Directors - Ebba Sinzinger, Michaela Kirst, Monica Lăzurean-Gorgan

It’s somehow bizarre and definitely embarrassing when the film footage of illegal logging secretly shot by environmental activists is screened at the Romanian Ministry for Forest and Waters – showing a manager of one of the biggest timber companies mentioning of how politicians tried to put pressure on his firm. “But we’re too big,” he adds. WOOD is an investigation into the illegal logging trade, focusing on Peru and Romania in particular, the latter of which turns out to be a veritable El Dorado for this corrupt business, whose tentacles the film follows to China, Russia, and the US. After suspicious companies such as the Austria-based Schweighofer group have been in their sights for years, the activists of the EIA (the Environmental Investigation Agency, a global NGO) get themselves fitted with secret cameras and wired up like CIA agents to prove their shady practices. WOOD is driven by the activists’ engagement, who are committed to taking a side. The film can be seen as part of a recent tradition of highly relevant documentaries on environmental matters that use the power of images and the directness of cinema to tell their stories. (Gunnar Landsgesell)