Press release

How does it came to Portraits of Young Politics and being on hold?

The story behind

It was something completely different that had triggered the train of thought. To this idea... To this explosive and particularly interesting documentary series, especially from today's perspective. It came about in a roundabout way from the fact that someone asked for advice about old footage. What grew out of this is a timeless film-documentary transcript by a then young filmmaker who had spent his artistic career writing and researching critically on systematic dynamics in a larger context and saw this cinematic approach to it as another "opportunity". And considered it very important. An idea that today is still waiting to be implemented.

The prehistory & the concept

A journalist - with whom the filmmaker and director had met regularly in Berlin many years ago to exchange thoughts and ideas (and with whom he also had a collegial friendship) - suggested to the director at that time that they continue working together on a project that said journalist had previously started with a young MP. And where it was not yet clear what it would be and where it would go. He showed the filmmaker provisional footage of an interview with the young MP and asked if this would not be interesting film material. And how to proceed with it.

Up to that point, the filmmaker saw it more as a short TV report or part of a news report, for example about Berlin or the Bundestag. Which didn't appeal to him very much. But an idea came to him. He tried to construct a concept for a more interesting and far-reaching documentary on politics as a whole around these preliminary shots. For example, to accompany the member of parliament during the election, i.e. the entry into the Bundestag, and to film and interview him over a longer period of time during his daily work as a member of parliament. The director could certainly imagine doing that. And to offer a long-range insight into the work of a young politician in this way was appealing to the director in approach. "Since this would be important for trust in politics. Because these are people like you and me." The journalist also liked this further development.

But the director was not yet satisfied. For one thing, this would not be neutral enough and could come across as an advertisement for a member of parliament who wants to be elected to the Bundestag. As an artist, he would in principle not let himself be "harnessed to the cart" by politics or business. And secondly, it would not yet underline what this new idea was about for him. The dynamics in the course of a political career. For that, one would have to recognize a pattern. And that would require more than 1 portrait.

So he expanded his thought process about the coming time. To the final concept. The idea of a whole documentary series with different biographies. To film and interview young politicians of all known parties or those who would like to become politicians in the Bundestag at the beginning of their political career and thus provide insight into politics and what it does to you. And to show with what motivation young politicians compete. And of course, from his artistic point of view, indirectly through this, how this changes over the years. Which could be supplemented or even juxtaposed with quotes or interviews from older colleagues, for example. And it was to bear the name "Portraits of Tomorrow." Which he later renamed "Portraits of Young Politics".

The journalist was surprised at how his initial inquiry about how to proceed with the interview material had now developed into something completely different and much bigger in the mind of his interlocutor. But he was very open to this completely new project and as a journalist found it very appealing and explosive. This is where his work and experience as a journalist could really come in. He could conduct the interviews and provide editorial political advice. It would also be possible to discuss issues relating specifically to current affairs or even issues set in political history.

Under the direction of the filmmaker and idea generator of this new project, the first pilot program rehearsals were shot with the journalist as interviewer and the young MP, from whom the previous raw material from the other open project came, as interviewee. The intention was then to use a compilation of these to lure other young politicians on board.

All in all, the idea for the documentary series "Portraits of Young Politics" was born.

And now all that was left to do was to prepare the ground. At the time, young members of parliament from the various parties had to be found who would be willing to be filmed for such a long period of time. And this was exactly where the problem lay. After the initial enthusiasm of some young politicians for this courageous idea, their (unfounded) concern that they would not come off so well was probably greater in the end. And towards the end, the negotiations were tough and increasingly faltering. Unfounded, because: Both the journalist -with his many years of experience in interviews and his conviction towards a "free society" and an open political landscape would not have disadvantaged any of the young politicians in any way. As well as the director -who has already expressed his conviction several times in his philosophical and socio-critical essays that he considers such models as a "political coordinate system" to be outdated. And on the one hand, he considers himself rather neutral in his attitude towards various political parties, and on the other hand, he would not have wanted to give any of the young politicians an advantage or disadvantage by his unwillingness to let his work be misused for other purposes. "It would be more about the big and whole, the policy as such and how young politicians enter into it" so his wording in the texts.

The project came to a standstill. Until today.

When asked if he would like to do something else with the material from the first deputy, from whom the illustrative material from the previous inquiry came, the director refused. "That was not the idea. And so there would be no neutrality and the motive behind the idea wouldn't shine through." And so it came to pass. And the project remains on hold to this day. But of his idea - which had developed independently from an originally quite different request of the journalist - the director is convinced to this day. And if a new opportunity arose, he would gladly put it into practice. "And if not in this country, then in another. I don't care at all. Because I believe that what I want to show can be found on political stages all over the world." 

Of course, to do this, he would like to work again with the journalist who indirectly led him to develop this idea.