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DoP Holger Schueppel on the shoot of TRADER'S DREAMS (photo © Filmquadrat 2005)

Production Report featured in
German Films Quarterly 04/2005

What’s the most basic human transaction? No! Not that! The other one! That’s right! Except for barter and a recent misguided attempt by the then Soviet Union to subvert the laws of economics (not to say human nature), the correct answer is buying and selling.

Now take a look at eBay, a company that in just a few short years has become more than a global powerhouse, and, along with Google, for example, one of the defining presences of the Internet, a household name around the world that has become part of our everyday vocabulary.

TRADER'S DREAMS tells five stories from five different countries, looking at the people behind the phenomenon, reducing the giant company to the max, to the individuals whose activities form part of the whole. From the unemployed in the German back end beyond of Borna hoping to become rich, to the hand-workers in the developing world looking for a way out of poverty, from the super rich so-called power-sellers to the very center of eBay itself, the film, says producer-director Stefan Tolz, “sets out to examine the company’s claim of turning local flea markets into global businesses and whether its self-proclaimed philosophy of economic democratization is philanthropy or just a smokescreen!”

Fighting talk, indeed! But as SUPERSIZE ME has just proven, documentaries have the power and pull to punch well above their weight, while nothing can beat a true story well told for dramatic impact.

Co-director Marcus Vetter, who has a background in Economics and Media Communication, is a three-time Adolf Grimme Award winner: most recently for the escape-from-East-Germany documentary DER TUNNEL (1999), and WO DAS GELD WÄCHST – DIE EM.TV-STORY (2000) about one of the most spectacular speculative bubbles in German business history.

As Tolz says, “Marcus comes from a business-investigation background. eBay is just the theme for him. He came to us with the idea, wanting to take a worldwide perspective. We were enthusiastic from the start!”

Tolz himself studied film in Munich and Tbilisi (“The mecca for poetical and comical films, for depth and tragicomedy with a smirk,” he says) and has been making documentaries for Germany’s major broadcasters for the last fifteen years. His latest feature documentary, On the Edge of Time, was also released theatrically.

Ever open to the possibilities of ancillary revenue, Filmquadrat is also planning a DVD release. Among the strategies being considered is selling the film... Guess where?

Genre Society
Category Documentary
Year of Production 2005
Directors Stefan Tolz, Marcus Vetter
Screenplay Stefan Tolz, Marcus Vetter
Cinematography Holger Schueppel, Thomas Riedelsheimer, Dieter Stürmer
Producer Stefan Tolz
Production Company Filmquadrat/Munich
Format color
 English, German, Spanish, Chinese
Shooting Dates Germany, United States, Mexico, China, UK, June - November 2005
Sound Technology Dolby Stereo
Festivals Edingburgh 2007, DOCNZ 2007, Miami 2008
With backing from German Federal Film Board / FFA Filmförderungsanstalt, Film- und Medienstiftung NRW
German Distributor Piffl Medien

Filmquadrat GbR
Stefan Tolz, Markus Breimaier
Viktoriastrasse 34
80803 Munich/Germany
phone +49-89-38 32 98 20
fax +49-89-38 32 98 21