And what was the worst thing that ever happened?
Well, in 2003 something terrible happened which affected us very much. I don’t really like to speak about it and at that time we tried to keep it private. Danny Brown suffered an accident during his stay in Barcelona. Fortunately, he recovered very well and is already working again. I want to send him my best wishes and congratulations for his awesome work.
There is a huge variety of various events taking place at OFFF: There is the basement with its conferences and exhibition, and then there are other parallel activities such as Loopita or the film contest. Aren’t you afraid of possibly offering too much or a little bit of everything?
No, I’m not afraid of that. I think those activities are complementary to the event. I agree that the real heart of OFFF is the Roots (Conference Hall) and the Showplace, but areas such as the Open Room, Loopita, Cinexin and the market contribute to the rest of the festival. I know that we have to work harder on some of these activities to make them more accessible, but we are sure that they belong in the program.
Do you think about moving these activities to another location and/or time?
Not at the moment. We think they need more dedication and space. They are as important as the other events, and we have to highlight them better. We don’t think that splitting the festival would be a solution.
What happened in D.F?
OFFF always had in mind the idea of organizing an edition of the festival abroad and, casually, the idea of Mexico came up (some of the festival’s team members are Mexican).
What happened is that we got a serious offer from a TV station, actually TV Azteca, one of the most important stations in the country. Since the very beginning, TV Azteca assumed all costs of the event since one of our conditions was to minimize the economic risk. We signed a contract according to those conditions and started to work. Everything worked out fine; we had creative freedom and full responsibility for the festival’s contents.
But suddenly TV Azteca decided to withdraw their support, and we couldn’t do anything else but communicate the facts and explain to the artists and people who already had bought tickets what had happened and to apologize, while promising to try again next year!
What reasons did TV Azteca give for their decision?
OFFF received a letter from TV Azteca 9 days before the event communicating their decision without any other explanations. We tried to talk to them and solve the problem until the last moment, but the decision was already final and could not be changed anymore. They did not care about the consequences for OFFF and its reputation.
OFFF immediately sued TV Azteca for breach of contract. The ticket sales were directly handled by TV Azteca through Ticketmaster, and they cancelled it without previous notice. Fortunately, all the people who had bought tickets could get their money back.
Will there be an OFFF Mexico next year?
Will OFFF continue to be hosted at the CCCB in Barcelona?
Aren’t you worried about the capacity? The Conference Hall was extremely crowded this year….
Actually no. We are very comfortable with the current size of the festival, which is exactly the size offered by the CCCB within its different spaces.
We don’t want to be a mainstream festival and we are not interested in growing much more. We believe the current dimension is the right one for keeping our special atmosphere.
Would it be possible for some of the events to sell-out?
Yes, this actually happened this year for the first time. We had to close the ticket office every day. Maybe we can afford more space next year, but not much more. By using the patio as we did this year we get more usable space, so this was the right decision.
Yes, this actually allowed access for everybody, not just OFFF visitors…
Exactly! The patio has generated an open space for everybody and let non-professionals have access. We love that, especially for some of the activities such as Showplace, Cinexin and Loopita…
What about the integration of professionals, students and the general audience? How does it work?
Very good. It’s incredible that, at the end, everybody ends up at the same level and talks to each other. Also, this allows for people to meet and come up with new projects. Some of our previous visitors were later invited as speakers or artists. We are very proud about this year’s experience with Dvein.
More and more, internet and other digital media are acquiring maturity. Do you think we can already compare this movement with other great historic moments such as the Renaissance or Modernism?
I think from our point of view we start to see that happening, but I think there’s still much more to come in the future. There’s no doubt that there is a new artistic movement which is very strong and has a lot of possibilities, but there’s still a general problem with the fact that not everyone understands that a work burnt onto a CD can be also used to decorate their houses’ walls… And events like OFFF should help prepare the ground for that.
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