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Disney movie magic comes to life for Durham man

Posted August 26
Updated August 29

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— A Durham man with no Hollywood experience did something that very few have done before: He bought the rights to a story and sold it to Disney.

Now, seven years later, Disney is turning the story into a movie.

By day, Troy Buder manages the portfolios of high-wealth clients from his office in Durham. But by night, he's a movie producer.

It all started when Buder got involved with an international soccer ministry and learned about a chess program in Uganda that changed children's lives.

"Three young children, 8, 10 and 12 years old, became international chess champions," Buder said. "I heard about the story, and I thought, 'That's an absolutely incredible story.'"

With no media experience, Buder bought the rights to the story in 2009. Then, local author Tim Crothers wrote an article in ESPN Magazine. That article became a book, published in 2012, and now the "Queen of Katwe" is coming to the big screen.

Disney is scheduled to release the movie next month.

For Buder, it's the culmination of years of hard work.

"God circumnavigated the most typical routes and took me from Durham, NC to partnering with Disney and get five years of on-the-job training," Buder said.

As he prepares for a worldwide tour to promote "Queen of Katwe," Buder says he's ready to produce more stories that inspire.

"There's a redemptive hook, there's a transformational conduit in the movie that people leave the theater and go, 'What about my life? How am I doing? What am I doing to benefit the lives of others?'" Buder said.

Buder now hopes "Queen of Katwe" is the start of something big—and good.

"Queen of Katwe" features Oscar winner Lupita Nyong'o. It will appear in theaters in late September.

Buder says Capitol Broadcasting Company president Jim Goodmon was an early supporter of his project.

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