EISMAYER a Film by David Wagner

Feature Film / 87 Minutes / Austria 2022
Inspired by Real Events

Sergeant Major Eismayer is known and feared as the toughest training officer in the Austrian Armed Forces, ruthless with recruits and unwavering in his discipline, order and macho toughness. But when he starts to fall in love with Falak, a new recruit who unashamedly embraces his homosexuality, Eismayer’s closeted existence is shaken to the core. To a man like Eismayer, loving another man cannot be reconciled with the understanding of what a model soldier should be. Will he choose to protect his badass tough guy image over all else, or can he follow his heart and his true desire? Inspired by a true story.


In 2014, David Wagner stumbles across an article about Eismayer in an Austrian newspaper and is immediately captivated by the story: the most terrifying training officer in the Austrian Armed Forces falls in love with a recruit, eventually accepting his proposal and marrying him in full dress uniform in the barracks courtyard. What an idea for a movie! At the time, Wagner is studying directing at the Hamburg Media School. As part of his course, he turns the story into a screenplay for a feature film. “My professor went a little crazy because he thought the story was so good,” Wagner recalls in an interview. Eight years later, Eismayer is finally coming to cinemas. Some viewers may find themselves sitting up straighter in their seats when Gerhard Liebmann slips into the character of the authoritative sergeant major and yells his orders from the screen. “A story like this has never been captured on film in Austria, and it is high time that this changes. Not just because Eismayer is a legend among those who went through basic training here, but also because this story tears down our preconceptions and assumptions about masculinity and strength, then rebuilds them in a new way,” explain the producers Arash T. Riahi and Sabine Gruber. Eismayer is a powerful, important addition to Austrian cinema.


Charles Eismayer Gerhard Liebmann
Mario Falak Luka Dimić
Christina Eismayer Julia Koschitz
Striegl Anton Noori
Karnaval Christopher Schärf
Hierzberger Karl Fischer
Dominik Eismayer Lion Tatzber

…and many more

Writer & Director David Wagner
D.O.P. Serafin Spitzer
Sound Recordist Claus Benischke-Lang
Production Design Thiare Galleguillos, Raphael Caric
Wardrobe Monika Buttinger
Make-Up Julika Leiendecker, Nora Conradi
Editor Stephan Bechinger
Sound Design Nora Czamler, Atanas Tcholakov
Sound Engineer Manuel Meichsner
Casting Nicole Schmied
Production Manager Christine Schwarzinger
Producers Arash T. Riahi & Sabine Gruber

EISMAYER is a production of Golden Girls Film produced with the support of the Vienna Film Fund, the Austrian Film Institute, Film Industry Support Austria, Land Niederösterreich (Department of Art and Culture), Land Steiermark Cine Art (Department for Culture, European Affairs and Sport), in co-operation with the ORF Film/Fernseh-Abkommen and co-produced with ZDF in association with ARTE.


David Wagner was born in 1982 and grew up near Vienna. He spent the early 2000s making short films with friends before entering the film industry in 2003, learning how professional films are produced by working in several different roles on film sets.

In 2006 he participated in a summer film course at the NYU Tisch School of the Arts before completing a masters degree in directing at the Hamburg Media School (2014-2016).

Wagner’s short films have been shown at many respected international short film festivals including the Filmfestival Max Ophüls Preis and the Tel Aviv Student Film Festival and have received numerous awards. His first feature film screenplay “Eismayer” was awarded the Script Talent Award in 2019.

Filmography (Selection)

2017 IN AYAHS AUGEN – IN AYAH’S EYES// Short Film, 20min
2016 MAMAN AND THE OCEAN // Short Film, 10min
2015 TRADE QUEEN // Short Film, 5min
2013 AFRICA RACE – TWO BROTHERS BETWEEN PARIS AND DAKAR //  Five-part Documentary, 5 x 50min
2012 MEINE LINKE HAND – MY LEFT HAND // Short Film, 10min
2004 AOEO // Short Film, 40min

Directing Awards:
AOEO // Audience Award (Poland 2006)
TRADE QUEEN // Honourable Mention (India 2015)
MAMAN AND THE OCEAN // Audience Award (Germany 2017)
EIN KURZER SCHEISSFILM – ABOUT SHIT // Audience Award (Germany 2018)

Screenwriting Awards:
EISMAYER // Script Talent

The first time I heard the wild stories about Sergeant Major Charles Eismayer was in 2001 when I was a recruit in the Austrian Armed Forces. Without ever having met him, I was afraid of “the toughest instructor in the Austrian Armed Forces”. Eventually the stories about him never left me. 15 years later, while I was studying film, I researched about his life and found a love story behind that tough image that touched me deeply.

This film is about coming out, love, toxic masculinity, traditional gender roles, fear and friendship. But above all, the film is about a man who is afraid to be his true self. A man who can only find happiness if he overcomes his fears and leaves behind an outdated idea of manhood.

David Wagner
May 2022


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