Coming to NYC’s Film Forum next Wednesday, March 28 and SF on Friday, March 30: THE ISLAND PRESIDENT
Jon Shenk’s portrait of the climate change activism of the recently deposed President of the lowest-lying country in the world made its premiere last Fall with berths at Telluride and Toronto, winning the People’s Choice Award at the latter event. Since then, it has screened at DOC NYC and Thessaloniki Doc Fest, among others. Samuel Goldwyn picked up the the film for theatrical distribution, expanding it next month to Los Angeles, Washington DC, San Diego, Minneapolis, and Detroit, with additional cities planned.
One of the most popular films debuting on the Fall circuit, Shenk’s doc benefits from a camera-friendly subject, the charismatic President of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed. Granted impressive behind-the-scenes access to Nasheed’s domestic and world affairs, Shenk presents a confident, likable figure, having served as a freedom fighter and credited by many as bringing democracy to his country. Made up of a series of islands, the Republic of Maldives is threatened to vanish if projections of sea-level changes come to pass. The charismatic Nasheed sees the opportunity to bring a spotlight to this serious issue through the Copenhagen Climate Change talks, becoming a kind of everyman hero in the process. A thoroughly satisfying film, it unfortunately has just received an entirely unanticipated coda: Last month, a coup d’etat forced Nasheed from the presidency. Showcasing what he was able to accomplish in his first year in office, perhaps the doc can help mobilize awareness and support to eventually reinstate him.