Thanks to a stellar roster of speakers - including Craig and Karl, ManvsMachine, Pomme Chan, Erik Spiekermann, Kate Moross, Seb Lester - plus a few surprises up Héctor Ayuso's sleeve, OFFF Barcelona 2014 promises to be bigger and better than ever before. Julia Sagar grills the festival founder on what he's got planned for the three-day design fiesta in May...
You famously built the site, contacted Joshua Davis and launched OFFF on the same day you thought of it. How on earth did you then make it happen?
I don't have a clue! I had no experience, but I guess I had a strong passion. As with everything in my life, when I decide to do something, I just do it - whether there are good or bad consequences.
The most challenging aspect of bringing the first OFFF to life was the money. You never realise how much you need and how hard it is to find someone to help: you're just excited to do something awesome. Luckily, OFFF is in its 14th edition now!
That was back in back in 2001 – how has the festival evolved since then?
OFFF grows every year, but the essence of the event will never change. What's important to me is organising the type of event that I'd want to go to. We have more experience now and keep meeting so many amazing people. I always make sure our audience sees something new.
OFFF gets bigger and better every year - what can we expect in May?
I don't want to ruin any surprises, but OFFF 2014 is going to be another amazing experience - especially with the variety of artists this year, who will definitely add a twist to things. Also, the second edition of The Poool is a surprise in itself with the many collaborations we have!
And let's say we're working on bringing a /very/ important guest. But for now I'll just keep my mouth shut and tell you to expect another awesome year!
The line up for OFFF Barcelona 2014 looks insane. Who are you most looking forward to seeing?
I'm really excited about the whole programme. Casey Neistat, Vincent Morisset, Aaron Koblin, Caroline Robert, Édouard Lanctôt-Benoit, Robert G. Bartholot and Aaron Becker. They're all sharing experiences, not just work. Every time I watch them talk, they inspire me.
Can you tell us what surprises you have planned for Barcelona this year?
I don't want to ruin anything, but it's going to be another amazing experience. We have artists from different fields, which will definitely add a twist. Not to mention the second edition of The Poool, which is a surprise in itself! And we're working on bringing a very important guest. But for now, I'll keep quiet and tell everyone to expect another awesome year.
OFFF has always been competitively priced – how much of a priority is accessibility for you, and how much of a challenge is it to ensure?
The price of the tickets was always one of the first priorities to me. It's something that I keep fighting for, especially now that I'm expanding OFFF around other countries. The idea is that OFFF has to be accessible to all our audience and to all kind of people. And to answer your question, it is definitely a challenge to ensure because you need to find the finance from elsewhere.
What's your main role in organising the festival these days?
Well, as a director, I take care of almost everything, such as the programme, contact with all the artists, their presentations and so on. Basically I make sure that it's a different event every year - that there's something new that our audience has never seen.
What's your favourite OFFF moment from the last 13 years?
I remember Joshua Davis giving a great presentation. He started breakdancing on stage - and then fell and injured his leg! It was such a fun and crazy moment. Another was in 2011. I knew Vincent Morisset was working on a special project for Sigur Rós - I'm a crazy, proud fanatic - and he told me he got permission to screen the trailer of INNI in his presentation at OFFF. That was unforgettable: I had tears on my face.
Describe OFFF 2014 in five words...
It's gonna be fucking awesome.
Words: Julia Sagar