The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind is in contention for an Oscar in the international feature award in 2020.
The film, an adaptation of Malawian William Kamkwamba’s story and directed by Chiwetel Ejiofor, centres around Kamkwamba’s innovation of a windmill.
The production is among 92 other films from across the globe which have been submitted for the award. The award will be given under a new name of Best International Feature Film after it was changed in April this year from Foreign Language Film.
An international feature film is defined as a feature-length motion picture produced outside United States of America (USA) with a predominantly non-English dialogue track. The submitted films must have been released theatrically in their respective countries between October 1, 2018 and September 30, 2019.
Local arts commentator Sam Chiwaka said the development is good for Malawi’s film players and it should spur them to dream more about what they can achieve with their productions. He has asked local film players to set their targets beyond Nollywood.
He said: “This surely gives hope to our movie industry. What they need to do is improve on quality of the productions so we can favourably compete with other big names on the global stage. It does not matter to make a short film as long as the storyline and production are up to standard.”
The film features a number of Malawian actors. One of the actors, Kelvin Ngoma, in interview said it feels good being a Malawian actor to have featured in an Oscar-nominated film.
“It is quite an exciting development. It is unbelievable almost that a Malawian actor is now part of the Oscar story. I am even convinced that the production stands a better chance of winning,” he said.
The film’s production unit manager Jones Mbera said the commitment that the production team showed and the resources they invested in the project, gave hope that the film would break boundaries.
He said: “I am happy that the film was done here in Malawi. In that way it will also benefit the country through the tourism sector as other people who did not know about Malawi will know it through this channel.”