Five minutes with: Mathieu Ajan

We talked to BFI Network Talent Executive and Bounce Cinema founder Mathieu Ajan about all things film.

Mathieu Ajan standing on stage speaking to an audience.
Photo by Mathieu Ajan

What was your first job in the film industry?

I worked on a BBC production called Marvellous (2014) directed by Julian Farino and produced by Katie Swinden. I spent time in every department and learned so much observing how everything goes down on set and the importance of having a great team. A crew member gave me some really good advice which has stuck with me until today: ‘always stay a keen amateur’.

What are you working on 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 has been your career high so far?

My career highlights so far have to be a mix of launching Bounce Cinema (which has been a lot of fun) and joining the BFI Network and Film London team, working alongside some pretty great people.

What’s your connection to the British Council?

I’ve worked quite collaboratively with the British Council through my role at the BFI Network. Recently we represented the UK together at Clermont-Ferrand film festival. The British Council also supported the filmmaking team of one of our first ever Bounce Film productions, Appreciation (2018), through its travel grant scheme which is an amazing resource for filmmakers who need financial support to get to festivals.

What key piece of advice would you give to someone starting off in filmmaking?

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?

My favourite British film has to be Kidulthood (2006). The rawness and how it 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. To this day people still do!

What’s your favourite line or scene from a film?

One of my favourite lines has to be from Juan in Moonlight (2016). '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 teaches the importance of being the master of your own destiny.

Favourite screen kiss?

The Lady and The Tramp (1955) with the epic spaghetti kiss moment. Firstly it doesn’t get any better than two dogs eating spaghetti. The way the scene unfolds I really got lost in the moment and kind of forgot that two dogs are eating in a restaurant.

Who’s your favourite screen hero and/or villain?

My favourite villain has to be Anthony Hopkins in Hannibal (2001). Probably one of the most twisted and sinister characters I’ve come across. One of my favourite heroes on a more lighter note is Hiccup from How to Train Your Dragon (2010). I’m a sucker for underdogs and unconventional heroes.

Who would play you in the film about your life?

George Clooney would have to play me. My only condition would be it would have to be his exact character from Fantastic Mr Fox (2009). Why? I have my mischievous moments and I’m always up to something.

This article was first published in May 2019.

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  • Mathieu Ajan

    BFI Network Talent Executive and Bounce Cinema founder

    Discover more about Bounce Cinema.