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Friday
Sep092016

Disney's 'Queen of Katwe' is Key Player in Lineup of African Films at Urbanworld 

The Urbanworld Film Festival, which celebrates its 20th Anniversary this month, is known for showcasing hearty stories about communities of color in all corners of the world including the Caribbean and Latin America. This year is no different with its centerpiece screening of Queen of Katwe starring Oscar winning actress Lupita Nyong’o and Golden Globe® nominee David Oyelowo.

Presented by Disney, this sports drama is based on the true story of a young girl named Phiona who sold vegetables on the streets of an impoverished slum in Uganda.

Phiona's world changes when she meets a mentor and pursues her dream of becoming a world chess champion.

Festivalgoers who plan to attend the Queen of Katwe screening are in for a treat. Not only because you get to see this movie before it hits theaters; in the company of the filmmakers and industry creatives like Selma director Ava DuVernay, Awkward Black Girl creator Issa Rae, Love & Basketball star Sanaa Lathan and The Secret Life of Bees director Gina Prince-Bythewood. You can make a day of it, as 'Queen of Katwe' sits among an assorted group of narrative feature films from Africa playing at Urbanworld, which runs September 21-25, 2016.

In Leila Djansi's Like Cotton Twines, an English teacher in Ghana named Micah learns that one of his 13 year-old female students is being forced to drop out of school to become a Trokosi – the practice of religious sexual slavery. Micah must battle church and state to help her get away from this practice. The U.S. Premiere of Hamadi Mwapachu's Dar Noir, from Tanzania, brings audiences the story of a narcotics cop who is addicted to heroin. He finds redemption and a future in a working girl who sees in him the potential of a a gentle, loving man.

Urbanworld is also the place to catch the U.S. Premiere for Gidi Blues, a Nigerian film about an affluent playboy named Akin whose world is unraveled when he meets an unusual lady who devotes her time to volunteering in a city slum.

The trailer of Gidi Blues plays like a romantic comedy, which adds a nice contrast to serious tones of Dar Noir and Like Cotton Twines. When added to the hopeful and triumphant tale of Queen of Katwe, it looks like Urbanworld has wrapped up a nice little package of African Cinema in what is shaping up to be a momentous occasion for the festival and moviegoers hungry for quality and substance in their entertainment.

Showtimes, Tickets and Movie Trailers:

Like Cotton Twines - AMC Empire Theater 10 - Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016 - 5:00 PM

Queen of Katwe - AMC Empire Theater 13 - Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016 - 7:45 PM

Dar Noir - AMC Empire Theater 10 - Thursday - Sept. 22, 2016 - 9:45 PM

Gidi Blues - AMC Empire Theater 12 - Saturday - Sept. 24, 2016 - 2:15 PM

How well do YOU know how to play chess?

Have YOU read Tim Crothers book about Phiona Mutesi?

Which region would YOU say has the most anticipated films....East Africa (Uganda & Tanzania) or West Africa (Ghana & Nigeria)?

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Reader Comments (2)

I do not know how to play chess myself, but my daughter was recently introduced to it - she's part of an after school program called Un-Included where the emphasize being un-included from a lot of negative imagery and presented with a variety of positive outlets - and it seems she's taking to it. I look forward to taking her to see Queen of Katwe when it is available nationwide.

The other movies mentioned sound just as interesting and intriguing.

September 9, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAngela Brown

Angela,
It's great that there are outlets such as your daughter's after-school program that introduce children and teens to the wide range of possibilities and positive experiences they can have in the world. You and I are in the same boat when it comes to the game of chess. I played it a few times but didn't do well. Can you believe I wasn't very familiar with Queen of Katwe until I started reading up on several movies to write this roundup?! I'm so glad to see movies with strong female leads getting mainstream support and wide distribution.

Of all the fil!ms from East and West Africa on the list, Gidi Blues looks like it might be the most fun to watch. Of course I'm basing that statement solely on the premise and movie trailer. Thank you for commenting on this piece :)

September 13, 2016 | Registered CommenterNicole
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