Watching the documentary “The Island President” is like watching a political thriller — only its story is not fictional and the cast is not made up of movie stars. Most important, the stakes are very real. In fact, they are so high that the existence of an entire country hangs in the balance.
The underdog hero of this drama is 41-year-old Mohamed Nasheed, the first democratically elected leader of the Maldives, a Sunni Muslim nation of 1200 islands in the Indian Ocean. This would have been enough to intrigue San Francisco-based filmmaker Jon Shenk, but there was more.
During his time in office Nasheed, a former political prisoner and exile, not only promoted democratic and transparent governance in his country, but also fought for its very survival. Armed with scientific evidence that his barely-above-sea-level country is sinking into the ocean, he worked tirelessly and creatively to convince the international community to take action to reverse climate change.