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Moving Windmills is a feature-length documentary that tells the true story of William Kamkwamba, a young innovator from Malawi, Africa.
Moving Windmills is a feature-length documentary that tells the true story of William Kamkwamba, a young innovator from Malawi, Africa.
376 backers pledged $111,545 to help bring this project to life.

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Ben Nabors, William Kamkwamba & Tom Rielly on stage following the film's World Premiere
Ben Nabors, William Kamkwamba & Tom Rielly on stage following the film's World Premiere

Dear Kickstarter Backers --

WILLIAM AND THE WINDMILL has exceeded all expectations.  I am grateful for your support of our story and our documentary team. This film simply would not exist without your contribution.

It was a year ago this week that WILLIAM AND THE WINDMILL premiered at the South By Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival. Ultimately, we were granted the festival’s highest honor: The Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary.

Many of those involved were present for the world premiere and screening party. William Kamkwamba, Tom Rielly (also part of this Kickstarter Campaign and the Executive Director and President of Moving Windmills Project), and I took the stage to receive a tremendous standing ovation. We also participated in several post-film Q&As with emotional and inspired audiences. Members of our community, including Bryan Mealer (William’s co-author on his memoir), Andrea Barthello (a strong campaign supporter), and Carlos Pavan (co-editor of the film) were present to watch and celebrate. William and I appeared on CNN, interviewed with WIRED Magazine, Tom and I held interviews with the BBC, celebrated our accomplishment with two posts, and the film received glowing reviews across national publications.

It was a spectacular finale to a long and dedicated 5-year production process, and the beginning of an extraordinary year for the film.

Members of the film's community at SXSW
Members of the film's community at SXSW


Here are a few highlights from 2013:

  • The film had its World Premiere at SXSW, one of the country's best film festivals, where it won the top award: The Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary
  • William Kamkwamba was acknowledged as an "Unforgettable" character by Cinema Eye Honors in their annual selection of the most memorable documentary subjects, affirming the portraiture of the film and its strength with audiences.  To quote the nomination committee:  “The characters in documentary films share their lives, their fears, their beliefs, their struggles and their joys with us. They become our pathway into a wider world. They are the heart and soul of what we do.” 
  • The film played top tier festivals worldwide including Hot Docs (Toronto), Sydney, Melbourne, BAM CinemaFest in Brooklyn, Jerusalem, Rooftop Films (where we screened with the Ford Foundation in front of the United Nations), Copenhagen DOX (our European Premiere in their “TOP DOX” category), the first-ever floating film festival in Antarctica, and upwards of 40 regional film festivals and conferences across 6 continents.  I was able to attend many of these festivals and saw firsthand the connection formed between William, Tom, and the audience.  This is truly a film with power, significance, and a deep meaning for audiences worldwide.
  • The film was chosen as a "Docs For Schools" teaching tool throughout Canada, bringing our story about the power of education into more than 250 high schools, reaching thousands of students.
  • The film won Jury Prizes at The Asheville Cinema Festival (North Carolina), The Hard Acre Film Festival (Iowa), and The FlyWay Film Festival (Wisconsin).
  • PBS ranked WILLIAM AND THE WINDMILL as one of the top 20 documentaries of the year.
  • The film screened for His Excellency Steve Matenje (Malawian Ambassador to the US) with the International Book Bank, the very organization that donated the book that inspired William’s first windmill. 
  • And most importantly, the film has already shared the story of William’s tremendous achievements with thousands of people worldwide, triggering positive discussion, classroom discourse, and critical acclaim. It has helped build a community of people who admire and support grassroots innovation work from William and others like him.  WILLIAM AND THE WINDMILL has inspired a global audience, as we always hoped it would.


This film had the support of 6 film grant organizations, 5 private family foundations, 807 small-sum website donors, 376 Kickstarter backers, 28 staff members, and myself.  To see this project through, I have personally invested tens of thousands of dollars, 5 years of work, and all of my heart, so that audiences worldwide can experience this story.  You can all be as proud as I am of what it has achieved. I am honored to fulfill the delivery of your backer rewards as was promised during our Kickstarter campaign:

(Moving Windmills Project, the non-profit associated with this campaign, is responsible for the fulfillment of these additional rewards: Signed copies of “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind”, Malawian Gift packs)

As a bonus, in appreciation for your patience and support, we are making the following rewards available:

  • DVDs will be shipped with bonus features from the making of this film, and up-to-date digital downloads of the film that do just justice to the film’s cinematography.


We have done an impossible thing with this film, and I truly hope the documentary can bring this inspiring story to more audiences.  I often appear with the film in person to participate in Q&As and have experienced great positive response and interest. If you have any questions or comments after watching the film, I welcome you to write to me at

With a full heart and confidence for the future, I want to thank all of you for the support you've shown this film.  


Ben Nabors 

Director, Producer 



To Our Backers --

Last night, our film won the Grand Jury prize for documentary feature here at SXSW. Being accepted to this festival was a gift, but this award is simply unbelievable.

You've heard us say it before, but I want to say it again: we couldn't have made this film without you. Thank you so much.

From Austin -


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World Premiere A Success / CNN Live

To Our Backers:

Our world premiere for WILLIAM AND THE WINDMILL was a huge success, receiving 3(!!!) standing ovations following the end of the film.  We were honored to share this story with audiences in Austin, and we look forward to our screenings later this week.  A few quick photos from the audience and our Q&A are below.

Earlier this morning, William Kamkwamba and Ben Nabors appeared on CNN live from the film festival to discuss the documentary.  You can watch the interview below.

From Texas,

Ben & Tom

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World Premiere

To our wonderful backers --

WILLIAM AND THE WINDMILL will have it's world premiere in one hour's time (1.30PM CST). We want to thank all of you from the bottom of our hearts for helping us make it here!

Wish us luck!

Ben & Tom

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Poster and Exclusive Clip Released!

To Our Backers --

This afternoon exclusively released our poster and a clip from the film on the site's home page. We are thrilled to be receiving such high visibility coverage for our upcoming film premiere and encourage you to visit and share the page.

We are also very excited to release our film poster. The poster was designed by graphic novelist Paul Pope, with typography by Jim Pascoe of The Refinery. Both artists are extremely talented and it was an honor to collaborate with these gentlemen on such an emblematic image. We had unique prints pulled by the folks at Axelle Fine Arts for display in the SXSW poster gallery, and the large-scale image was absolutely breathtaking. We look forward to sharing this artwork with you when we ship our rewards.

The premiere is just a few days away!

From Austin, Ben

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