Judging from the first trailer alone, I hope Chiwetel Ejiofor‘s directorial debut The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is as well-received and talked about as other recent Netflix original features have proven to be. The difference here is that this film goes well beyond popcorn entertainment and actually has something to say while also offering an inspiring tale based on a true life story. Ejiofor adapted William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer‘s book by the same name for the film, which tells of a thirteen year old Malawi boy, based on Kamkwamba, who finds an unconventional way to save his family and village from famine.
Born into an impoverished farming family, Kamkwamba used his ingenuity and available materials on hand to make electricity-generating wind turbines and solar-powered water pumps to supply his relatives and fellow villagers with basic necessities. That story in and of itself is one that deserves to be told in the hopes of inspiring people everywhere, especially those of us who have so much more to begin with. But as this trailer shows, the story also touches on the worldwide climate change crisis and the extreme weather shifts that come with it, such as unprecedented droughts that lead to food and water shortages, violent clashes, and humanitarian crises. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind seeks to take the familiar story of a precocious and gifted child whose genius unites a community and set it against the backdrop of actual hardship and real-world challenges. It reminds me of the campaign to replace dangerous kerosene lanterns with solar-powered lights, which is a relatively simple idea that has had huge benefits throughout Africa, and I can’t wait to see more stories like this in both the real world and on the big screen.
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 premieres at Sundance today, and arrives on Netflix and in select theaters on March 1st. Absolutely add this one to your Netflix wishlist now.
Check out the first trailer below:
Be sure to check out some new images from the film, as well as the poster, which follow below: