Leipzig Olmpics 2012

“It depended a lot on the presentation and Leipzig gave the expected strong presentation, that was very emotional and very gripping..”

Dr. Thomas Bach, (then) vice president of IOC


“I’ve seen some glazed eyes. That was the only presentation you could really feel in your stomach.”

Klaus Steinbach, President of German NOK, ZDF.de, 14.04.03


“The presentation was of course absolutely awesome.”

Sebastian Krumbiegel. Lead-singer of the band “Die Prinzen” in station ZDF


“My eyes were full of tears.”
Henry Maske, Ex-Boxing World Champion, Süddeutsche Zeitung from 14.04.03


“This application really got under our skin. I’ve rarely seen so much attention on an application. Absolute class.”
Gerd Rugenbauer live in station ARD on 12.04.03


“I think the film brought the final push.”
Georg Milbradt, Prime Minister of Saxony


“A presentation that gets under your skin. Many a spectator in the hall is moved to tears, Leipzig’s appeal goes to the hearts.”

Thorsten Kutschke live on ARD on 12.04.03


“The strongest emotions had won with an impressive film. In the national application, the Leipzig-based company has already shown great cinema.”

Susanne Simon, ZDF, heute-journal


“Gerhard Mayer-Vorfelder was still impressed. “The best was… how the canal worker gets up there and the other one is already gone”, so Heinz from Leipziger Stadtwerke won the votes of the 6.26 million members of the German Football Association.”
Süddeutsche Zeitung v. 12.04.03


“Now we are all Leipzigers.”
Bild, 14.04.03, p. 1

Image film for the olympic application of Leipzig 2012 / 12′.

Winner of the presentation of German NOK on 12.04.03

Agency: abold – Büro für Marketingkommunikation GmbH

Production company:  Wolff Brothers, Bertram Wolff

Prices:   –  Corporate Media Award: European Masterclass:

“Award of Master”
Category: Public Relations

–  Intercom International Communications Film & Video Competition:

“Silver Plaque”
Category: Public Relations – Non-Profit Organization

–  New York 2004 International Film & Video Awards:

“Gold World Medal 2004”
Category: Government

Making of

In 2003, the German Olympic Committee organized a national competition between five German cities for the bid for the 2012 Summer Olympics. The east German city of Leipzig was the underdog in this competition, only sympathetically laughed at by the wealthy applicant cities in the West, especially the favourite city of Hamburg. The agency Abold, which had already designed the stadiums for the World Cup in South Africa, hierd the production company Wolff Brothers to develop and produce an image film for Leipzig – and with the Wolff Brothers, I came into the game as a director.

The original idea was basically to have a “filmed organization concept” of the Olympic application and to underlay it with some nice pictures of Leipzig. But in my opinion – showing charts and diagrams is nothing film can do very well. Such info films get quite boring. Charts and diagrams are best packed in brochures, so you can take your time to read them. Furthermore it was clear that main competitor Hamburg sent star director Dieter Wedel into the race and equipped him with all artistic freedoms and a generous budget. Our budget was comparatively modest. We were the underdog nobody expected. This meant, we had to fight hard.

Since the competition was tough and we didn’t know what Wedel was doing in Hamburg, we decided to focus on what film does best right from the start: Emotion. And since we only had only one shot, we immediately played with the great emotion orchestra. The really big one.

Heinz...? Heinz!

The Leipzig Olympic film therefore doesn’t even try to visualize figures and the Olympic organization – but to grab the city itself and its spirit emotionally. In addition, we took a journey through the recent history of the city. The demonstrations against the GDR regime began in Leipzig’s with the legendary “Monday demonstrations” – so the Olympic film begins with the construction and fall of the Berlin Wall. Lord Mayor Wolfgang Tiefensee agreed to come on stage with the cello and playing live “Dona Nobis Pacem” by Johann Sebastian Bach, a song that the citizens of Leipzig “bore” in the time of the peaceful revolution, as Tiefensee put it. After such a dramatic start, the film went on in this style. Federral President Richard von Weizsäcker and former Secretary of state Hans-Dietrich Genscher talked about the courage and strong morals of the Leipzig people, star architect Peter Eisenman about the likeable idea of building mobile stadiums, the figure skating World champion Katharina Witt and the leader of German’s national football team Michael Ballack about the enthusiasm for sports in the city. During our research on site, the enthusiasm for the Olympic project was obvious. To make these tangible, I sent a symbolic “Olympia” figure through the city to further sparkle this emotion. More and more people shoud join her movement and in the end by Beehoven’s “Ode to Joy”, half of the city would join her.

It was all or nothing. We played the large emotional piano. The very large one. Either the delegates would turn away in indignation, or we managed to get a little under their skin in this dry event and put the idea into their heads that the first German candidate city after reunification could only be city where the reunification began: Leipzig. The strategy was successful. Leipzig prevailed, as the Wikipedia correctly writes, with “an emotional application in the final against Hamburg”, to which the film, as you can see in the press reviews, had contributed its shaken measure.

Incidentally, Wedel’s Hamburg application film was not shown at the event at all. A week before the presentation, the Senate had seen the film and made it disappear in the poison cupboard. I met Wedel years later on the train and he scolded the Hamburg “pepper sacks” who didn’t have the courage to show his film. Unfortunately, I’ve never seen it. If anyone has a copy of it, please write me a mail or send me a link. I would me more than graceful.

People with little time will find the two trailers here. Below you can find the film once as a compilation of the five film modules without the live performances and finally the recording of the complete presentation with the performances of Wolfgang Tiefensee, Richard von Weizsäcker, Kurt Masur and all the other “ambassadors of the Leipzig spirit”. Have fun.

Showreel-Version without the live-parts:

Entire presentation with live-parts: