*Chiwetel Ejiofor will play both sides of the camera for his next project, an adaptation of the book “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind” that he will both star in and direct.
Backed by Participant Media, BBC Films and the BFI, the as-yet-untitled film has begun production in Malawi and serves as the Oscar-nominated actor’s directorial debut.
Ejiofor has adapted William Kamkwamba’s autobiography, which tells the life-changing story of how the author helped save his village as a 13-year-old by constructing a wind turbine from bits of scrap metal, old bicycle parts and wood.
“William’s story represents what has to be the future in countries like Malawi: developing countries, overflowing with beauty, and with potential which simply needs access to opportunity in order to be fully unleashed, Ejiofor stated. “William’s determination and inventiveness created something that not only meant the end of the ‘hungry season’ for his community, it also catapulted him into a future where all his potential could be realized.”
The film follows 13-year-old 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 (Ejiofor), to build a windmill which then saves his 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. Key themes from the film aim to raise awareness around environmental sustainability and the power of education.
“I want this to be a film that allows people to see that Malawi, and the world, will be all the better for everything William and those like him are able to contribute when they have the opportunities they urgently need to carve out their own extraordinary destinies,” Ejiofor said.