William Kamkwamba, a young Malawian, builds a power-generating windmill from junk parts to rescue his family from famine, transforming his life and catapulting him on to the the world stage. 

His fame and success lead him to new opportunities and complex choices about his future, distancing him from the life he once knew.



With only a library book as his guide, 14-year-old William Kamkwamba builds a windmill in his Malawian village that changes his life forever. Using junk parts and an inexhaustible imagination, he harnesses enough energy to power a generator that saves his family from famine and resuscitates his dying farming community.

An instant media sensation, the teen soon has the ability to chart a previously unimaginable future of TEDtalks, Ivy League schools, and speaking tours. But despite the help of an American entrepreneur who helps navigate his success, some changes threaten to capsize him. He was once just a kid back home, but suddenly he’s a village leader.  Away at school, the famous boy inventor struggles on a steep learning curve. Cameras capture the dramatic upheavals, external pressures, and subtle shifts of perspective in this inspiring story of a young man facing the changes that a humble homemade windmill set in motion. 

Winner of the SXSW Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary, The Austin Chronicle calls it "a subtle but beautiful portrait," and Indiewire described it as "a fascinating look at the tricky balancing act of third world activism." 

A fascinating look at the tricky balancing act of third world activism.
— Indiewire
It investigates a liminal space that, explored by a lesser artist, might leave you feeling dulled to the world you have entered. But Nabors thrives in such space—William’s world brims with palpable moral energy.
— GOOD Magazine
‘William and the Windmill’ is not the documentary one might expect… a more nuanced alternative to the inevitable Hollywood version to come.
— Variety
Asks important questions about international aid and development.
One of the most inspiring renewable energy stories ever told.
— One Earth Magaizine
A subtle but beautiful portrait... This documentary gracefully illuminates issues of black, white, rich, poor, hard work, pain, destiny, and dreams.
— Austin Chronicle
William looking up Grain.jpg




Ben Nabors is a filmmaker and founder of the Brooklyn-based production company {group theory}.  His debut feature film WILLIAM AND THE WINDMILL, a documentary about young Malawian windmill inventor William Kamkwamba, won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2013 South by Southwest Film Festival.  He also co-wrote and produced the Special Jury Prize short film winner “Palimpsest”, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2013.  Filmmaker Magazine named Ben amongst the “25 New Faces of Independent Film”.  In 2014, GOOD Magazine recognized him as a “GOOD 100”, and the US State Department tapped him as a Film Envoy within the American Film Showcase ambassadorial program. 


Jonathan has edited numerous award-winning documentaries, including Children Underground(Sundance Special Jury Prize, nominated for the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature), Paris is Burning (Sundance Grand Jury Prize, winner of NY & LA Critics Award) Streetwise (Academy Award winner Best Documentary, Sundance Grand Jury Prize), Sister Helen(nominated Grand Jury Prize at Sundance), and most recently The Oath (HotDocs Special Jury Prize).


Carlos has worked as a music journalist, war photography editor, and editor of short documentaries and commercial work for Wired, General Electric and Brooklyn Brewery. He was an assistant editor for Haiti: Unfinished Country, an episode for PBS's Wide Angle and has worked on Art Talk and Motherboard, two acclaimed Vice TV web series. Recently he post-produced Emerging Thailand, a documentary on economist Robert Townsend.


Michael Tyburski is an award-winning filmmaker of short films, documentaries, and commercials. His work has screened at The Sundance Film Festival and has been featured on The New Yorker, Indiewire, NOWNESS, Short of the Week, and in Filmmaker Magazine, which named him amongst the “25 New Faces of Independent Film.” 

Further credits available at IMDB.

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This film is produced by {group theory}, a New York-based production studio that creates documentaries, short narratives, animations, and commercials, and Moving Windmills Project, Inc., a 501(c)3 that supports Malawian-run rural economic development and education projects in Malawi, with the goals of community economic independence and self-sustainability; food, water and health security; and educational success. 

This film was made possible through generous support and attention from Good Pitch, The Gucci Tribeca Institute Documentary Program, the Puma.Creative Artist program, True/False Film Festival,  AshokaCinema Prosperite and The Fledgling Fund.

This film would not be possible without the generous contributions of our Kickstarter Community and the greater network of friends and family who helped tell this story.