Filming primarily during the former president’s first year in office, Director of the Island President Jon Shenk and his team trailed him around the globe, filming everything from the underwater cabinet meetings – where Nasheed conducted with ministers all wearing scuba gear to highlight the problems of rising water levels – to his trip to the UN, Westminster and Copenhagen’s Environment Summit to beseech Western diplomats to act quickly in the name of global environmental protection, writes Caroline Frost for the Huffington Post.
Shenk had different problems from those of Nasheed, but equal challenges:
“I think he had an amazing amount of trust, but we quickly learned that there’s a reason why a film about this state’s leader had never been made before. It’s just so difficult to get access to everything, whether it’s cabinet meetings, or family life, and then it becomes 1000 times more difficult once you leave that country, and you’re dealing bilaterally with other leaders, other heads of state, it was pretty much a constant battle.”
Unfortunately, Shenk stopped filming shortly before Nasheed was ousted from office in a coup orchestrated by the tyrannous regime his government had replaced. As events raced ahead of him, Shenk added an end card to his film so viewers were kept updated:
“The film ended on a high with him still president, then by the film was released in cinemas in the US and UK, the coup had happened, and it changes the way that the film affects people.
“In a way, the film is completely unchanged by events because so much about his first year in office and the drama of him fighting that struggle at Copenhagen, but in other ways, it’s a depressing reminder of the vested interests that exist in the world, in keeping things the way they are, money interests controlling the day, even in countries where there is a strong independent national propensity to move towards democracy.”