Oscar nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave) stepped behind the camera for the feature film adaptation of The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, making his directorial debut with the project. Ejiofor also adapted the bestselling memoir by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer and co-stars alongside newcomer Maxwell Simba in the drama which has just been acquired by Netflix.
Netflix picked up the global rights (excluding Japan, China and UK free TV rights) and is targeting a 2019 release in limited theaters.
“William’s story represents, what has to be, the future in countries like Malawi: developing countries, overflowing with beauty and harboring enormous potential,” explained Chiwetel Ejiofor. “A global story, such as this, requires a global platform and I’m thrilled to be working with Netflix on bringing William’s extraordinary tale of determination and inventiveness to audiences worldwide.”
“Chiwetel brings incredible passion and skill as a filmmaker to this moving and impactful story about a young boy who uses his heart and mind equally to help better his community. We need this kind of story now more than ever, and we’re excited to continue the partnership with Netflix that started with Beasts of No Nation and continued with ROMA to bring this new film to audiences around the world,” stated Jonathan King, President of Film and Television for Participant Media.
Filming took place in Malawai. The film’s backed by Netflix, Participant Media, BBC Films, BFI present, Head Gear Films & Metrol Technology, Lipsync, Cornerstone Films, and Potboiler Production.
In addition to Chiwetel Ejiofor and Maxwell Simba, the cast includes Aïssa Maïga (Anything for Alice), Lily Banda, Lemogang Tsipa (Eye in the Sky), Philbert Falakeza, Joseph Marcell (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air), and Noma Dumezweni (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child).
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind Plot:
“The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind follows 13-year-old William Kamkwamba (newcomer Maxwell Simba) who is thrown out of the school he loves when his family can no longer afford the fees. Sneaking back into the school library, he finds a way, using the bones of the bicycle belonging to his father Trywell (Chiwetel Ejiofor), to build a windmill which then saves his Malawian village from famine. The emotional journey of a father and his exceptional son at its heart, William’s tale captures the incredible determination of a boy whose inquisitive mind overcame every obstacle in his path.
The film highlights the power of education and individual determination to change the trajectory of a life, a village and a nation. By telling the story of one boy’s efforts to overcome the barriers he faces to education, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind inspires audiences to imagine a future where every child, in every village, has access to knowledge and to opportunities to put that knowledge to work.”