The Island President

Connecticut Premiere

Saturday, April 14th, 7:00pm
Whitney Humanities Center, 53 Wall Street

Jon Shenk’s The Island President tells the story of President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives, a man confronting a problem greater than any other world leader has ever faced—the literal survival of his country and everyone in it. After bringing democracy to the Maldives after thirty years of despotic rule, Nasheed is now faced with an even greater challenge: as one of the most low-lying countries in the world, a rise of three feet in sea level would submerge the 1200 islands of the Maldives enough to make them uninhabitable.

The Island President captures Nasheed’s first year of office, culminating in his trip to the Copenhagen Climate Summit in 2009, where the film provides a rare glimpse of the political horse-trading that goes on at such a top-level global assembly. Nasheed is unusually candid about revealing his strategies—leveraging the Maldives’ underdog position as a tiny country, harnessing the power of media, and overcoming deadlocks through an appeal to unity with other developing nations. When hope fades for a written accord to be signed, Nasheed makes a stirring speech which salvages an agreement. Despite the modest size of his country, Mohamed Nasheed has become one of the leading international voices for urgent action on climate change.

Followed by a panel discussion with Sir Peter Crane, Dean of the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, Yale Professor Roy Lee, and Ann Powers, Professor at the Pace Law School.

About the Filmmaker

Jon Shenk was the DP for the Academy Award-winning Smile Pinki (2009). He won an Emmy for Blame Somebody Else (2007, PBS/Exposé). Shenk directed and photographed Lost Boys of Sudan, Independent Spirit Award winner in 2004. He co-directed and photographed Democracy Afghan Style (2004). In 2005, he directed and photographed The New Heroes. Early in his career, he directed and photographed The Beginning (1999), a chronicle of George Lucas's Star Wars: Episode I. Shenk has produced and photographed dozens of documentaries for PBS, the BBC, A&E, Bravo, CBS, NBC, and National Geographic Television. He has been nominated twice for Emmys for his cinematography. He earned his Master’s degree in Documentary Filmmaking from Stanford University in 1995 and his Bachelor’s degree from Yale in 1991.

Preceded By: Acqua

8 min. A celebration of traditions, Acqua presents the quest for water partly as a necessity, partly as a solemn pilgrimage.

Watch the Trailer for The Island President:

THE ISLAND PRESIDENT—A Documentary By Jon Shenk | Official Trailer from Sawyer Studios on Vimeo.

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Saturday, April 14th, 7:00pm
Whitney Humanities Center, 53 Wall Street

Genre: Documentary
Year: 2011
Running Time: 101 min.


Director: Jon Shenk
Producers: Richard Berge, Bonni Cohen
Executive Producer: Jon Else
Director of Photography: Jon Shenk
Editor: Pedro Kos

2012 Films & Events

· Bananas!*
· Bestiaire
· Big Boys Gone Bananas!*
· Chimpanzee
· Colin Beavan, ‘No Impact Man’
· Eating Alabama
· EFFY After Dark
· Enjoy Your Meal!
· Filmmaking Workshop with Andrew Grace
· Surviving Progress
· The Atomic States of America
· The Island President
· The Last Mountain
· The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom
· The Whale