Chiwetel Ejiofor Talks 'The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind' and Authenticity At Sundance
For decades, BAFTA-winning actor Chiwetel Ejiofor has stunned on the stage and the big screen. With roles in films like 12 Years A Slave and Come Sunday, the Nigerian-English actor never seriously considered stepping on the other side of the camera. That quickly changed when he heard William Kamkwamba’s astounding story. Though he was just a boy in rural Malawi when famine struck his village in the early 2000s, William ingeniously built a windmill pump to bring water to the parched lands, saving his family's life.
Invigorated by Kamkwamba’s autobiography, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, Ejiofor would embark on a decade-long journey that would unleash Kamkwamba's magnificent life onto the big screen and set the stage for his own directorial debut. Shadow and Act was present during a conversation at MACRO Lodge at Sundance Film Festival where Ejiofor sat down to chat with producer Adetoro Makinde about The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, his journey to bring it to the big screen, and why stories like these need a platform.
"The book came out in 2009," Ejiofor recalled. “A friend of mine was at the launch party for the book and told me about it then. I read it, and I was transported by William Kamkwamba's journey, his ingenuity, his attitude, his way of being, his thought process, his dynamism. There was this sense of humility and depth and intelligence and warmth and understanding of the wider geopolitical situation that was being described."
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