Phiona Mutesi's inspiring true story will play out on the big screen in Disney's Queen of Katwe, starring Lupita Nyong'o and David Oyelowo. The first trailer for the film was released Tuesday.
To make ends meet in the slum of Katwe in Kampala, Uganda, the 10-year-old girl (played by newcomer Madina Nalwanga) sells corn on the streets. Her life changes forever when she meets Robert Katende (Oyelowo), a soccer player-turned-missionary who is teaching the local children chess in hopes of giving them confidence and life skills.
Katende realizes that Phiona is a chess prodigy, and the entire community rallies behind her, giving her the confidence and determination she needs to succeed.
Phiona's story is one of the ultimate underdog, ESPN the Magazine wrote in a 2011 profile of Phiona: "To be African is to be an underdog in the world. To be Ugandan is to be an underdog in Africa. To be from Katwe is to be an underdog in Uganda. And finally, to be female is to be an underdog in Katwe."
Despite all odds, Phiona went on to play in the Olympiad against the chess players in the world -- many of them adults.
Nyong'o, who plays her mother, Harriet, tweeted that she was excited to share the story, which she says proves the power of dreams.
The real Phiona has also spoken about how important it was for her to believe in herself, and the advice she'd give aspiring chess players would be to do just that.
"You need to be patient, and you need to be a hard-working person," she told ESPN, "and you need to have hope."
Queen of Katwe hits theaters September 23, 2016.
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