The award was launched by Hilton Worldwide and Sundance Institute and includes $25,000 to the winner to be handed out at the Sundance awards ceremony.

Samuel Goldwyn Films will release The Island President on Mar 28. John Shenk’s film centres on Maldives president Mohamed Nasheed and his fight to save his country from sinking.

An additional $25,000 will also go to Jehane Noujaim and Mona Eldaief’s work-in-progress Solar Mamas, about three African grandmothers and their bid to learn more about solar power for their villages.

The 2012 LightStay Sustainability Award winners were chosen from 1,500 feature-length documentaries and more than 5,000 short film entries submitted to the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program.

“Sustainability is a critical topic for many of our filmmakers,” Cara Mertes, director of the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program, said. “This year-round partnership and awards will help support important new voices addressing these issues through documentary.”