The success of a documentary is made up of two principle elements: its subject matter and the way the filmmaker tells his story. Polish director Michał Marczak has surely won half the battle by finding a topic that makes his film stand out like a streaker on Cup Final day.
His new film is called Fuck for Forest, or for the coy among us, F*ck for Forest. It follows one of the world’s most unusual environmental organisations who go by the name of Fuck For Forest, or sometimes FFF. The group aims, like many charities, to preserve the planet’s rain forests. Where they differ from Greenpeace and the like is that they raise money through making and distributing porn. As they explain on their website “saving the planet is sexy!” so “why not get horny for a good cause?” Indeed.
Fuck for Forest is getting its premiere at Kinoteka, the 11th Polish Film Festival in London on Monday 11th March at the Curzon Soho. The screening will conclude with a discussion from activists and thinkers. We caught up with Marczak to learn more about his documentary and its unusual stars.
Marczak first heard about FFF in a newspaper article and decided to have a look at their website. What he found was, as he puts it, “hard-core porno, there isn’t really much subtlety or eroticism involved”. What was most intriguing about the films was their style. “Each movie seemed to have a different group of people involved and it all seemed to be captured randomly in a documentary style. There was no acting, nothing was staged.”
The actors were a very diverse group, speaking different languages, and of all shapes, sizes and colours. Possibly even more remarkable was that sometimes you could see glimpses of genuine emotion – about as far from regular porn as it is possible to get. Then there was their ethical intent. “I wondered if this is for real? Is it a joke, a provocation or what?”
After meeting the group he realised that the truth wasn’t going to be clear cut. “They are a group and all the people are different, all the people have their own drives to be in the group. So that seemed interesting. I could make a movie that is not going to be simple, that would be about a couple of things at the same time and will not give clear answers.”
Marczak’s previous documentary, At the Edge of Russia, looked at a young soldier joining a group of older troops at a Russian army base in the frozen north east of the country. The soldiers not only experienced the extremes of Arctic temperatures, but also had to endure being cut off from the rest of civilization for long periods of time. There are parallels with his current project. Although Russian soldiers and Berlin hippies might appear to be utterly different, while FFF might not be stuck in the middle of Siberia they are in a self-imposed exile from the economic, social and ethical norms of society.
“They are not liked or supported by many people,” according to Marczak. “So, they’ve created their own little wonderland where they feel safe and where they can do what they do.” This isolation interested him he says, “one thing that appeals to me is how people from our society try to live differently. Although I think that the connection between these two was probably unconscious.”