‘The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind’: Chiwetel Ejiofor & William Kamkwamba on the Inspiring True-Life Story

     February 11, 2019

One of the many films to world premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival was Chiwetel Ejiofor’s directorial debut, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. The film is based on William Kamkwamba’s inspiring true-life story and adapted from the bestselling book by Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer. If you haven’t seen the trailer, the film is about Kamkwamba as a thirteen-year-old when he finds an unconventional way to save his family and village from famine. Produced by Andrea Calderwood and Gail Egan, and starring Oscar nominee Ejiofor, Aïssa Maïga, Lily Banda and introducing Maxwell Simba, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind arrives on Netflix and in select theaters on March 1st. Absolutely add this one to your Netflix wishlist now.

Shortly after seeing the film, Chiwetel Ejiofor & William Kamkwamba stopped by the Collider studio at the Kia Supper Suite in Park City. They talked abourt being at Sundance, what the film is about, balancing fact and fiction, what it was like for William to see the finished film for the first time, what Ejiofor learned from early screenings, what it was like working with Netflix, how they each like to write, and more. In addition, Chiwetel Ejiofor talked about voicing Scar in Jon Favreau’s The Lion King and his next directing project: The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace.


Image via Kia Motors

I’d also like to take a moment to give special thanks to our Collider Studio partner, the all new 2020 Kia Telluride, which was transporting filmmakers to our studio in celebration of the debut of the all new model, Kia’s first eight-passenger SUV that is several inches longer and wider than the brand’s award-winning Sorento.

Libations flowing at the Collider studio and parties were provided by LIFEWTR, Tequila Comisario, Sensi Tuscany Wines, Blue Moon Belgian White and Dragonfly Coffee Roasters. Food during the evening parties was provided by Greene St. Kitchen of Palms Casino Resort helmed by Chef Du Cuisine Lanny Chin. Brand partners also active during the day-part include mou, a luxury footwear and accessories line, and The Wild Immersion endorsed by Jane Goodall who was on-site with the world’s first ‘virtual reserve’.

Check out what they had to say in the player above and below is exactly what we talked about.


Image via Sundance

Chiwetel Ejiofor and William Kamkwamba

  • How we first met at Sundance 10 years ago for Redbelt.
  • What The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is about.
  • What has it been like for William the past few years?
  • Balancing fact and fiction with the film.
  • What was it like for William seeing the film for the first time?
  • How long did Chiwetel know he wanted to write and direct?
  • What did he learn in the editing room and what did he learn from early screenings?
  • What was it like working like working with Netflix?
  • How on March 1st everyone who has Netflix can watch the film.
  • How Chiwetel has signed on to write and direct The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace.
  • What’s the status of the script?
  • They each talk about their writing process.
  • Chiwetel talks about voicing Scar in Jon Favreau’s The Lion King.

Image via Sundance

Here’s the official synopsis for The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind:

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

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