Best known for her roles in Ku’damm 56, Ku’damm 59 and Die Glasbläserin, German actress Maria Ehrich started a big adventure alongside her boyfriend, journalist and film-maker Manuel Vering, at the beginning of 2018. For Leaving the Frame, the 26-year-old and her boyfriend went on a world trip to film documentaries about people that want to make a difference in this world. She speaks to Discover Germany about what she experienced along the way, and more.
TEXT: NANE STEINHOFF | MAIN PHOTO © MANUEL VERING
Born in 1993, Ehrich can already look back over numerous TV and cinema productions, despite her young age. As protagonist of the Ruby Red Trilogy – an adaptation of the three famous fantasy novels by German author Kerstin Gier, the actress from Erfurt made a significant name for herself. Ehrich recalls: “It was a really great experience to work on a project for so many years. I also found it really exciting to play a role in a fantasy movie – simply magical!”
In TV, she was able to get main roles in productions like the successful Ku’damm 56, Ku’damm 59, Der Himmel über Burma and Die Glasbläserin. Many awards, like the Jupiter Award in 2015 for the ‘Best National Actor’, or the Goldene Kamera award for ‘Best Emerging New Performer’, followed. Ehrich recalls: “What I love most about acting is that you can try new things over and over again and that you work with a huge team on a joint project. Each time, it gives you a very special energy.”
Neufundland. Photo © Leaving The Frame
‘We wanted the wild feeling’
Alongside her successful acting career, Ehrich embarked on a fascinating journey at the beginning of 2018 with her boyfriend Manuel Vering. Together, they decided to go travelling for a few months to create documentaries about people who want to change something on our planet. The name for this great project: Leaving The Frame. “At the beginning, we simply wanted to escape everyday life, but the closer the trip came, the more we realised that we wanted to show the world what we would learn along the way. We wanted to reach as many people as possible with our documentaries, to show an honest picture of our time abroad,” recalls Ehrich.
An old beetle classic car, called ‘Heidi’, accompanied them on part of their journey through foreign countries and cultures – “Heidi managed to keep running the entire time without fail,” adds Ehrich. The couple managed to travel across numerous countries and, in North America alone, a total of 20,000 kilometres was covered. Their journey began in Kenya and led them through Hawaii and Mexico, before bringing them through North America and Canada in the classic car. “In Los Angeles, we bought ourselves a roof tent so we could also travel away from the beaten track. We wanted the wild feeling,” Ehrich smiles.
Left to right: California. Photo © Leaving The Frame | Photo: © Leaving The Frame / Manuel Vering
On their travels, Ehrich and Vering met people that fascinate with what they do. People that bring a bit of light to our world. One example is the nun, Mary Jane, who manages an orphanage in Nairobi without any money and who was able to bring up over 300 children. Another example: Polish Jurek, who lives in New York – a Jew that survived the Holocaust and has since drawn numerous impressive artworks about the past. Ehrich says: “The people that we met and portrayed will, of course, always stay in our heads. But the animals and nature were also so amazing, that we still take great energy from these encounters. There was, for example, the encounter with a huge humpback whale in Newfoundland. The whale was only one metre from our boat and emerged from the water to take a closer look at us. You never forget such a moment.”
About living one’s own dreams
The travels into the unknown became unforgettable encounters with touching stories and much room for spontaneous adventures. And the best thing about it: we can all be a part of it too! Alongside the different blog posts and smaller documentaries on Ehrich and Vering’s social media channels, the team has also produced the Leaving the Frame documentary, which came to cinemas at the beginning of October. “We really like the result and hope that the audience also loves the film,” smiles Ehrich. The actress, her boyfriend and a friend of theirs produced the entire film on their own, which is a quite a special feat. The film impresses with breathtaking imagery, experienced people in front of and behind the camera and journalistic sensitivity for their conversation partners, whose stories will stick in viewers’ minds for quite some time.
Kenya. Photo © Leaving The Frame
For reading enthusiasts, Ehrich has something to entice, also – the inspiring book Leaving The Frame: Ohne Drehbuch auf Weltreise (Ullstein Verlag), which was released in shops on 30 August. Ehrich explains: “It’s not a classic travel book, even though readers travel through different countries and adventures with us. It’s not an autobiography, either, even though I’m really honest in the book and reveal a lot. Essentially, it’s a ‘be brave’ book that encourages readers to go through the world with open eyes.” After all, the entire Leaving The Frame project seeks to encourage people to live their own dreams, to leave their comfort zones and to see the bigger picture. “Oscar Wilde once said ‘Travel improves the mind wonderfully, and does away with all one’s prejudices’ – I think this quote is still so true. Travelling gives you the possibility to look at your life from the outside, to rearrange your thoughts and to fall in love with the world anew, again and again,” smiles Ehrich.
And what else can we look forward to from the actress in 2019? She concludes: “I have one more big thing planned for this year: to do nothing! After these crazy past few months, I’m simply looking forward to a bit of relaxation and time for my family and friends. But next year, many great new projects are already in the pipeline. I will start off the year with the third Ku’damm season, which I’m really looking forward to. Furthermore, Altes Land will be aired on television in 2020. And who knows where else I will be taken to. In any case, I can hardly wait!”
Mammoth Lakes. Photo © Leaving The Frame