The Island President: New film profiles Mohamed Nasheed at the Frontline of Climate Justice

When it comes to climate change, we're all Maldivians!

President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives is an articulate, passionate climate witness on behalf of his endangered island nation of 350,000 people. The technocratic and amiable President is one of the youngest heads of state in the world today. The one-time freelance journalist (who worked with and for various media when he was in political exile) remains very accessible to the international media. He knows the power of old and new media — and how to leverage it for his cause.

I admit to being a Nasheed fan. During the past couple of years, I have blogged about, interviewed and made a short film about President Nasheed. In the less than three years he has been in office, he has faced more than his fair share of economic and political challenges at home, but he has never lost sight of the long-term, bigger issue of climate change advocacy.

And now, his global status as the ‘rock star of climate change’ is enhanced by ‘The Island President’, a 90-minute, feature-style major documentary about him produced by a leading American production company, Actual Films. The film is to be released this summer at various film festivals. I can’t wait to catch it.

The Island President has been in the making for nearly two years. The film makers had exclusive access to the President both in his island nation and on his international travels.

The Island President: Official Trailer

The official Synopsis reads: “The Island President is a a dramatic feature documentary that lifts the issue of global warming out of the theoretical and into the personal. President Mohamed Nasheed is trying to save 385,000 people from drowning. His nation of 1,200 low-lying islands, the Maldives, is sinking into the Indian Ocean as sea levels rise due to global warming.

“With a young, charismatic South Asian leader updating a role once played by Jimmy Stewart, The Island President is like a non-fiction Mr. Smith Goes to Washington elevated to the world stage. Actual Films has secured exclusive access to follow President Nasheed as he prepares over the coming months for the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Summit in December. The terms of the 1997 Kyoto Treaty on Climate Change are about to expire, and leaders from around the world will converge on Copenhagen to hammer out a new treaty with renewed urgency. As the Danish Minister for Climate and Energy acknowledged, “the December days in Copenhagen in 2009 will be…a political thriller on an international scale.” The Summit will be an international showdown where President Nasheed will try to convince world leaders to finally take serious action against looming danger of climate change. The stakes couldn’t be higher-President Nasheed sees this as the last chance to save his homeland, and the world.”

The Island President is a co-production involving Actual Films, AFTERIMAGE PUBLIC MEDIA and the Independent Television Service (ITVS), with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).

Read about the film makers: Jon Shenk, Director; Bonni Cohen, Producer; and Richard Berge, Producer.

October 2009: President Mohamed Nasheed: Encounter with a genial climate crusader…

President Nasheed knows what to say and how to say it to the eager media...

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