Film Festival Poster

Our winning poster design proposal for the competition of designing the 31st edition of the Mediterranean Film Festival of Montpelier in France

By Tarek Atrissi

We have responded to the invitation to participate in the competition to design the poster for the 31st edition of the Mediterranean Film Festival of Montpelier (Festival international du Cinéma Méditerranéen de Montpellier). I am usually not eager to participate in design competitions, I feel these are many time more abusive than pitches: Clients tend to get the most amount of creative solutions done for “free” before choosing their favorite design- and hence eliminate any possibility for a healthy design process which usually involves a continuous communication between the client and the designer insuring progressive work development and resulting in a good final outcome. However, in this case, the organizing committee of the festival seemed organized and professional, and have rationalized the need and reasons for making this as an open competition. And of course, the elements of the competition seemed very appealing: A poster; a film festival; and a Mediterranean city!

We presented several proposed designs and our poster design shown above ended up being selected as the winning entry. It is now used as well as the basis for all promotional material for the festival. What made this specific design win? I didn’t get to see the work of other designers, but I know that we had some other interesting proposal which were more typographically driven, since I am very interested in visually expressing Mediterranean typography. The design based on the curious narrative photo of the 50’s style female model seemed to be the most different and eye catching to the event organizers, who felt this represents the festival image best despite it being different from the posters style developed for the last 30 years. Not surprising, there is something magical about having a woman on a poster, particularly when it becomes part of a graphic and typographic layout and at the essence of the design treatment; as opposed to being used under a “sex-sell” approach. I am surprised to see how many of our designed posters actually revolve around the graphic and typographic exploration of a woman’s illustration or photograph. A topic that can be explored on its own, particularly when it comes to the notion of the use of the woman as an element in Graphic Design, specifically in the Arabic side of the Mediterranean world.