Kamkwamba documentary wins international film award

William and the Windmill, a documentary that traces the life of a young Malawian William Kamkwamba who teaches himself to build a power-generating windmill from junk parts, successfully rescuing his family from poverty and famine, was presented with the Best Documentary Feature Award at the Flyway Film Festival in Wisconsin, USA on Sunday.

Directed and produced by Ben Nabors, and shot across several continents, the William and the Windmill documents William’s journey beginning with the TEDGlobal Conference in Arusha, Tanzania, through his college attendance in the United States in 2011.

The original documentary short, Moving Windmills, directed by Scott Thrift, produced by Ben Nabors and Executive Produced by Tom Rielly, debuted at the worldwide live film festival Pangea Day in May, 2008.

There, the short received the North American Filmmaker’s Award from Participant Media, producers of An Inconvenient Truth, Good Night and Good Luck, Food, Inc., Charlie Wilson’s War and North Country. In addition, the film won recognition from the Cinema Prosperité competition, sponsored by the Seven Fund.

William and the windmill
William and the windmill

William and the Windmill shares William’s inspiring and complex story with audiences worldwide, sparking initiatives to improve their difficult circumstances.

What if a whole nation, a whole continent—the whole world—were exposed to his dramatic accomplishments?

As with all great stories, William’s is quickly growing to engage and involve people around the world. Although William’s story is rooted in Africa and the problems facing his local community, the film looks at issues that affect us all: education, food production, energy, cultural transition, and international development.

William, co-author of the New York Times best-selling book, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope,” is one of four recipients of the 2010 GO Ingenuity Award, a prize awarded by the Santa Monica–based nonprofit GO Campaign to inventors, artists, and makers to promote the sharing of their innovations and skills with marginalized youth in developing nations.

With the grant, he held workshops for youth in his home village, Wimbe in Kasungu, teaching them how to make windmills and repair water pumps, both of which proved to be transformative skills for this young African leader.

In 2007 William entered an intensive two-year academic program combining the Cambridge University A-levels curriculum with leadership, entrepreneurship, and African studies at the African Leadership Academy in Johannesburg, South Africa. He is currently pursuing an engineering degree at Dartmouth College, in the USA.

William, now 26, has been featured on the front page of the Wall Street Journal and appeared on numerous networks programs, including ABC’s Good Morning America, National Public Radio and Comedy Central’s The Daily Show.

He also has addressed audiences multiple times on TED, at the 2008 World Economic Forum and at schools and universities around the world
Watch William and the Windmill trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0UMz7VZ5BCY

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