Bongani Simon Minda Delfin Rosa Oscar Josef Stiglitz
Director's Statement About Florian Opitz Filmography
There is a lot of talk about globalisation and privatisation these days. Worldwide it has become an everyday issue not just in the media, but for all of us. Yet do we actually know what privatisation really means for us? For the communities we live in? For our children? What it feels like for people that are affected by it?

In recent years, a lot of films that dealt in one way or another with world-wide economic phenomenons like globalisation were produced. However, most of them tried to explain privatisation and globalisation in a very abstract way: From the western perspective of its advocates or from the perspective of experts and globalisation critics. Mostly the affected people were reduced to numbers, statistics or in the best case to victims. They weren't portrayed as active individuals, who are able to take their destinies in their own hands and change the reality they live in.

In the end, these films mostly left the audience unaffected, the subject remained distant and abstract. Thereby, privatisation affects all of us, all over the world. With THE BIG SELLOUT it is my aim to show what is behind the abstract phenomenon of privatizing basic public services; what it means and what it feels like for the people affected; what a society loses by putting private enterprises in control of its basic public services; and how it looks like, when the state retreats from its responsibilities and transnational corporations take over.

The protagonists of THE BIG SELLOUT have got to realise today what it means when the supply of water and energy, public transport or health care are privatised. They've got to struggle with something that sooner or later might happen to all of us. And they are not accepting their fate, but opposing the mechanisms of total capitalism in their communities. The worldwide retreat of the state and the privatisation of basic public services is pushed forward behind closed doors by corporations and anonymous financial institutions as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Trade Organisation (WTO), whereas the broad public doesn't really take notice of this development and its effects:

Nearly all spheres of society are to be submitted to the rules of the market. Nothing is sacrosanct. That means nothing less than that in the future, not the public hand will be responsible for basic public services like the supply of water and energy, public transport, health care and schools, but transnational corporations.And they will have the power to decide who will have access to these services, which are no longer public. Who will have access to drinking water, to energy, to public transport, and health care: Only those who can afford it.

Most people have no idea of the quiet takeover of the corporations, which has already started long ago. It is the ambition of this film to change that. This documentary wants to make the public aware of a development that can change all our lives. The strong stories of the protagonists only depict pars pro toto what can happen to all of us.

Florian Opitz, Cologne, March 2006