Interview: OFFF founder Héctor Ayuso

In preparation of the OFFF digital media festival in May 2014 we are launching a series of interviews with selected speakers from the event. To kick things off we spoke to OFFF founder Héctor Ayuso about some of the challenges he faced organising the festival.

Hello Héctor, would you mind briefly introducing yourself to our readers.

Introducing yourself must be the trickiest thing you could do, but well I’m Héctor Ayuso, I’m a curator and OFFF Festival’s founder and director, also known for a huge Sigur Ros fanatic that owns thousands of blu-rays back at home. Hope that sums it up!

I read somewhere that you came up with the idea for the OFFF and launched it that same day. What was the biggest challenge organising that first event?

That is true, and I can never count the times someone has asked me this question and I really hope every time my answer will influence most of the people out there with a strong passion to do something. Basically the biggest challenge I have ever faced is the fact that I had no previous experiences in such things and I had no idea what I was doing. I had a passion to do create something new, a place where people could gather, meet and get inspired by the awesome talents we have out there. I would say that I probably lost a lot of money in my first event, but that only taught me something new every year. And once you have a strong will to do something, you fall, you pick yourself up and you basically learn how to do it better each time.

We’re all glad you persisted! What would your one piece of advice be to someone who is thinking of organising a talk or event.

If you want to do something, just do it, go all the way till the end until you achieve that goal. And that’s the main reason OFFF has been going on for its 14th edition now. Another important piece of advice: don’t think about the event’s profits, don’t organise something focusing on the money that you will make or any such thing. Focus on your audience and give them something that will change their life and this will give you the opportunity of success.

After 13 years of OFFF is it possible for you to pick a highlight?

I think that the experience at OFFF is a mix of highlights all together, personally the highlight of each year is seeing my audience’s faces every time they leave the venue, with those expressions, whether it’s with disgust or brightness in their eyes (but most likely I like the brightness part), that shows that this experience or this speaker has affected them in some way. And if I was pushed to confess one of my favourite highlights, that would be back in 2009 in Lisbon, when I sat next to Kyle Cooper and watched his OFFF’s main titles. That moment was unforgettable, I remember I had a break down for like 15 minutes, and that’s pretty much what I always look for every year at OFFF, something to rock my world.

You guys put a great deal of effort into the main titles for each event. We’re all really excited to see Ash Thorp collaborating with Anthony Scott Burns on the titles for 2014. Can you give away any details on their progress?

People never believe me but I never wanted to see any OFFF main titles before the event. I love to keep the excitement until the day of the Festival and that’s how it’s done for 13 years now, I ask the artists to do whatever they want without updating me on anything, as long as I have something awesome waiting for me at the Festival.

OFFF has been spreading across the globe, where would you like to take it next?

Taking OFFF to next levels such as Cincinnati, New York, Paris, Lisbon, México City among others and finally at Montréal in March 2014, I would say that my wish has always been to make OFFF at Tokyo. And I’m sure that one day it will happen.

Tokyo would be excellent! Is there anything in particular you love about the city? Have you visited Tokyo in the past?

I guess we all have this strange amazing love for a city that we’ve never been to, and that’s how I feel about Tokyo and its culture. Maybe because it feels like it’s a whole different world out there, and I’m sure it will be one hell of a different experience for OFFF!

Since 2001 you must have had hundreds of speakers at OFFF. Is there one person you really want to see at the next OFFF?

Basically all the speakers that will attend OFFF 2014 and the next OFFF editions. My main job as an OFFF director is choosing the people that inspire me and that are willing to inspire my audience every year, and that is something that I never fail to find every single year because there are just so much talent out there to be discovered.

Alright, but if I had to push you. Could you name one or more speakers that you might be particularly excited about seeing at OFFF 2014?

Fine, let’s say I’m pretty excited to see Casey Neistat because he’s just an awesome twist to OFFF this year, among other speakers. And I’m sure he’s going to rock my audience’s world!

Thanks to Héctor for taking that time to chat to us! Keep your eyes peeled for more exclusive interviews over the next couple of months in the run up to OFFF 2014 in Barcelona from 14th – 17th May.

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