FICOD in Madrid launched awkwardly this morning with Kevin Spacey

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logo[Spain] Though I’m dying to browse around and mingle at FICOD, “Feria Internacional de Contenidos Digitales”, or International Digital Content Fair for you, a friend told me it would be nearly criminal not to at least mention what we have going on here in Madrid for the next three days (see program).

Too many collaborators and credits to give (, BBVA, Telefonica, Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Trade together with the Secretary of State for Telecommunications, Ministerio de Cultura, among others), but FICOD is at this point a highly renown and prestigious event, locally and we hope, internationally. Incidentally and rightly so, FICOD is accessible to all, being a free event. The idea is to bring all it’s content to the greater public. This of course, inherently drops the level or expertise and knowledge of attendees.  Free will do that. But it had to be free.

IMG00053FICOD launched this morning with a visit, speech and interview from none other than Kevin Spacey. Right, the actor. Kevin Spacey, apart from his role in the Old Vic in London, is currently producing a movie about Facebook, so his presence was more than suitable.  On top of suitable, it was quite entertaining, especially the unbearable interview by Manuel Campo Vidal, President of the Spanish Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, which Spacey suffered through along with the audience and attempted to save with a few entertaining stunts and comments.

I can’t help but mention a few comments/questions from Manuel Campo Vidal that made us Spaniards (I’m not Spanish, but I try to blend in) look pretty damn stupid.  The interview was boring. He asked Spacey what it was like producing for the first time, to which he responded, kindly, “I’ve been producing for over 12 years”.  Facebook was the topic of conversation that Manuel could not get away from, despite Kevin Spacey’s requests. There was no analysis, no conversation, no flow or feedback. Just a list of irrelevant questions, which brought Spacey to the limits, asking the interviewer to stop, breaking the monotone conversation by pouring water all over the interview table, in a pose imitating Asturian cider pouring.  Good thing Kevin was FUN, though I suspect he’s not coming back.

But FICOD goes on, with countless informative sessions and exhibits stands all around the conference stages. Certainly not to be missed, if you can come next year. For now, be sure to check out the full program. Anyone who’s anyone is here and it at least helps one entertain the notion that Spain is trying to move ahead. Still basic, still moving in circles.

  • Arthur Guy

    It is the Old Vic not the Old Wick

  • Marina Zaliznyak

    Wow, thanks for catching that Arthur. All set.

  • Mike Butcher

    He was so pissed off with the interview he poured water over the table? Picture of video of that?

  • francois derbaix

    IMHO this kind of events organized by the government are pointless. The great international web conferences are all private iniciatives (leweb, plugg, …).

    • Javier Rincón

      I was watching a bit online and at the moment everything seems to be extremely basic.

      I might attend the ones about venture capital though.

      Thanks for the links to the other initiatives though Francois

  • Thom Cummings

    These events are often pretty difficult to balance the desires of the techies against the aim of educating the masses. I walked into a workshop entitled ‘How to promote your small business with social media’ and it was just a list of tools (blog, rss, social networks…) and then a protracted explanation of how twitter works. Bernado Hernandez did a much better job of informing/entertaining just now…

    I stil don’t know why FICOD insisted on interviewing Kevin Spacey in Spanish – it would’ve been so much more fluid if they were both speaking English. It was pretty amusing though…

  • Marina Zaliznyak

    Nope, he poured water into a glass imitating Asturian cider pouring, because if he didn’t do something (anything) everyone would fall asleep. I believe there is a link to the video in the post.

    In any case, most importantly, is that we are still chugging along and not driving!

  • jose del moral

    It’s so stupid that my Government is spending money on an event… and startups don’t get any help at all. Spain is just a stupid country!

  • Ariel Schvarzstein

    You could tell the amount of non internet people there (and I mean, hard core, smelling, eating, drinking internet) by the huge amount of suits going up and down.

    But some sessions were informative, and I guess Spacey was invited to talk about the Facebook movie he wouldn’t discuss about with the useless interviewer.

    Hence the cider pouring session and the giggles with the translators, it was odd for the interview not to be conducted fully in English.

    Notwithstanding this being a free event, the level of speakers was good. I guess that like with most things, it depends on what your expectations are.

  • joehas

    Nice post but Marina has held herself back from bringing out just what a car crash this interview was (I was in the hall).

    I would like to thank Manuel Campo Vidal for being so unprepared that Kevin Spacey was forced to ad lib and entertain us so much.

    It may be the funniest thing I have even seen in 6 years living in Spain.

    Spacey starts off all nice an polite saying how much he loves “Pedro” and two or three stupid questions later is close to saying “Dude, do you even know whom I am?”

    Campo Vidal is the kind of ridiculous toadying figure who should never be anywhere near a conference this this.

    Spain has loads of interested, knowledgeable, international people that should have been used for this interview.

    As for the conference, the headline speakers are OK but the panels are full of people with nothing to say, well, saying nothing.

  • Justin Parks

    Joder. Why oh why am I not surprised at this..not one bit. Que Tonto.

  • Almudena

    Hi Marina, I agree with you the interview was unbearable and the questions didn´t make any sense, but I think Kevin Spacey was a bit disrespectful with Manuel Campo Vidal

  • carol

    well, maybe the interview was boring – I arrived at 12h – but the event was quite interesting and informative. I’ve been to PIC NIC festival in Amsterdam in september – a private event – and I’ve gotta say that FICOD is as good (so far). Different, I know, but it’s better than I thought. And I’m not Spanish. I think it’s great that the government promotes something like that. Maybe jose de moral should go there and do some networking…

  • FG

    Well, Campo Vidal is an ass, and, honestly, anything put together by politicians is, most of the times, unbearable due to the toll we all pay for stupidities, such as the already famous and infamous interview.

    Anyhow, there are interesting things to be learnt and seen here if you can “extract” yourself from all the political fuzz and buzz.

    I think Marina’s chronicle is quite adjusted to the reality of things down here, Ficod shouldn’t be missed! :)

  • Anthony

    Marina, great article. As well you know if you’re not asking the right questions, are your readers really going to be that engaged? It’d be interesting to note from all the questions he asked, what the scoop really was :-D

    There’s no excuses to be made from the lack of research from this journalist. Spacey and Colin Firth are starring in a movie of Orwell’s “Homage to Catalonia”, the Spanish Civil war.

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  • antonio

    Campo Vidal perhaps was not the perfect interviewer, but I do not consider he was the poorest performer, in a very important matter as Banking 2.0 with very good panelists, I do not understand who chose that chairperson, no idea about technology, no idea about banking, nothing to say, saying nothing, but consuming time

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