TENANT recently caught up with George at his inner city apartment, where he took time out to cook up a lovely leisurely lunch and together we munched through diverse topics, ranging from migration, travel, festivals, and of course the digital revolution.
George Hedon is excited by all things created digital – his speech spiced by compelling idioms like ‘living in a post-pc era’. Hedon is the Director and founder of Melbourne’s Pause Fest. Now in its second year, Pause Fest is focused on celebrating the art and innovation of digital culture.
Over the past 18-months Hedon and his festival have attracted the support of an impressive list of domestic and international brands with strong digital identities; brands such as Vimeo, Motionographer, IdN Magazine, and Melbourne’s ACMI and Federation Square, and hundreds of industry practitioners, students and members of the public interested in what they have to say.
While George enjoys promoting dialogue with this community year round, his festival aims to ‘get the online community off-line’; and for all of those involved to grab some face-time and discuss digital possibilities and the future – his festival theme in 2012.
When did you know you wanted to be a festival director?
Probably during Pause Fest! Strange right? I never really set out to be a festival director, I just saw an opportunity, or opportunities, and shaped it into a concentrated program.
How did you get there?
One of my strengths is assembling things – especially if they mean something to me. I enjoy working out how to get things done. I guess you can call it directing and producing. I really had fun along on the way but it was a long and painstaking process too. Juggling my AD agency work to pay the bills and committing all of my free time to Pause resulted in no weekends and very little social life – but I loved it and I think I created something unique for Melbourne and something that is going to grow.
You were not born in Melbourne and I can hear and accent, where did you grow up?
I grew up in a lovely country called Serbia.
How old were you when you first came to Melbourne and what was your strongest impression of Melbourne at that time, can you recall?
I was 18 years old and it was a tough decision to leave my family and my friends. I had two radio shows on the go and a seemingly never-ending series of parties that we (my friends) organized together. When I arrived in Melbourne it was raining and I remember it as being colder than I expected. But that is Melbourne weather, unpredictable at all times.
Where do you live now?
How long have you lived in the heart of city and what do you enjoy about it?
I have lived here for around 540 days and I love walking to the QV markets, coffee from Brother Baba Budan and all of the delicatessen shopping.
If you did not live in 3000 where else might you live? Do you have a favourite Melbourne postcode?
It’s hard to pick. I like many different parts of Melbourne. Many that are very contrasting but still appealing, such as 3065 (Fitzroy) and 3943 (Sorrento).
Can you name a favourite year in Melbourne?
2010 was the year I returned to Melbourne after five years of travelling and living in Europe. I remember waking up in Belgrade and thinking I was in Melbourne and being disappointed that I was not – and that’s when I knew I had to go back down under. That year I enjoyed my homecoming and catching up with family, friends and places I had missed.
What are some things that make you feel proud of Melbourne?
I like the fact that Melbourne has a very distinct micro culture of it’s own. There are several pockets in the city (people and brands) that push their own story. People that embrace design culture and celebrate multiculturalism. Melbourne really is the festival, music and art capital of Australia and with the added recent tagline of being the world’s most livable city.
What’s you favourite Melbourne expression?
Place that reminds you of Melbourne, that is not?
When I am in Spain I feel like I am at home, it is like Oz in Europe!
A couple of last questions for you, your festival work has a community spirit, how would you like to be remembered?
As someone who inspires people to be the best they can be.
In keeping with your community spirit whom would you like to recommend to TENANT to be profiled in the coming months?
It must be Carlos Flores! He has designed so many cool bars and shops in Melbourne and I think he’ll be your best bet.
Thanks for your time George; you’ve been very hospitable and even cooking up an amazing lunch! Best of luck with Pause Fest 2012, it is fabulous project and I think Melbourne is lucky to host and boast such a progressive festival platform. Viva la Digital Revolution!