The Big Sellout

Privatisation - for Minda in Manila, Bongani in Soweto and Simon in Brighton, this is a more than abstract notion. It is the life-threatening reality they deal with every day. In this episodic documentary, Florian Opitz examines the consequences of privatization - often forced by institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund - on real individuals in various parts of the world. Minda, for instance, is struggling to find money for the dialysis her son needs twice a week because Philippine health care has been largely privatized and the poor don't have access to it anymore.. Bongani and his team of "electro-guerillas" roam their South African township and illegally restore electricity to homes of people too poor to pay their bills to the to be privatized supplier. And Simon humorously relates his adventures as a train driver, first for British Rail, and then for countless other firms that come and go with a regularity that has long disappeared from the train schedule. The victory of the citizens of Cochabamba, Bolivia, against a mighty US corporation that tried to control the municipal water supply adds a note of hope to the film. The interwoven storylines are contrasted with interviews with "the other side," those responsible for the privatisations and with comments by Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz, who left the ranks of the doers to fight for the losers.

THE BIG SELLOUT is a spirited, feature-length documentary about privatisation - the economic tool that many claim to be the answer to our current global questions. Shot on four continents, director Florian Opitz depicts the ludicrous effects of privatization of water (Bolivia), electricity (South Africa), health care (Philippines), and maybe most astonishingly, British Rail (UK), breaking down an abstract phenomenon into a pugnacious portrait of very concrete human destinies. A British train driver, A Philippine mother, A South African activist and The citizens of a Bolivian city - They have come to realise What privatisation means And they are already fighting against it -