Netflix has acquired global rights to Chiwetel Ejiofor’s directorial debut of The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind, a new British film based on the bestselling book of the same name written by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer.
The streaming service’s deal excludes the rights in Japan and China and free TV rights in the UK where the film will air on the BBC which, alongside Participant Media, BBC Films and BFI present, are one of the funders.
As well as Directing, Ejiofor wrote the screenplay and will also appear in the film.
The story 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.
Ejiofor commented: “William’s story represents, what has to be, the future in countries like Malawi: developing countries, overflowing with beauty and harboring enormous potential.
“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.”
Jonathan King, President of Film and Television for Participant Media, added: “Chiwetel brings incredible passion and skill as a filmmaker to this moving and impactful story about a young boy who uses his heart and mind equally to help better his community.
“We need this kind of story now more than ever, and we’re excited to continue the partnership with Netflix that started with Beasts of No Nation and continued with ROMA to bring this new film to audiences around the world.”
The film was shot in Malawi last year and will launch in 2019 on Netflix and in selected US and UK cinemas.