Ernestine Kahn was raised bilingual (English/German) living both in the United States and Germany. There were at least four encounters that determined Ernestine Kahn's own artistic growth. The first encounter was during high school with Thorsten Naeter - today a well-known TV writer and director in Germany—where they focused on music and the fine arts as well as on classical dance and pantomime, soon creating choreographies and other creative projects of their own. The second one was with French theatre director, actor, and Samuel Beckett expert Pierre Chabert, who recommended combining professional training as an actress with academic studies in comparative literature, etc. The third encounter was with Hungarian feature film director Istvan Szabo (1981 Academy Award Winner for "Mephisto") who suggested to her working as a Dialogue Coach in German on his first European production "The Green Bird." Her next feature film Possession, starring French actress Isabel Adjani, directed by Polish director Andrzej Zulawski, was offered to her in English. Her arrival in Hollywood was connected to her relationship with American cellist Daniel Smith who introduced her to the language of "music".
Working for companies such as MGM/UA, Warner Brothers, Columbia Tristar and Constantin Film she has coached close to 900 actors and actresses on international coproductions, including stars such as Johanna Wokalek, John Goodman, Anatole Taubman, Christian Redl, Alexander Held, Claudia Michelsen, Julie Delpy, Daniel Brühl, Matthias Schweighöfer, Sebastian Blomberg, Anna Maria Mühe, Jeanette Hain, Christian Berkel, Marie-Christine Barrault, Arielle Dombasle, Peter Fonda, Martina Gedeck, Marcel Iures, Hildegard Neff (Knef), Colin Salmon, Maximilian Schell, Bruno Ganz in The Manchurian Candidate (2003) and Luther (2002), as well as Sean Penn in Judgment in Berlin, 1987 (directed by Leo Penn, starring Martin Sheen, Sam Wanamaker and Sean Penn):
“...the knockout performance goes to Penn’s famous son, Sean. It’s a small part - Penn plays an East German who happens to be on the hijacked plane and uses the opportunity to seek asylum in the West. He follows the trial and finally pricked by conscience, goes in to testify on the hijacker’s behalf. Once again, as in “Fast Times at Ridgmont High“, Sean Penn shows he can do a lot more than play intense young toughs. This time he is quiet and shy (his German accent is perfect). And he is so effective that, in his one big scene when he testifies and describes his brother’s death when as teen-agers they tried to climb over the Berlin wall, he will probably wring tears from half the audience...“ (John Richardson in the Daily News)
“...Sean Penn gives a glorious moment as an East German student (a scholar of the German Romanticists and the French Existentialists no less) who testifies on behalf of the hijacker. In a mesmeric display of his chameleon-like prowess, Penn delivers a stunning monologue, his German accent precise to the last umlaut ...“ (Duane Byrge in The Hollywood Reporter)
She has also served as a speech coach to politicians, diplomats, and highly qualified professionals in management positions prepping them for their appearances and talks at public events. She has taught in the German dept. at the University of Southern California (1984-1987) and in the drama dept. at the Hochschule Konrad Wolf for Film and Television in Potsdam, Germany (1994): “The Hollywood Dream Machine: Casting, Auditioning Techniques, Diction and Dialogue Coaching for Actors on International Film and Television Productions“.
As a member and chair of Women In Film International (Los Angeles chapter) E. K. created The Women In Film Festival and produced “Evenings with...” European filmmakers and actors such as the evening with film director Istvan Szabo and actor Klaus Maria Brandauer, when Szabo’s feature film “Colonel Redl” was nominated for the Oscar in 1986.