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Goldwyn Films Lands “The Island President”

By Brian Brooks | Indiewire November 7, 2011 at 1:53PM

U.S. rights to “The Island President,” directed by Jon Shenk have been picked up by Samuel Goldwyn Films. The company noted that the film’s producers have “already qualified the film” for this year’s Oscars and said it has “high hope for its chances.”
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The Island President
A scene from "The Island President."

U.S. rights to “The Island President,” directed by Jon Shenk have been picked up by Samuel Goldwyn Films. The company noted that the film’s producers have “already qualified the film” for this year’s Oscars and said it has “high hope for its chances.”

A winner of the Audience Award at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, the documentary is set to screen at DOC NYC as a spotlight gala presentation followed by a Q & A with Shenk and Michael Moore Tuesday, November 8th.

Goldwyn plans a February 2012 roll out.

Full acquisition release follows:

Samuel Goldwyn Films proudly announced today that it has acquired U.S. rights to THE ISLAND PRESIDENT for all available media including theatrical, home entertainment and ancillary.  The producers have already qualified the film for this year’s Academy Awards and Goldwyn has high hopes for its chances.
Directed by award winning filmmaker and DP Jon Shenk (LOST BOYS OF SUDAN), the film was produced by Richard Berge and Bonni Cohen (THE RAPE OF EUROPA). Jon Else is the executive producer and Pedro Kos is the editor.  The accomplished team has garnered several awards, key nominations and accolades - Oscars, Emmys, Spirit Awards, WGA Awards, etc. for their film and television work.  THE ISLAND PRESIDENT is a co-production of AfterImage Public Media and the Independent Television Service (ITVS), in association with Actual Films and Impact Partners, with major funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Ford Foundation, John D. and The Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The Atlantic Philanthropies, and the Sundance Institute Documentary Fund.

A winner of the Audience Award at Toronto, THE ISLAND PRESIDENT is set to screen at DOC NYC as a SPOTLIGHT GALA PRESENTATION followed by a Q & A with Shenk and Michael Moore (tomorrow) Tuesday, November 8th.

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.  Nasheed brought democracy to the Maldives after thirty years of despotic rule but he 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 and make them uninhabitable.  A classic David and Goliath tale, THE ISLAND PRESIDENT captures Nasheed’s battle against global warming, culminating in his trip to the Copenhagen Climate Summit in 2009 where the film provides a rare and unprecedented glimpse at Nasheed’s electrifying and passionate behind the scenes exchanges with the heads of state attending this top-level global assembly.  A film about one man’s mission to save his nation and perhaps the planet, THE ISLAND PRESIDENT is a riveting, uplifting story that is impossible to take your eye off of.

Goldwyn has slated a February 2012 release.

According to Peter Goldwyn, Goldwyn’s Head of Acquisitions: “We are ecstatic to release this extraordinary and inspirational film.  After incredibly successful screenings in Telluride and Toronto, we are optimistic that THE ISLAND PRESIDENT is an Awards caliber, timely film for which audiences everywhere are going to applaud and cheer.  To say we are enthusiastic about its prospects is a major understatement.”
Shenk goes to say “we are thrilled to have Samuel Goldwyn Films on board to distribute THE ISLAND PRESIDENT.  President Nasheed’s struggle is an against-all-odds drama to save his country and the world. Goldwyn gets the magic of this story and clearly has the vision, the creativity, and a second-to-none team to ensure the film finds a large audience and helps move the conversation forward about the reality of climate change.”

And, Neil Friedman of Menemsha Films who shepherded the film from the get go echoes the sentiment: “Congratulations to Samuel Goldwyn Films as we had a lot of offers to distribute this film in the U.S.  We chose Goldwyn because their vision and enthusiasm for releasing the film is a perfect match with the filmmakers’ vision and enthusiasm in making the film.”

Goldwyn and Ian Puente, Goldwyn’s VP Business Development and General Counsel negotiated with Friedman on behalf of the filmmakers.

This article is related to: The Island President, Acquisitions