Poignant documentary about how the world's oldest rainforest has been felled piece by piece to make way for dams and palm oil plantations. The filmmakers filmed the clearcutting over a period of 25 years and followed activist Mutang during that time. He grew up in the jungle and has campaigned for years against the logging and the corrupt government of Malaysia.
Swiss environmental activist Bruno Manser left for Malaysia in 1984 to protest, together with the local population, against logging in the jungle of Sarawak, Borneo. In 2000, a Swedish camera crew followed him during one of his expeditions; they documented the last footage of the activist, who would disappear in May of that year.
Due to his activities, Manser often clashed with the Malaysian government. His friend Mutang, who had grown up in the forests of Sarawak, also was a thorn in the side of the authorities. Mutang campaigned against the deforestation and the banishing of the indigenous people, which resulted in his imprisonment. When, after some years, the filmmakers wondered how Mutang was doing, they discovered that he had been tortured in prison and had fled to Canada after his release. There he was keeping abreast of developments in his homeland through Radio Free Sarawak, a London-based radio station run by a Malaysian DJ and a British journalist.
Mutang has teamed up with them to continue his fight against the destruction of the jungle, of which 90 per cent has by now disappeared, and he has managed to draw international attention. During their in-depth investigation, they discover how a Malaysian minister has made millions from illegal logging which he put in real estate projects and bank accounts abroad, helped by several big players on the international market such as Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs.
Mutang Urud is one of the nine A Matter of ACT activists and will be present at the Movies that Matter Festival. Read more about him here.
Text: Annika Wubbolt