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Pare Lorentz Award 2012

By IDA Editorial Staff

This award recognizes work that demonstrates exemplary filmmaking while focusing on the appropriate use of the natural environment, justice for all and the illumination of pressing social problems. The award is named in honor of Pare Lorentz, the renowned American documentary filmmaker known for his work examining social and environmental issues of the Depression era. 

The Island President
Director/Cinematographer: Jon Shenk
Producers: Bonni Cohen, Richard Berge
Executive Producers: Jon Else, Sally Jo Fifer, Dan Cogan
Editor: Pedro Kos
Composer: Marco D'Ambrosio
Actual Films, Inc., Samuel Goldwyn/Independent Lens

The Island President is the story of President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives. Nasheed brings democracy to the Maldives after 30 years of despotic rule, but faces an even greater challenge: rising sea levels threatening to submerge the 1,200 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 insider's view of top-level political horse-trading. Despite the modest size of his country, Mohamed Nasheed has become one of the leading international voices for urgent action on climate change.    

JON SHENK is a documentary filmmaker, cinematographer and founder of Actual Films. He has produced and photographed dozens of documentaries for television, and has earned two Emmy Award nominations for his cinematography. He was director of photography on the Academy Award-winning Smile Pinki (2009). He received an Emmy Award for Blame Somebody Else (2007), a feature story about human trafficking that he wrote, produced and photographed for the PBS series Exposé. Shenk directed and photographed the Emmy-nominated Lost Boys of Sudan (2004), which follows two young refugees of Sudan's civil war through their first year in America. The film received an Independent Spirit Award and aired on PBS' POV series. Shenk earned his master's in documentary filmmaking from Stanford University in 1995 and his BA from Yale in 1991.