Spotlight

Mathieu Ajan

Short Film Promotion Scheme Awardee

Lady and the Tramp, pop-up cinema and the Peckhamplex: we talk to BFI Network Talent Exec and Bounce cinema founder about all things film.

What’s your connection to the British Council? Any possible future collaborations in the pipeline?
I’ve worked quite collaboratively with the British Council through my role at the BFI NETWORK . Rescently we represented the UK together at Clermont Ferrand festival. The British Council also supported the filmmaking team of one of our first ever Bounce Film productions, Appreciation, through their travel grant scheme which is an amazing resource for filmmakers who need financial support to get to festivals.

What are you working on right now?
Right now i’m working on two things, supporting filmmakers as a Talent Executive for the BFI NETWORK and connecting audiences with great films through Bounce Cinema.

What/who originally turned you onto film?
I think my love for film grew from my love for reading from a young age. I just love great stories and how they make you feel. Film just took it to a whole new level as there were so many more elements from sound design to costume.

What has been your career high so far?
Career highlight has to be a mix between launching Bounce Cinema (which has been a lot of fun) and joining the BFI NETWORK & Film London team, working alongside some pretty great people.

What was your first job in the film industry?
My first job in the film industry was working on a BBC production called Marvellous directed by Julian Farino and produced by Katie Swinden. I had the opportunity to spend time in every department and I learnt so much observing how everything goes down on set and the importance of having a great team. A member of crew gave me some really good advice which has stuck with me till today from that production: ‘always stay a keen amateur’.

If I knew then what I know now…
My advice for people starting off in the film industry is to firstly go make something. Anything. If it’s not so great, don’t worry. Make something else after that. Repeat the process, then sooner or later you’ll start to be like, 'alright i think i’m getting somewhere'.

What is your favourite British film? Why?
My favourite British film has to be Kidulthood. The rawness and how they captured youth culture really had me in a trance. I remember when it was released everyone in the local area was shouting the epic phrase from the movie ‘oi my size’, everywhere. People still do till this day!

If you could have directed/been involved with any film ever made, which one would it be? Why?
It has to be City Of God. I wouldn’t direct it because then we wouldn’t have the same film. But it would have been beautiful to witness that process coming together. The film has so much texture and personality. Every time I watch it I feel and see something new.

What’s the first film you remember seeing? What was so memorable about it?
I can’t remember the name of the first film I ever watched. I do however remember one of the first films i ever watched in the cinema. It was Men In Black at Peckham Multiplex, my dad took me and it was an epic experience. Who doesn’t want to see Will Smith fight aliens?

What’s your favourite line or scene from a film? Why?
One of my favourite lines has to be from Juan in Moonlight, ‘At some point you've got to decide for yourself who you gonna be. Can't let nobody make that decision for you.’ It’s a powerful line, which speaks for itself. I feel like we’re in a constant battle trying to make decisions for ourselves in this current climate. Juan really taught us the importance of being the master of your own destiny.

Favourite screen kiss? Why?
The Lady and The Tramp with the epic spaghetti kiss moment. Firstly it doesn’t get any better than two dogs eating spaghetti. The way the scene unfolds you really get lost in the moment and kind of forget that two dogs are eating in a restaurant.

Who’s your favourite screen hero and/or villain? Why?
Favourite villain has to be Anthony Hopkins in Hannibal. Probably one of the most twisted and sinister characters I’ve come across. One of my favourite hero’s on a more lighter note is Hiccup from How to Train Your Dragon. I’m a sucker for underdogs and unconventional heroes.

Who would play you in the film about your life? Why?
George Clooney would have to play me. My only condition would be it would have to be his exact character from Fantastic Mr Fox. Why? I have my mischievous moments and I’m always up to something.

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