writer / director / editor
Marten Persiel is a sailor and a storyteller. Born on the lost island that was West-Berlin, he soon ventured out – first to London, studying screenwriting and directing with his first mentor Toni Grisoni (Fear and Loathing in las Vegas) at Westminster University, then on to Spain, where he worked as editor and director for commercials, represented by Mamma-Team in Barcelona.
An avid traveller, he also began shooting documentaries alone, spending significant amounts of time in Brazil, the Philippines, Reunion Island and the Ivory Coast. During this time of working both on commercial and documentary projects, Marten developed his trademarks: a warmth, coming from close bonds with his protagonists, his unique off-key aesthetics and a culturally informed narrative style that always seeks to break rules and expectations.
After 15 years on high seas, Marten returned to his home port Berlin, speaking fluent Spanish, French, English and Portuguese and understanding the hell out of the Germans.
His first cinematic Feature THIS AIN’T CALIFORNIA – which he calls a ‘documentary tale’ for its unconventional weaving together of fact and fiction – was a wild ride through his own youth and an intimate look at the two Germanys of his childhood. Despite breaking more than one law of ‘the documentary form’, the film was a surprise success when it premiered at the 2012 Berlinale, winning Best Film in Perspective and going on to win a long list of international awards. It had worldwide cinematic release – doing particularly well in Australia for some reason. Maybe it was the skateboards in the movie. Or the nudity. Or the Soundtrack, which Marten co-produced and which won 2nd best soundtrack of the year in Rolling Stones Magazine, justifiably beaten by the WuTangClan Movie.
In the years following this first step onto the cinema stage, Marten has expanded his reputation as a colourful director with a knack for genre-bending narratives back to the short format, shooting a bunch of adverts and music videos internationally, represented by Big Fish and Mutter&Vater in Berlin. His commercial directing work has won awards at Cannes Lions and the ADC. All the while, his involvement in non-fiction continued, as a teacher and as the chair of the jury at the Diagonale, Austrias international documentary festival.
Marten got invited to the Villa Aurora Residency in California, where he began the research for his most recent feature EVERYTHING WILL CHANGE – a bizarre hybrid of fairytale, serious scientific discourse and time-travelling road movie, nine years in the making. The Dutch-German coproduction is the first full length feature shot on Infrared Color, a way of shooting which Marten developed in collaboration with DoP Felix Leiberg and ARRI in Munich. It premiered at the Zurich international Filmfestival in 2021 and went on to open the Korean International Festival and the international Documentary Festival of Italy, won an audience award at Max Ophüls Festival and scooped many other awards. The film is as much a piece of experimental cinematic storytelling, as it is an urgent act of activism – helping to highlight the Extinction Crisis. Since the release of the film, Marten has been speaking about this issue at conventions like the PARIS CLIMATE SUMMIT 2022. Marten’s mentor Wim Wenders (Paris Texas, Buena Vista Social Club), who supported the project and also stars in it, said, quote: “Everything Will Change is one of those revelatory experiences that makes you want to go out and do something”.
He said it growlingly in german, though.
Marten Persiel is a sailor and a storyteller. His vision of the human experience is broad and full of wonder – and he is always ready to subvert your narrative expectations. He is currently cooking up new stories for cinema and the home screen, in his little hut by the sea.
SELECTED FEATURE AWARDS
BERLINALE 2012 – PERSPECTIVE
MAX OPHÜLS PREIS 2022
Audience Award / Science Award
INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL NASHVILLE
Best International Feature
SANTA FE FILM FESTIVAL
WARSHAW FILM FESTIVAL
CANNES INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL
SKATEBOARD FILMFESTIVAL LOS ANGELES
Best original Screenplay & Best Film
selected ‘in competition’
ATLANTA – Atlanta International Film Festival
VANCOUVER – Vancouver International Film Festival
NEW YORK – Rooftopfilms NY
MELBOURNE – Melbourne International Film Festival
MONTREAL – PHI Films Montreal
MUNICH – International DOK Fest München
SHANGHAI – Shanghai International Film Festival
KIEV – Kiev International Film Festival
MOSCOW – 2morrow Film Festival at Moscow
ROME – Road To Ruins Film Festival Rome
PALM BEACH – Palm Beach International Film Festival
LINZ – Crossing Europe Film Festival
KAPITTEL – Kapittel Filmfest Norway
HELSINKI – Love and Anarchy
SEVILLE – Seville European Film Festival
STRASBOURG – Augenblick Festival Strasbourg
ROME – Rokumentti Rock Film Festival, Rom
SERBIA – Beldocs, Serbien
TALLIN – Tallin Black Nights Film Festival
STOCKHOLM – German Films Go North!, Stockholm
NASSAU – Bahamas International Film Festival
TURIN – Sotodiciotto Filmfestival
TRIESTE – Film Fstival