26. Juli 2019

And…Action! With Johanna Bergel-Houwer

As Production Director at the German affiliate of Columbia Pictures, Johanna is the one in charge of many well-known cinema productions. In the last couple of years she brought movies such as 25 KM/H, DIE GOLDFISCHE, LILIANE SUSEWIND, TABALUGA or WHO AM I on screen and into the theaters. She lives in Berlin with her husband and two kids.

When she was only 23 and still studying film she had her daughter. Her son was half a year old when she presented the movie „Das merkwürdige Kätzchen” during the film festival in Cannes. For her work, she received honours such as the Grimme Prize or the Berlinale Talent Award, however she’s too modest to speak about that… She is much more interested in stories that make her heart beat faster.

We met Johanna in Berlin for The White Cube Art Projects and photographed her, and we wanted to learn much more about this special woman.

The White Cube strips back what is inside it to the bone, and creates an environment of space. How did you feel being photographed in there? Very secure. The art project is also about showing women with „rough edges“. Where do you see your personal ones, your quirks? I’m bad at separating myself from my work and I often don’t know when it is time to go home 😊 …

What makes you laugh? Everything funny. I love to laugh, it’s the healthiest thing in the world.

What can’t you live without? My kids, my husband, my girlfriends.

How did you become what you are today? By making my own decisions and taking my own path in the most important moments of my life, against all resistances.

What’s your personal passion? What makes your heart beat faster? Movies, movies, movies.

How do you collect ideas for new films?
With a little bit of time and boredom I get the best ideas … I could have more of that.

How do you distinguish a special story from a story?
When it touches me personally, when I can feel the characters and see more than just a cliché.

What do you like most about your work? The collaboration with creatives on eye level; the fact that all participants only want the best for the movie!

You had your first child at a very young age, with 23. How was that for you?
It was the best decision of my life! Children are the greatest gift on earth.

What do you believe in? The next generation. That they will force us to get off our asses, too…

What are you afraid of? Not to be good enough – a typical female problem!

Looking back, what did not go well in your life? What did you learn from that? Did you change that into something positive? The acceptance of others that I became a mother so early was not very high. Many doubted that I would succeed managing both a family and a career. By now, nobody says that to me anymore and people rather compliment me for what I have achieved.

What is your education philosophy? I enjoy family time. It is something very precious to me. Plus I give my kids everything so they can be strong, self-determined, empathic and curious in life.

What made you so strong? My mother, my stepmother and my mother-in-law – three very different women that showed me what life has to offer.