original Swedish title: Flotten working title: The Acali Experiment
The In the summer of 1973, five men and six women embarked on a 101-day scientific sea-adventure, drifting on a small raft named ‘Acali’ across the Atlantic. In an experiment initiated by Mexican anthropologist Santiago Genovés, the project’s aim was to explore the origins of violence and the dynamics of sexual attraction. The eleven members of the crew were handpicked from around the world with the objective of mixing religion, gender and nationality to maximize friction on board. Genovés called the expedition a ‘Peace Project’ but it did not take long for the international press to rename it ‘The Sex Raft’, a nickname which still upsets some members of the crew. As leader of the experiment, Genovés had hoped that violent conflicts and sex orgies would result from the close quarters in which his human guinea pigs were forced to live, but what ultimately happened on that drifting raft was entirely unexpected. Instead of fighting or having sex, the group slowly turned against him. Mutiny was discussed and at one point there was even a plan to kill him. Today, more than forty years later, the surviving members of ‘The Acali Expedition’ reunite in a film studio where they climb onboard a stylized reconstruction of the Acali raft to tell the hidden story behind what has been described as ’the strangest group experiment of all time.’
With support of Schwedisches Filminstitut, Film Väst, Nordisk Film & TV Fund, MEDIA, Det Danske Filminstitut produced by FASAD Productions AB, Bullitt Film, Sutor Kolonko, Motto Pictures.
CPH:DOX - Best International Documentary ”The Raft is a film about an endless curiosity for the world and the characters who try to survive in it. Its great accomplishment lies in the equal measure of conceptual and emotional elements in the construction, in which feelings and emotions get literally elevated. Two very different forms are intertwined and merge surprisingly well: we see love, companionship and stamina triumph over darker sides of human behavior… The jury perceives the film as a unique record of time and culture, of aging and ultimately, a monument to the courage of people formerly known as the weaker sex, who embark on a journey into the unknown. We cannot imagine a better metaphor for what it is we’re all trying to do everyday in the documentary field. We’re proud to announce a film that oozes CPH:DOX from all its pores, in its perfect marriage of form and content, of humanity and aesthetics…” – Jury motivation for the main prize at CPH:DOX