Chiwetel Ejiofor, a BAFTA-winning actor who also earned a Best Actor Oscar nomination in 2012 for Steve McQueen’s “12 Years a Slave,” is stepping into the director’s chair. For his debut, Ejiofor has chosen “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind,” a moving tale based on the true story of William Kamkwamba, a young Malawian innovator and engineer who rose to fame in 2007 for building a wind turbine to bring electricity to his family farm during a drought. Ejiofor also stars, delivering the powerhouse performances he does best in the newly released trailer. He stars opposite newcomer Maxwell Simba, as well as Aïssa Maïga and Lily Banda.
The Sundance synopsis reads:
“Young William Kamkwamba (Simba) lives with his family in rural Malawi, where he attends school regularly and shows great aptitude for his studies. Yet after land development and poor weather lead to a meager harvest, famine strikes the village, alarming the community and forcing William to drop out of school when his father (Ejiofor) can no longer afford the fees. Determined to find a way out of the life-threatening situation his family is facing, William sneaks into the school library to research—and soon conspires to build a windmill pump to irrigate the land. Caught between his father’s close-minded skepticism and the difficulty of creating a machine out of bicycle parts and scrap materials, William races against the clock to fight for his community’s survival.”
Ejiofor adapted the script from Kamkwamba’s autobiography, written with Bryan Mealer.
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“The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind” will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on Friday, January 25. Netflix will release “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind” on its platform on March 1.
Check out the trailer (including some seriously ingenious bicycle lights) below.