Malawian windmill film launches in Canada: Starring William Kamkwamba

William and the Windmill, a movie that brings to life the events that catapulted a Kasungu primary school dropout to international stardom, opens today in Canada.

The film launched Friday night at Scotiabank Theatre before heading to Isabel Bader Theatre on Sunday and Fox Theatre on May 3. All these are Toronto venues.

Directed by Ben Nabors and starring William Kamkwamba, Tom Rielly, Trywell Kamkwamba, Agnes Kamkwamba, Andrea Barthello and Bryan Mealer, William and the Windmill tells the story of Malawian William Kamkwamba, who teaches himself to build a power-generating windmill from bicycle parts, blue gum trees, and scrapyard materials, saving his family from poverty and famine.

After being forced to drop out of school due to his family not being able to afford the tuition, William decided to educate himself by going to his village’s library. There, he found Using Energy, a textbook that explained how windmills generate power. Using only that book and a few pictures, William constructed a working model, becoming an icon for the developing world.

William Kamkwamba; The Malawi windmill  man
William Kamkwamba; The Malawi windmill man

Shortly thereafter, William met American entrepreneur and TED Conferences Community Director Tom Rielly, who vowed to help William realize a future he had only dreamed of.

William and the Windmill chronicles the fame, stress, and isolation that follows William’s ingenuity, and how his life was transformed. This is a story about a complex young man straddling two cultures, carrying the burdens of his past achievements while pursuing a bright future.

William and the Windmill is a touching, inspiring documentary about the human spirit and the great feats we can accomplish – in the face of adversity, poverty, and famine.

At this year’s South by Southwest Film Festival, William and the Windmill was awarded one of festival’s top two honors, taking home the Grand Jury Award for Documentary Feature. William Kamkwamba was in attendance at every screening, along with Tom Rielly and director Ben Nabors, to participate in Q&As with audiences about his journey.

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.

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