Winning Not Whining (WT)

Observations of a Mayor

In municipalities solutions have to be found for the problems of our times: housing shortages, the war in Ukraine, climate protection, social divisions.  "From birth to the crematorium, the mayor is responsible for the whole lives of his citizens," says Martin Horn, Lord Mayor of Freiburg.  "All major issues are mirrored at the local level."  For one year we follow him with the camera.  Politically unaffiliated Horn, Germany's youngest Lord Mayor when he was elected, belongs to a new generation of municipal politicians - environmentally and socially active, approachable, media savvy. 

In 2018 his official duties started with a heavy blow:  On election night a mentally ill person broke his nose and gave him a black eye.  He quickly realized how dangerous communal politics can be.  "Today is your last day in office," a Covid opponent posted and published the mayor's private address.  When Horn wanted to introduce a speed limit of 30 km on all of Freiburg's streets, an unlicensed 17 year old, using his real name, said: "I swear, I will slit you open and spit on your corpse, you son of a whore."

How does one as Lord Mayor, who lives amongst his fellow citizens, deal with that?  How does it affect his family? What does Horn do differently?  Which ideas are his own?  The documentary addresses a younger public (30-40 year olds), "Horn's Generation", which wants to know how municipal politics function these days.  It's a generation whose participation in the cities is sorely needed.  Horn has the same problems as this public:  How can one retain wide support and at the same time introduce new solutions?  How can one initiate movement within the existing structures? How can one unite family life with a career?

First broadcast

June 3, 2024 ARD Mediathek (65 min version); June 13, 2024, 9pm, SWR Fernsehen (45 min version)

Produced by

Behring Film and Klotz Media in coproduction with White Pepper Film

A film by

Sigrid Faltin

Running time

60 / 45 min.


cinematographer: Ingo Behring, Mark Klotz, Julian Springhart, Sigrid Faltin

sound: Yuyao Shen, Timo Vögele

editor: Mark Klotz

commissioning editor: Maryam Bonakdar, Sabine Harder, Jürgen Flettner

Online here

„We produce documentary films - it's real life that interests us.“
Sigrid Faltin, white pepper films


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