Rushes managing director Joce Capper offers up her take on the Rushes Soho Shorts Festival, which reached its climax last week.

What were your highlights of RSSF 2009?

There was simply so much going on it’s hard to choose. Over 10 days we’ve screened 24 film programmes and held over 40 events. There’ve been seminars at Soho Film Lab, exhibitions at The Horse Hospital and Tenderpixel demonstrations at BAFTA, London Film Academy and The Apple Store. We showcased an amazing 140 films, from 18 countries within our competition screenings at the ICA, including for the first time, screenings of International and Long Form work. I’ve always loved our straight 8 screenings, the educational workshops at SFL have been a great addition, screening the YDA with the APA, and of course all the parties we have.  Particularly the networking night at the Movieum on the South Bank, it’s a fabulous place, dedicated to British Film. As you can see, there was a lot to chose from.

Did you spot any creative or technical trends this year as far as the entries were concerned?

Yes, one thing that was a very strong trend across all our categories were relationships based stories, particularly focused around family and friends, across all generations.  I’ve thought about why this would be and I have come to the conclusion that when times are hard and the world seems a slightly scarier place we all look to our core values and what is important to us: family, friends.  Perhaps the generational part is about those having experienced tough times before.  Many generations haven’t and are turning to those that perhaps before we may not have noticed.

- What has impressed you the most about this year’s entries?

Always the quality of the films, the complete originality of scripts and how passionate filmmakers are.  Many filmmakers are re-entering each year. The festival’s reputation has widened though, we had more overseas entries than ever before, hence the inclusion of an international category.  Creativity and talent is alive and well!

- How do this year’s Broadcast Design entries compare with previous years?

We broadened the category this year to include virals and trimmed down the size of the screening to an hour - not because we don’t have enough to fill a longer screening but simply, to focus the attention on outstanding work.  I guess the difference really with this category is that many are commissioned pieces of work produced to a high calibre for paying clients.  This is a diverse and a brilliantly eclectic category.  My favourite in fact!

- It’s been a difficult year for many people and companies with the impact of the global recession. Overall, were you pleased with what you achieved in 2009?

Everyone knows that this is an extremely challenging climate and we are all managing through the worst economic crisis since the Second World War.  The uncertainty in the creative market place means there is a real and urgent requirement to support and promote talent and excellent work. We believe it’s essential in the days when cost cutting gets talked about more than filmmaking or in the case of Rushes the great VFX we create.

The festival shows that there is a strong, vibrant creative industry, and value should be placed upon the expertise we have here in the UK.  That’s why Soho Shorts is more relevant than ever; nurturing and encouraging filmmakers has always been at the heart of our mission. It is important to mention that Soho Shorts is only possible through the support of our sponsors and partners and judges. With their help I actually do think it’s been the best festival to date. People are collaborating more and it reaps rewards.

What are you ambitions for the festival for next year?

We have so many! First, we will take a look at everything we did for 2009 and the feedback we get from all involved.  Most events have sold out and all really well attended. We want to continue to provide a format where there is discussion and debate of the many issues across creative markets. We want to screen and watch great films, plus network together, build awareness and have some fun.  The industry is changing rapidly, no day seems to be the same, and the festival will always need to adapt.

We will seek original and interesting content; find new ways to show that content, and hold even more relevant events, attempting to reach the widest audiences that we can.  Rushes Soho Shorts goes on tour throughout the UK and other worldwide festivals once the main event is over.  That gives us a great opportunity to ensure we are staying in touch and getting it right with the festival for the industry, our supporters and the general public.

Joce Capper is the managing director of Rushes