This year's Rushes Soho Shorts Festival, which took place between 23 July and 1 August, was the longest ever, running for 10 days to mark its 10 year anniversary.
Some 30 different events were hosted in and around Soho, including guest screenings, seminars, master classes and networking events - not to mention a champagne reception and awards ceremony hosted by The Word's Terry Christian ,with awards being presented by celebrities from film and TV.
Joce Capper, the post house's managing director, has been running the event since it began.
What were the highlights of the festival for you?
JC: I must say I enjoyed the champagne reception at the Mac make-up store and the make over I received. They also held an amazing Mac Masterclass at the Curzon Soho entitled: “The Golden Age of Hollywood Beauty: Demystifying Hollywood's Classic Beauties”. They drafted in some of London's top models and made them up in the style of Greta Garbo or Marilyn Monroe - it was great fun and informative.
Another surprise hit for me was An Audience with John Foxx. Foxx has a cult following with techno music fans, but he also collects old films from the 40s and 50s that are largely shot on Super 8. He finds them at markets, composes music for them and unearths stories about the film makers. I wasn't sure how it would work before the event, but it was great, very memorable.
There was also a joint screening of 80s films with Curzon called “I Heart the 80's”, where 200 people turned up in fancy dress.
And everyone did it for free?
Yep, all for free. We have lots of partners, Curzon, Apple, APA, Straight 8 and Shooting People are just a few.
Were there any serious classes?
There were lots of informative sessions, including one on how to get films funded and how to do a perfect pitch, plus a daily panel looking at trends within market sectors such as advertising, documentaries and short films.
How has Rushes Soho Shorts changed during its 10 years?
It's grown massively. There has been a real revolution in film-making and the festival reflects that. Ten years ago you needed sophisticated equipment to make films, now almost anyone can do it.
Has that affected the quality of films that you see?
No the judges are still extremely selective, the original criteria still stand - we want films that are well produced, with great stories and original ideas. If anything the game has been raised over the years. The technology hasn't changed the fact that the creative industry is totally talent dependent.
Another big change for us has been the focus of the festival. Ten years ago we wanted to tell everyone that Soho wasn't just about cafes and sex shops, but that there was a huge creative community here - including post production, sound houses, ad agencies and design companies.
Now that people know we're here, we're shouting louder than ever about the talent. Some people get caught up in the technology, they say ‘how fast can we send that file?', and that becomes the most important thing for them, but it isn't. The talent, ideas and how to implement them are.
Do you think the creative community need particular support at the moment?
Yes, creative people are being squeezed from all angles, with companies going bust, competition from overseas, the credit crunch and dropping budgets. The market's a difficult one and young people need all the help they can get.
How does Rushes Soho Shorts differ from other film festivals?
Well there are lots of film festivals but this is the only one that's industry-based. In a way a short film is a calling card to the industry. These people are screaming to be noticed, and we have the contacts they are looking for. We can help them find their way and promote themselves. Post is a services business and facilitating introductions of this sort is just another service really.
Have you noticed any creative trends throughout the years?
Yes, it's funny the way it works. There was more animation than ever this year this perhaps because animation is becoming easier to produce. It might also be because directors can save money on shoots, sets, props, etc. But in terms of themes, there were lots of films about gun crime and inner-city living. There were lots of sex too, maybe it's because of the credit crunch, people want to forget about their problems, are staying at home more and having fun!
Have any of the winners had a meteoric rise following their nomination?
Most of our winners are working in the industry in some form of entertainment. Ed Fraiman was the winner of our first Newcomers category back in 1999 with Nurse Ajax. Ed's currently directing a new BBC series called Merlin and previously directed A Midsummer Night's Dream among other TV films.
Phil Traill, won Newcomers in 2002 with Flipped and is directing a feature called All About Steve with Sandra Bullock. Jonathan Hopkins, winner of newcomer in 2006 with Goodbye Mr Snuggles, set up Between The Eyes, a production company based in Soho.
We try to keep in touch with all the winners too.
What's your favourite category?
I love the Short Films and Newcomers categories, particularly Newcomers - as I said, the festival is all about finding new talent and introducing it to the industry. It's inspiring to see great films being made by new creative talent.
Do you have a favourite from this year?
I really enjoyed On the Upside directed by Peter Bunzl and Sticks and Balls by Jacqueline Wright. You really shouldn't miss out on seeing them.