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Chiwetel Ejiofor Adapting William Kamkwamba's 'The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind'

by Tambay A. Obenson
January 10, 2013 12:17 PM
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I was reading THIS news item on Deadline this morning, announcing that Chiwetel Ejiofor has left ICM Partners and signed with CAA, and almost missed the blurb at the very end of it stating that the revered thespian is currently adapting William Kamkwamba's book The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind.

News to me; we certainly haven't reported it, so consider this your notice. 

William Kamkwamba
William Kamkwamba

I remember first writing about William Kamkwamba back in 2009, during the early S&A days, on the old site. It was about a year ago when we learned and announced that, after much publicity, a book, and even a TED talk, he's was going to be the focus of a feature length documentary titled Moving Windmills.

The film, now titled William and the Windmill, is currently in post-production, with an expected premiere date this year.

A brief recap of his story...

When he was just 14 years old, Malawian William Kamkwamba built his family an electricity-generating windmill from spare parts, working from rough plans he found in a library book. Thanks to the attention he received around the world for his efforts, he co-wrote a book about the experience, encouraging global investment in alternate natural energy sources. The book titled, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, was published in 2009, and you can find it on sites like Amazon.

Boy Who Harnessed The Wind

The upcoming documentary film follows William from this early invention to present day; the filmmakers (Ben Nabors and Tom Rielly) say that they've been working with and following William for almost 5 years now. Principal photography was finished in late 2011, and the filmmakers took to Kickstarter to raise finishing funds necessary to complete post-production. And as of January of last year, they were able to raise almost 3 times what they asked for! Their original campaign was to raise $40,000; they ended up raising over $111,000! Nice! Obviously support was strong with this one.

I should mention that there was actually a short film version of William's story, also made by Nabors and Rielly, which played the film festival circuit in 2008 and won a number of awards, which I'm sure all helped in the production of the feature doc. I imagine it'll likely premiering on the film festival circuit.

As for Chiwetel Ejiofor's scripted fictional adaptation of Kamkwamba's book, no word on where exactly it stands currently, or when we can expect to see it. I also wonder what his role in it will be - assuming he even acts in it. He certainly can't play William Kamkwamba, who's 25 years old.

But stay tuned... now that we're aware of it, we'll be watching...

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  • ALM | January 11, 2013 9:34 PMReply

    Chiwetel= Yes!!!!

  • starry118 | January 11, 2013 5:35 PMReply

    Ejiofor is one of my favorite actors...definitely hope this move translates into more projects for him. I'm looking forward to seeing this film he's developing.

  • Tom Rielly | January 11, 2013 11:11 AMReply

    To clarify, Ben Nabors is finishing up producing and directing the documentary, William and his Windmill, and Chiwetel is prepping a narrative feature based on The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. They are separate but extremely complementary projects.

  • Donella | January 11, 2013 6:08 PM

    "As for Chiwetel Ejiofor's scripted fictional adaptation of Kamkwamba's book..." He said this.

  • AccidentalVisitor | January 10, 2013 7:57 PMReply

    Best news is that Ejiofor has switched agencies. Maybe CAA will actually fight for opportunities for a black actor like him.

  • Donella | January 10, 2013 3:28 PMReply

    I read this book and it is an inspiration. So glad Chiwetel has decided to take this on this project. I predict a built-in international audience from the book, Chiwetel's involvement, and the alternative energy subject matter.

  • Jug | January 10, 2013 12:32 PMReply

    I remember this story and how great it is. Good for William & Good for Chiwetel. I don't know how moving to CAA will pan out, but it definitely says that things are afoot for Chiwetel. Good indeed!

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