Netflix has acquired global rights for Chiwetel Ejiofor’s directorial debut The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, which the Oscar-nominated actor also adapted from the book of the same name by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer.
Netflix also shared this synopsis for the film:
Adapted from the bestselling book by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer, 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.
Production started on The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind last year in Malawi. The film is based on a 2009 autobiography following Kamkwamba’s childhood, during which he built a wind turbine from spare bicycle parts to provide for his village in Malawi when he was just 13.
“William’s story represents, what has to be, the future in countries like Malawi: developing countries, overflowing with beauty and harboring enormous potential,” said Ejiofor in a statement. “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.”
In addition to newcomer Maxwell Simba as 13-year-old William Kamkwamba and Ejiofor, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind also stars 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).
The film comes from Potboiler Productions, and is a co-production between Netflix, Participant Media, BBC Films and BFI, in association with Head Gear Films & Metrol Technology, Lipsync and Cornerstone Films. Potboiler Productions’ Andrea Calderwood and Gail Egan produced, along with executive producers Joe Oppenheimer, Rose Garnett, Natascha Wharton, Jeff Skoll, Jonathan King, Phil Hunt, Compton Ross, Peter Hampden and Norman Merry.
Next year, Ejiofor is also set to lead Disney’s live-action The Lion King as the voice of Scar, opposite Donald Glover and Beyoncé.
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind launches in 2019 on Netflix, and in select U.S. and U.K. theaters.