‘Netflix has picked up global rights (excluding Japan, China and UK free TV rights) to Chiwetel Ejiofor’s (12 Year’s A Slave) directorial debut The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind.
Ejiofor scripted the British film, which is based on the book of the same name by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer. Maxwell Simba stars with Ejiofor in the Malawi-shot story about a boy who can’t afford to go to school but dreams of building a windmill to save his village from famine.
Potboiler’s Andrea Calderwood and Gail Egan produce; executive producers including Joe Oppenheimer, Rose Garnett, Natascha Wharton, Jeff Skoll, Jonathan King, Phil Hunt, Compton Ross, Peter Hampden and Norman Merry.
The film will launch in 2019 on Netflix and in select cinemas in the U.S. and UK. Backing came from BFI and BBC Films with Head Gear, Metrol Technology and LipSync, in partnership with Participant Media. Cornerstone was the international sales agent.
The deal was negotiated on behalf of Participant Media by Gabriel Brakin, General Counsel & EVP of Business Affairs and Krista Wegener, SVP of Sales & Distribution, along with CAA Media Finance.
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.”
Ejiofor is represented by CAA and Hirsch Wallerstein Hayum Matlof and Fishman. In the UK he is represented by Alex Irwin with Markham Frogatt & Irwin, and Casarotto Ramsay & Associates.’