The NGO sector contains a lot of diversity, but who knew there was an eco-porn activist niche? It is this undoubted novelty that makes F*ck for Forest, the 2012 documentary by the Polish director Michal Marczak about the eponymous, self-proclaimed ‘erotic, nonprofit ecological organization’, such a fascinating subject for a documentary. But while the movie may appeal to some simply for the spectacle of seeing the erotic activists at work and play, it also asks some important questions about the methods used by NGOs to generate funding, and the relationships they have with their supposed beneficiaries. Selling home-made pornography to save the rainforests is, as the movie shows, riddled with moral ambiguity. The Berlin-based organization FFF that is the focus of the movie was originally set up in Norway in the mid-2000s, with start-up funding from the Norwegian government. Following legal problems FFF relocated to Germany, which is where Marczak catches up with them as they go about their bizarre charity work. The group combines a philosophy of sexual liberation, eco-hippy idealism, and direct action. It essentially operates by making amateur pornography featuring either its members or willing volunteers and then selling it on the internet to support its eco causes. With a $15 monthly subscription for members to access its pictures and videos the group claims to have generated around €250,000 which it has used to fund environmental and community work in Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, and Slovakia. This includes buying up land in the rainforest and protecting it, funding replanting, and supporting conservation work. However, because of its controversial methods, many NGOs, including the WWF and others, have refused donations from the group, wishing to avoid any links with the pornography industry. As Marczak’s film shows, however, the group itself is hardly typical of the adult industry. ‘My first impression was, who the hell would ever watch this?’ Marczak says. And even if they would, who would pay for it? It’s really vulgar and its very … hairy. Nobody shaves their armpits, and it’s really badly lit. But I noticed that the people mostly seem happy in it. There are moments when they just left camera on for little while after they’ve finished and you see genuine emotion in people, like you hardly ever see in porn films. Indeed, the organization promotes a ‘love manifest’ extolling the virtues of natural sexuality and sexual pleasure. As it says on the ETHICS ON SCREEN 10 F*ck for Forest Exposes the ethical and moral jungle of modern society, where it’s not necessarily straightforward to gauge what’s right and wrong. Steve Rose, Guardian VISIT THE ONLINE RESOURCE CENTRE for links to useful sources of further information Against Gravity/Kinomaton/The Kobal Collection Civil Society and Business Ethics 453 organization’s website, ‘sex is often shown to attract us to buy all kind of bullshit products and ideas, so why not for a good cause? We think it is important to show a more liberal relationship to our bodies, as a contrast to the suppressed world we live in.’ The first half of the documentary follows the group around Berlin as they engage in their free love activism and fundraising exploits. As such, it gives a unique insight into their unusual approach to raising money and their countercultural philosophy. In the second half, the movie turns more serious when it follows FFF as it travels to the Amazon rainforest and meets with a Peruvian tribe to help them buy their own land. Marczak shows the clash of cultures in stark terms—the locals are deeply skeptical of FFF and its plans, and roundly disapprove of its rampant sexuality and eco-porn methods of fundraising. FFF, for its part, struggle to find a way to help its supposed beneficiaries, and instead encounter a tribe that does not live up to its idealistic vision of indigenous people whose ‘basic philosophy and spirituality is nature connected’. Perhaps unsurprisingly, FFF objected to its depiction in the film, and in particular to the way that Marczak allegedly staged various elements and tricked them into the meeting with the Peruvian tribe. Although as self-proclaimed supporters of freedom of expression FFF contended that despite all this ‘he should be allowed to show the sides he wished’, it made its views clear on the situation. ‘FFF is a group of idealistic expressionists,’ it wrote in its online response to the movie, ‘Michal Marzak is a money and fame loving movie maker.’


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