Interview with Festival Director Jonatan Petré Brixel (Berlin Experimental Film Festival)

Berlin Experimental Film Festival focuses solely on Experimental films of all kind from all around the world. The Festival takes place at Kino Moviemento, the oldest Cinema in Germany, founded in 1907 located in Kreuzberg in the middle of Berlin. Regardless if its a quiet sensitive film about personal pain, an angry roar against society, a light hearted documentary about a grandmother, a visual portrayal of sound itself or an insecure attempt to wander into an unknown sexuality – the Experimental Film making as such is what the curated program is be built upon.

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Matthew Toffolo: What is your Film Festival succeeding at doing for filmmakers?

Jonatan Petré Brixel: We’ve had it once and we aimed at having quality fundamentals – paid accomodation for filmmakers, properly present and advertise the films and film screenings and to invite Film organizations that work with distribution, screening and promotion of experimental films. We succeeded which was real nice, we had full house on the Festival.

MT: What would you expect to experience if you attend the festival this year (2017)?

JPB: A festival much like the first but with more films, more attending film makers and more attending film organizations. We’re looking at screening around 70-80 films in our 2nd edition, while still having a proper presentation and promotion for the films.

MT: What are the qualifications for teh selected films?

JPB: The foundation for the Festival and the guideline for film makers submitting and for us who curate the program is the experimental method as such and the personal approach of the filmmaker, regardless of who made it or what it is about. We then have different sections for Narratives, Non narratives, Documentaries and Berlin Originals but all of them builds on the same core principle – a lust to experiment using film and the personal approach of the film maker.

MT: Do you think that some films really don’t get a fair shake from film festivals? And if so, why?

JPB: I think many established festivals tend to push their own ideological agenda and then choose films that fit and that irritates me but hey, it’s not like they owe me to promote my film.

All these festivals and other forms of film promotion places popping up – ours included – basically fill a need that has been growing and I think as a film maker it is more important to seek out the people you think promote your sort of film instead of complaining that the ones you know doesn’t. And if you cannot find any – do it yourself. That’s what we did, and funnily enough we discovered we were far from alone there were lots of people and organizations out there doing amazing things. Ever since we started working with the festival we’ve come in contact with alot of
people doing some really great things.

MT: What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

JPB: It is really great promoting other people’s work and making things happen. Organizing an event seeing all the impulses you sent out coming together is real fun even though it’s is a enormous amount of work and involves both monotomous grinding as well as stressfull sudden changes.

MT: How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

JPB: Excellent, they have a superb platform they keep improving all the time. Easy to work with too.

MT: Where do you see the festival by 2020?

JPB: We’re working on several things, hopefully some of them will see reality even at the next edition 2017.

MT: What film have you seen the most times in your life?

JPB: Escape from New York followed by Big Troubble in Little China, I had them on a 4 hour VHS tape that i kept watching over and over.

MT: In one sentence, what makes a great film?

JPB: If I feel that they went for it may it be in the script writing, acting, directing or post production or of course at best all of them – it’s a great film. Sometimes it’s young kids unknowingly reinacting all hollywood movies they ever seen, sometimes it’s the life work of someone with a long career behind them, sometimes a manic up and comer, and sometimes it’s a failure and others a success for whatever reason but to go for it is the absolute essence of any great film in my opinion.

MT: How is the film scene in your city?

JPB: All over the place. Berlin has both the established Institutions as well as a gigantic amount of people doing their own thing with or without money. And of course all sorts of scenarios and collaborations in between.


Festival Director, Jonatan Petre Brixel (b. 1984 Sweden) has a background in Philosophy and started making films 2007, first Film titled “Pig Man gets a Visit”. He has since made several short films and is currently filming his first Feature Film “Sven Harald’s Adventures”.

Festival Manager, Andrija Jovanovic (b. 1982 Serbia) made his first film the moment he laid his hands on a digital photo camera. His first stop motion project “The big bad bag” was broadcasted on a Swiss SRF2 in 2012. Since then he made several short films and is currently working on his first feature project “Ana”. He has a background in literature and painting.

Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 10-20 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held at least twice a month in Toronto & Los Angeles. Go to for more information and to submit your work to the festival.


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