May 21st, 2014

Last week the streets of Barcelona were buzzing with creative minds as the annual OFF Festival kicked off with a range of performances, installations, screenings and talks celebrating post–digital culture and creativity.

Mill+ artist Matt Whitewood attended the festival and, whilst soaking up the Spanish sun, managed to give us his highlights of the weekend:

Tell me a bit about OFF Festival and why you wanted to go?

As a motion designer, I’ve always wanted to go to OFF Festival as it’s well known as a place to check out some of the best animation and design. This was my first time going so it was great to see such a range of content at the festival – filmmakers, artists, designers and musicians, all held in a great space with lounge areas, galleries, marketplaces, lots of collaboration and sharing between professionals and students.

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Were there any overlying themes at this year’s festival? Is there something everyone is talking about?

On the final day, Post Panic gave a talk about their new film ‘Sundays.’ This project is a particularly interesting one, as it started as a short film and is now being developed as a feature with Warner Bros. I’ve followed them for sometime and I’m a big fan of their work and style, so it’s really refreshing to see a new director like Mischa Rozema getting into features.

What were the best talks and why?

Danny Yount was great and gave a really engaging talk. He spoke in some detail about his work and development, and it was particularly interesting to get an insight into how he works with Hollywood directors. A review into his Semi-Permanent 2013 titles was superb, and they're definitely worth checking out if you haven’t seen them.

Erik Spiekermann spoke about typography and visible language, from critiquing the Barcelona metro, to developing a website within his own company. He went into great detail about the amount of effort that's required when creating a typeface, which can sometimes involve 1,000's of characters and painstaking work.

Other notable mentions were Mucho, Casey Neistat, FIELD and Joshua Davis.

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Did you get to explore Barcelona?

Fortunately, a friend of mine I was staying with had been to Barcelona a couple of times before, so we managed to get around a fair few places. We hit the gothic area on the first night, which consists of  a multitude of mini side streets filled with bars, then headed more central to check out what else the city had to offer...though unfortunately we missed out on the infamous Razzmatazz club…

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What was the best meal you ate and where?

On the first night, my friend Fred took us to La Xampanyeria, a tapas bar that served a glass of champagne with every plate of food. I’m pretty sure it was by the gothic area… though after having a fair few plates the champagne really took hold!

...And of course a worthy mention has to go to the various paellas I had.

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Were there any cool parties?

The best had to be on the final night when we headed to the OFFF after-party, where there were drinks on-tap and a multitude of different people from the creative industry to meet. Things slowly descended into madness around 5am, which resulted in some over zealous snooze button pressing, my phone falling under my bed and me missing my flight!

What did you take from the experience?

It was fantastic to go and see such a wide variety of work, as I find it’s easy to become channelled into my one particular discipline, which is motion design. I do spend a lot of time reviewing things online but seeing people talk about it makes a difference and can be really inspiring. I love seeing people’s cryptic workflows and how they arrive at the final output. It really goes to show there is no proper way to do things and you can make anything you want.

I would really recommend checking out OFFF and Barcelona is pretty kickass.