One man; 1,200 islands; three feet above sea level. The Island President, the critically acclaimed eco-political documentary about the plight of the Maldives, directed by Jon Shenk with soundtrack by Radiohead, will run at the Rosendale Theatre this Wednesday, July 18. Jon Bowermaster, noted oceans explorer, six-time National Geographic Expeditions grant recipient and Stone Ridge resident, and environmental blogger Paul McGinniss of The New York Green Advocate will speak with the audience after the film. Linda Capato of 350.org, a global movement to solve the climate crisis, will join in by Skype. The event is co-hosted by McGinness, Leslee Rachel Cooper and the Rosendale Theatre.
Consisting of approximately 1,200 islands with a land area of only 115 square miles, the Maldives are disappearing into the Indian Ocean due to rising sea levels. Since it’s one of the most low-lying countries in the world, a rise of three feet in sea level would render it uninhabitable.
At the heart of the film is Mohammed Nasheed, the Maldives’ first democratically elected president (who has since been driven from office by forces loyal to the former dictator). Called the “Mandela of the Maldives [or Indian Ocean],” Nasheed works tirelessly to educate others about the grave implications of climate change.
“It’s amazing to watch the events unfold through his eyes,” said Paul McGinniss. “Despite all the hardships, environmental and political, that he and the country faced while the movie was filming, he’s honest and optimistic; he handles them with amazing grace and fortitude. You just can’t help but be inspired.”
Through environmental activism, Nasheed attempts to spur large-scale action to combat global warming: a problem not just for the Maldives, but also for the world. As Nasheed points out in the film, the Maldives is stationed at the same height as Manhattan.
The Island President is directed by Jon Shenk, who was granted unprecedented access to the president throughout 2009 and part of 2010. McGinniss’ interview with Shenk can be viewed at www.thenewyorkgreenadvocate.com.
“You can just feel his energy when you’re talking to him,” said McGinnis. “The documentary is so interesting – how he shot it, you almost forget that the crew is there – and the cinematography is really beautiful. The Maldives are exquisite, and the message is powerful. People are going to love this film.”
The Island President will be screened on Wednesday, July 18 at 7:15 p.m., with a Q&A with noted oceans explorer Jon Bowermaster, Linda Capato of 350.org and environmental blogger Paul McGinness of the New York Green Advocate to follow. Tickets cost $7, $5 for members, and can be purchased at the door. For directions call (845) 658-8989 or visit www.rosendaletheatre.org.