Seems like Netflix is on a spending spree again, and this time it has picked up the directional debut of Oscar nominee and BAFTA winner Chiwetel Ejiofor.
Ejiofor, known for 12 Years a Slave, scripted The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind, which is based on a book of the same name by Malawian innovator William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer.
The film and the book follow the life of Kamkwamba who taught himself how to create a windmill to power his home. He used local tools to create the turbine, which garnered the attention of the nation and later international media and his fame skyrocketed.
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Kamwamba’s motivation was the famine that ravaged his village forcing him to drop out of school. That there existed turbines and windmills that changed people’s lives was the push that he needed to create his turbine. He sneaked back to school, going to the library to teach himself build the windmill, which then transforms his village.
According to Netflix’s description of the movie, “The film highlights the power of education and individual determination to change the trajectory of a life,” and 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”.
His inspiring life story caught the eye of Ejiofor who said:
“William’s story represents, what has to be, the future in countries like Malawi: developing countries, overflowing with beauty and harboring enormous potential. 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.”
Netflix has the global rights (excluding Japan, China and UK free TV right) of the film which stars Maxwell Simba, as 14-year-old Kamwamba, alongside Ejiofor. It also features Aïssa Maïga (Anything for Alice), Lily Banda, Lemogang Tsipa (Eye in the Sky) and Philbert Falakeza, with Joseph Marcell (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) and Noma Dumezweni (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child).
Jonathan King, President of Film and Television for Participant Media, expressed his excitement in working with Netflix, saying that such stories are needed now more than ever.
“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,” he said.
The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind, filmed in Malawi in 2017, is set to debut on Netflix in 2019 and across select theatres in the U.S. and the UK.