Tristan Ferland Milewski’s ship-bound documentary Dream Boat found a safe harbour at nearly every LBQT film festival the world over when it was released last year. Filmed during an all-male week-long cruise from Lisbon to the Canary Isles, it follows five men from five different nationalities as they board what the director has called ‘a boat of dreams and a boat of disillusionment’. Released on Netflix just before Xmas 2017, it has rapidly gained a wide international audience, making stars of the 5 protagonists, one of whom, Marek Piekarczyk we’re delighted to say, has worked in our Soho restaurant for a year. We sat down with Marek to talk about his role in the film and how he’s enjoying his newfound celebrity.
How did you first get involved with Dream Boat?
Someone approached me on Facebook. I got this message from the producers of the film and at first, I was like, yeah right – I didn’t believe it was real. But eventually I sent them a message back – just to see – and it turned out that they were serious. I did one audition on Skype with them and then one in person in Barcelona and then I got the part.
And you’d never done anything like this before?
No, I came to the UK 6 years ago and I just had my normal life, you know. It seemed like a good opportunity to do something different. I’d never wanted to be in a film, but when something comes along like this it felt like it was too good to miss.
Did you know what kind of film they wanted to make? For a movie about a gay cruise, it’s quite introspective and more interested in finding out about the interior lives of those involved than you might expect.
Sure. They talked about what they wanted to film, but at first, it was more like a ‘reality’ show – with them wanting to direct me and tell me what to say rather than allowing me to be myself. I think they wanted me to be more of a character – like ‘the party boy’. That wasn’t really me. I went on the cruise with the intention to be myself, though and eventually, I think they realised that that would work better. It’s more interesting to make an honest film about people. The owners of the cruise ship wanted it more to be about everyone having a good time and just being about a big party. I don’t think they were too happy with how it turned out.
It was certainly revealing. It shows you being quite vulnerable at one point. What has the response been like to that?
Oh my god. I have had so many messages from all over the world. I have cried so much, you know. People have been really kind and said how inspired they are by the film. It’s been really touching.
You didn’t seem to know what to do with the reaction you were getting from the guys around you to the way you look.
Maybe, yes. I was young. I’ve changed a lot since we made the film. I’m happier with myself, being by myself than I was then.
Do you get recognised a lot in the restaurant?
All the time. People are always really nice and maybe want a picture with me or something. It’s all gone a bit mad since it came out on Netflix. My Instagram has gone up 20,000 just this month. I’ve had to stop replying to all the messages. There were just too many. It’s also giving me lots of new opportunities to do new things as well. I’m talking to Gaydar about working with them in the future. The producers of ‘Dream Boat’ are maybe going to make another film – there’s a lot of exciting things going on.
Are we going to lose you to the world of the movies, Marek?
Not just yet. I have been thinking about perhaps acting, though. One thing doing this movie has shown me – in life you just never know what’s going to happen next…
‘Dream Boat’ is now available on Netflix.