Ruth Williams. Other cast includes Jack Davenport (Pirates of the Caribbean), Terry Pheto (Mandela), Tom Felton (Harry Potter), Arnold Oceng (Adulthood), Jack Lowden (’71) and Laura Carmichael (Downton Abbey).

The film is produced by Rick McCallum (Star Wars), David Oyelowo, Justin Moore-Lewy, Brunson Green (The Help) and Charlie Mason. The film is executive produced by Pathé’s Cameron McCracken, BBC Films' Christine Langan, the BFI’s Ben Roberts, Ingenious Media’s Eleanor Clark Windo and Guy Hibbert.

The 60th BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express® takes place from Wednesday 5 October-Sunday 16 October 2016. The full Festival programme will be announced on Thursday 1 September 2016.

Images - BFI & Image.net