German actors and Hollywood producers are leading a campaign in Görlitz, also known as "Görliwood", to steer away support from the far-right Alternative for Germany party (AfD) in the mayoral elections next week.
Sitting on the border with Poland, the picturesque town has served as the backdrop for major Hollywood productions such as "Inglorious Bastards" and "The Grand Budapest Hotel".
However, the town now faces the possibility of becoming the first city in Germany with an AfD mayor. Their candidate Sebastian Wippel won the first ballot in late May with 36.4% of the vote.
Worried by a potential AfD government, actors and Hollywood producers are mobilising to prevent the AfD from taking power.
German actors Daniel Brühl and Jana Pallaske who starred in "Inglorious Bastards", Burghart Klaußner, Volker Bruch and the authors Daniel Kehlmann and Bernhard Schlink, whose novel "Der Vorleser" was also filmed in Görlitz, signed a petition urging people to "not give in to hate an hostility, second-rate and exclusion.”
The German Hollywood producer Michael Simon de Normier — one of the campaign leaders — said: "All Hollywood agencies are on our side - there will still be some very prominent supporters," he told LVZ.
De Normier warned that an AfD election victory could have a big impact: "If the impression arises that a majority in the city is xenophobic, that is perceived worldwide and will probably have consequences."
The AfD has responded to the campaign: “Calls like this are part of a vibrant democracy," said candidate Wippel. "I can deal with it calmly, because our Görlitzer can best estimate the local conditions and need no tips from the outside." Görlitz will remain European city. The title is given by cities themselves.
Görlitz will probably function as the mood barometer for the entire region of Saxony as September 1 will see state elections. In the polls, the AfD is close behind the ruling CDU party.