Saturday, April 6, 2013

Saturday Short

The Grand Jury Award for Documentary Feature at the 2013 SXSW festival went to the inspirational William and the Windmill, by director-producer Ben Nabors of Brooklyn, New York. The feature film, which had its world premiere in March at SXSW, is about "the boy who harnessed the wind": William Kamkwamba (b. 1987) of Malawi, who scavenged junk parts and scrap to build a power-generating windmill that is credited with saving the lives of his subsistence-farming family and others in Masitala Village, Wimbe. Below is the trailer for the documentary, a testament to how a single motivated individual can overcome extraordinary challenges, including poverty and hunger, to change lives, especially his own.

WILLIAM AND THE WINDMILL (official trailer) from {group theory} on Vimeo.

Kamkwamba was just 14 when he taught himself how to build the windmill. His achievement came to the attention of Tom Rielly, an entrepreneur who subsequently befriended the teen and took it upon himself to help ensure Kamkwamba's future. The youth was invited to speak at the 2007 TEDGlobal conference (watch the talk for which the link is provided below) and later, with assistance from Bryan Mealer, wrote The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope (William Morrow, 2009). Mealer had learned about Kamkwamba from a Wall Street Journal article (see link below). 

Moving Windmills Project (This nonprofit, the co-producer of the film, supports Malawian-run rural economic development and education projects.)

{group theory} (This production studio, based in New York, collaborated with Moving Windmills Project on the film. The studio creates documentaries, short narratives, animations, and commercials. Ben Nabors founded {group theory} in 2010.) 

"William Kamkwamba: How I Built a Windmill", 4:15-Minute TEDTalk, 2007

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, William Kamkwamba's Blog

Q&A with Bryan Mealer  (This feature describes the origins of the book.)

Sarah Childress, "A Young Tinkerer Builds a Windmill, Electrifying a Nation | Mr. Kamkwamba's Creation Spurs Hope in Malawi; Entrepreneurs Pay Heed", The Wall Street Journal, December 12, 2007


Nic Sebastian said...

love this - thanks for sharing! Nic

Louise Gallagher said...

I remember reading his story some time ago and seeing the Youtube video on him - -how exciting it's a full length Doc!