Fun Facts from Queen of Katwe Director Mira Nair #queenofkatweevent


During my recent visit to LA for the Queen of Katwe Premiere trip, we got to have a sit down with Mira and it was incredible. You can tell she’s an artist by the way she speaks, and the way she paints an image with her words for you to see. She’s a born storyteller and I’m honored to have met her.

Here’s a bit of what we learned from Queen of Katwe Director Mira Nair:


  • Mira Nair is an ex-pat, living in Uganda since the early 90s!
  • She founded a film school in Uganda, and knew Lupita from her school years before this film was being made
  • While she doesn’t play chess, her son (I told you about him) is a competitive chess player!
  • She’s a wicked gardener, and bonded with Harriet through gardening (the woman played by Lupita Nyong’o in the film)
  • Mira lives just one town over from Katwe where Phiona lives and Queen of Katwe was shot



  • Mira, having such close ties to the area, was certain to ensure that Disney maintained a green set while in Uganda
  • She was an advocate for having the children that were cast, be local children for authenticity’s sake
  • Casting Phiona was a long process that stretched as far at the UK… but they finally found their Phiona right in town.
  • Wardrobe from the film was entirely from neighboring town Kampala, which is a hub for used clothing from all over the world
  • Disney is giving back to Katwe via an educational center as well as improving on the chess programs currently in place
  • Mira loved working with the local children and non-actors for their fresh, raw, natural emotions and talent
  • Mira got very creative with filming each chess game in the film. (FYI: She ended up creating chess games that felt like sports)

The stars truly aligned perfectly for the Queen of Katwe film to come together. Lupita and the cast are amazing….but Mira Nair…and her passion for the people of and the country of Uganda…and ensuring it coming to life on film in the best possible light… it makes this film something extra special. Go. See. It. Tomorrow!!! (I told you how amazing it was already!)

Want a little peek? OK FINE!


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