“They ghosted us” – 11FRIENDS

When Lee Hicken moves to Berlin from Leeds in the summer of 2020, he has been racking his brains for months about his new home and what could go well or wrong in the German capital in the coming year. Or rather: what could go smoothly or go wrong at Hertha. Hicken, a renowned documentary filmmaker, has developed sporting best-case and worst-case scenarios – Hertha plays with dazzling stars for international business, Hertha collapses under the pressure of the fresh Windhorst millions – and then thinks about how he can do it its people and its cameras and its microphones could react to the different situations. Hicken viewed archive material: Hertha in 2000 in the Champions League, Hertha in the mid-eighties in front of a handful of spectators in the Poststadion, he found out exactly why the Alte Dame is an exciting club and what images he uses to convey this to an international audience would be able to click.

He dived into the history of the club, Plumpe, building the wall, falling the wall, and reappeared in the present: Cunha, Preetz, Labbadia. He came up with a plan, conducted background interviews, identified interesting characters. And, it’s important for him to emphasize today, Lee Hicken made one thing clear to everyone involved. He, the experienced director, is not in Berlin to make Hertha look good or bad. Nor is he in Berlin to make investor Lars Windhorst look good or bad. He’s in town to make a good documentary. A documentary about what really happens. It was said: You do the series,” says Hicken today in an interview with 11FREUNDE, and you can make them however you want. There are no rules.” But almost two years later it is clear that there was a crucial rule. In the end, the material should have appealed to one man in particular: Lars Windhorst.

When it comes to Hertha BSC, it’s always about Lars Windhorst

The story about the Hertha documentary that was first planned and then burst is just one of many that has happened at the capital city club in recent years. And if you want to shake your head. After all, as much has happened in Berlin since 2019 as elsewhere in decades: The Era” by Jürgen Klinsmann, whose published Diaries”, the cabin video by Salomon Kalou, the sporty descent under Fredi Bobic, more coach changes than success stories. But the history of the documentary is exemplary like no other for the basic problem of the past few years: When it comes to Hertha BSC, it’s always about Tennor Holding and Lars Windhorst. The – and that is to put it mildly – ​​not only a controversial investor in the football business. And if you talk about these two parties, then it’s always about arguments, about accusations and vanity, about embarrassment and gossip, about statement against statement, about, to put it in modern German, a toxic relationship. In short: there is no other story that tells the misery of Hertha more vividly than the one about the documentation.

11FREUNDE therefore spoke to director Lee Hicken, to club employees and to insiders. Most sources wish to remain anonymous. For Lars Windhorst, on the other hand, according to Tennor spokesman Andreas Fritzenkötter, answering the catalog of questions created by 11FREUNDE currently makes no sense. But more on that later.

The Republic is amused by Hertha BSC. Such big plans, so much fresh money! And yet Hertha is fighting against relegation. Inside views of a club between awakening and panic.

To the report

In spring 2020, director Lee Hicken had no idea that his work would later lead to Zoff in the capital. At this point he is – in his late 30s, fully tattooed arms, black stud in his earlobe, black horn-rimmed glasses on his good-natured face, relaxed genius type – a sought-after man in the industry. In 2017 he did the documentary that later aired on Amazon Prime and was acclaimed around the world Take us Home” shot about Leeds United, since then one job offer has followed the next. There aren’t many directors who can do what he can: portray the inner workings of a football club in an authentic and emotional way, without it being tacky or kitschy or both at the same time. More and more clubs, on the other hand, have understood that it is the breaks in real life that win the hearts of the fans between all the polished PR films and artificial image videos.

I said you’ll only look like shit if you act like shit.”

Director Lee Hicken

Tennor Holding, which has held 49 percent of the shares in KgAA from Hertha BSC since summer 2019, is also hot for big drama at the beginning of 2020. After all, what better way to present the newest horse in the stable internationally than with a spectacular series? Tennor hires the London production company Pulse Films” around star producer James Marsh, who is responsible for the film Man on Wire” has already won an Oscar. As an employee of Pulse Films” knocked on Hicken’s door shortly thereafter, firstly told him about Berlin and secondly asked him whether he wanted to take on the job as a director, he didn’t have to think twice. He flies to Germany, gets to know Michael Preetz, Arne Friedrich and Paul Keuter, makes it clear that he doesn’t want to screw anyone up, but wants to produce an outstanding documentary. I said: You will only look like shit if you behave like shit. ”Nevertheless, Hertha is skeptical at first. Getting naked in front of the camera, divulging internals, letting strangers into the dressing room? Does that really have to be? The solution to the problem is a blond man from Wolgast. Hertha’s ex-captain Axel Kruse founded his own production company after his career and is joining Farbfilm Media” also entered the project. While Hicken as a subcontractor of Pulse Films”, Kruse is paid directly by Hertha. He creates trust in the association and at the same time understands Hicken’s artistic needs. He creates access, puts in good words with the players, ensures relaxation and sometimes even has a camera in his hand.


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