David Preute • Director of Rogue Trader

20/09/2022 – The German director talks with us about his first feature film, dedicated to the world of finance

This article is available in English.

After a considerable festival run, passing from Hof to Saarbrücken and Buenos Aires, the graduation film Rogue Trader [+lee también:
entrevista: David Preute
ficha de la película
by David Preute will be broadcast next on several German television channels and will then be available via streaming. We talked to the director about his fascination with the world of banks, how he approached the topic and the production conditions of the film.

Cineuropa: How did you conduct the research for the film?
David Preute: It was a relatively long research process. The rogue trader function is a special case. I originally wanted to make a documentary about it and was in contact with Nick Leeson, a former rogue trader who has been convicted and who was going to be the protagonist. He was open to it, but then major television channels became interested in him. It was an important anniversary of his sentence and the channels picked that up on a big scale. This is why we couldn’t do it anymore. That’s when I developed the film idea. I combined several real stories into one. Several real characters have become a new fictional one.

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Do you know the actual amount of the damage in theses case ?
These amounts are a mostly theoretical. They refer to the monetary loss depending on the exchange rate of that moment. The real loss can be defined in different ways. The really big damage is that the reputation of the banks suffers enormously. In addition, the trader himself bears the greatest damage. The media like to focus on the one character and often ignore the fact that there must be bigger forces behind him that made his damage possible in the first place. But no one wants to hear that. Nick Leeson was made “The Boy who lost the 1 Billion” by Time magazine. He has always pointed out that it was his own wrongdoing, but that it was not his fault alone.

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How did you come up with the idea of choosing the cleaner as the narrator?
We wondered how to tell a story like that, for which you need a lot of information. How do you control the perspective? This narrator also picks up on the class struggle theme. In addition, she is in a role where she is almost invisible to most, but yet she holds the key to everything, sees a lot.

How did you choose your actors?
Patrick Dewayne
has already starred in the series Bad Bankswhich is set in the banking world. He was also once an investment banker himself. He was the first actor we had lined up. But he also helped us behind the camera as a consultant. Otherwise, the cast is international; the narrator, for example, lives in Hong Kong and we met through Zoom. I found Oleg Alexander Tarkovwho plays the head of the department, by viewing showreels. We then adapted the role to him and his background. It was important that all the actors speak good English.

Was it a particular challenge to shoot the film entirely in English?
We considered whether we could perhaps use Frankfurt as the setting instead of London. But we decided against it. London has a greater appeal and is more attractive because it is a cosmopolitan city. We shot in English for marketing reasons, but also because it makes sense in terms of content. Many terms in the financial world are in English anyway, and I studied in the U.S., so I can write well in English.

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Did you actually shoot in London?
95% of the film was shot in Bavaria, but all the outdoor scenes where the actors are seen have really been shot in London. We were able to shoot in a real bank, which was less of a hassle because all the set design was already there. The fact that it was during the pandemic meant that a lot of the staff worked from home, so one wing of the building was empty and we were able to use it. Some of the bankers also helped us as consultants. It was important to me that we bring in as much authenticity as possible.

What was important for the visual concept?
The concept had to reflect that this is a story that repeats the same thing over and over again. That’s why, for example, the camera had to move as if it knew what was going to happen next. The character walks because the camera moves in a particular direction, not the other way around. We also wanted a reduced colour palette, with black, white and blue. Of course, we also had to adapt to the location itself. All the carpets there were yellow, and therefore we had to accept that.

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