In June, Oscar-winning French superstar Marion Cottilard - currently playing in Inception at all good multiplexes - took a trip to the Congo rainforest with Greenpeace campaigners to see for herself the effect that the logging industry is having on the forest and the people who live there.
She's been collaborating with our French team for some time, and part of her reason for going was to make a series of short films about the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo. As she said in a recent interview, "I've been wanting to do a documentary about the forest there. It's one of the most ancient forests in the world and I met all of these amazing people who are trying to fight against the timber industry cutting down the trees there. People were telling me all about their lives and how they are trying to survive in a country where there is so much corruption."
The first two films chart her arrival in Oshwe and a meeting with the forest administrators who paint a very stark picture of their near-impossible job of keeping the forest safe from exploitation. Although I've heard and read a lot about what's going on in the Congo, it's something else to see the resignation in the administrators' faces as they explain they have to contend with endemic corruption, a complete lack of transport, and a patrol area the size of Belgium.
There are seven episodes in total following Marion's journey into the forest - you can watch them on YouTube now and I'll be posting further episode here in the coming weeks.