Eva Habermann chats with Close Up Culture about her extensive, fruitful career; discussing the revolutionary different Trolls World premiere, and her personal experiences with her rewarding career in acting.
Q: You have been involved in many different aspects of the film industry: including acting, producing and starting your own film company. What were your inspirations for founding your own company, “Fantomfilm GmbH”, in 2018?
A: I have now reached a certain age where I have the maturity and the courage to take responsibility for an entire film project. This opportunity manifested itself after I played the lead role in an indie film Trolls World and was asked by the young first-time producers, Alexander König and Eric Hordes, whether I would like to help them with post-production on Trolls World after the project was done shooting. I really enjoyed getting creatively involved on the other side of the camera myself.
Q: It must be exciting to work under the direction of Krishna Ashu Bhati and with other cast members, such as Lilly Liefers! What was the environment like while working on set with such a notorious group of actors and actresses?
A: The actors in Die Wahre Schönheit / The Ugly Thruth were all very talented and really good as a team. As I cast every single role myself and already knew most of the actors privately, so, I was able to make sure from the start that they are not only good actors, but also team players. I always want everyone to feel comfortable on set, because that’s the only way everyone gives everything they can. As a producer, I want to show my appreciation to every single actor and to the crew. Every single one of them contributes to the success of a film.
Q: “Trolls World”, which was released on DVD and Blu-Ray on October 23rd, 2020, seems like a surprising but intriguing film – the plot is unlike any other movie I’ve seen before. What was it like working on something whose plot is so different from any other film, and how does it feel when your production gains popularity and recognition?
A: The film Trolls World was a heartfelt project for everyone involved and it was created out of enthusiasm and passion for filmmaking. The team and cast all worked on a reserve fee (which was still in place in 2015) and they all agreed because of the great unusual script. The story was almost impossible to realise under the given conditions and a lot had to be improvised or simplified on site. In some cases, it even looked as if the project would never see the light of day, but we never gave up on our dream and were filled with the desire to create something unique.
Q: The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly made some drastic changes in our way of life and has restricted events, such as film festivals, this year. How has that affected you and what do you look forward to when you can take part in such events again?
A: At the moment I am very happy not to go to events and only to devote myself to creativity in my quiet little room. Good ideas can only develop in tranquillity, and when I am fully focused. We were lucky that we finished the two projects The Ugly Truth and Cyst in 2019 and that we could devote ourselves entirely to post-production in 2020; and we’re already working on a new script. However, I’m really looking forward to the time when we can meet again in person and conversations don’t just take place digitally.
Q: What message or motivation would you like to convey to your audience and fans that you have learnt during your long-acting career – especially through the latest film, “Trolls World”?
A: For me, the film Trolls World (Voll Vertrollt) stands for, that if you very strongly believe in something, you will find a way to make it happen. The process of creating a full-length movie, that even premiered in the US and in Canada before it was released in Germany, showed me what you can do with the right mindset. The film is a crazy homage to the 80s and does not stick to conventional viewing habits and the audience have to confront it very open-mindedly. Christopher Sabbat, who dubbed the magician Vladimir Kaiser in the American version of Trolls World, said the film appears to him like a “Disney tale on ecstasy”.
Q: The pandemic has landed us in uncertain and troubling times, during which many of us are look to our role models for hope. In particular, your work with “Adveniat” was really inspiring and fascinating to read about. Do you have any future plans to work with any other charities in a similar way?
A: I am regularly involved in the “Kinderjahre Foundation” and “Adveniat”. Both organisations focus on improving the living conditions of children. They are the weakest link in our society and, at the same time, our future. Children have no choice in what circumstances they grow up and it is important to at least provide them with a safe environment in school and, as in Haiti, for example, to offer them at least one warm meal a day. The most important thing for me is to give young people the opportunity to learn and to give them the chance to lead a better life. I love the direct contact with the kids. I was very impressed how the children in Haiti, who grow up in abject poverty, perceive school attendance as the “highlight” of every day and how they attend classes with incomparable enthusiasm and gratitude.
Q: How do you juggle your professional life, such as running your own business, and your private life – especially in such difficult global times?
A: I cannot separate my job from my private life. I don’t want that either. I am a very impulsive, creative person, both in my personal life and professionally. As an actress, I’m used to being extremely flexible and having to adapt to the given circumstances. We are a small company with freelancers, where there are short decision-making paths and we can, therefore, react even faster to possible situations.
Q: What is it like to work alongside Alexander König – the co-founder of “Fantomfilm GmbH”?
A: Alex is just great. He’s my partner in real life and in business, and our passion for movies also connects us privately. We are extremely different and usually have quite opposite opinions on all issues. We fight constructively and, in the end, something great always comes along as finally we find the perfect idea. For us, it’s not about the respective ego, but always about the project.
Q: Can you tell me a little more about your first leading role in the ZDF series “Immenhof” and how it has sparked such a fruitful career in the 26 years since your debut?
A: I already wanted to become an actress, when I was still a child. I have been taking acting and voice classes since I was 14 in order to prepare myself for admission to a public acting school, but things turned out differently. I got my first TV role at the age of 17 through a casting call that was advertised in a Hamburg newspaper, where I obviously convinced the director that I would be the perfect cast for a girl that just loves horses; which I also do in real life. I got all the roles at the beginning of my career through auditions. At some point I had gotten to the point where the casters casted me based on my previous films and my show reel. I never rested on my success. Just like a pianist or athlete, an actor must never be satisfied with what he has already mastered, but must always think ahead and develop his skills further.
Photo by Ingo Pertramer
For Eva Habermann’s website and more information, click here: http://www.eva-habermann.com/biographie-eng.php
For more information about “Adveniat”, click here: https://www.idealist.org/en/nonprofit/f96abcf25b32411281bc1c84b4dc9003-adveniat-ev-for-the-poor-in-latin-america-essen
For more information regarding the “Kinderjahre Foundation”, click here: https://stiftung-kinderjahre.de/