In 2012 Rushes Soho Shorts Festival celebrated its 14th year. The non-profit event took place from 11th to 20th July upholding its reputation as one of UK’s leading international Short Film Festivals, showcasing commercially produced and independent work with an equal focus on emerging and established talent.
FILMS IN COMPETITION
199 new films from 22 countries competed across live action, animation and factual categories during the festival with screenings every evening at The Institute of Contemporary Arts. The Awards Ceremony was held at the Curzon Soho on Thursday 19th July 2012.
Live action films ranged in drama and scale from Dr. Grordbort presents: The Deadliest Game, that combined real life with over 10,000 hours of VFX work, taking the audience on a Venus safari, to the darkly humorous Mourn where script, film, music and post production were all completed in 48 hours. The programme also included dramatically engaging tragic-comic violence of Painkiller, sadly beautiful relationships in Peter At The End starring Jon Heder (Napoleon Dynamite, School For Scoundrels), and ridiculous empathy instilled by Is This A Joke?, starring Russell Tovey(Being Human, The History Boys), Will You Marry Me? and Bike Butterfly.
Talents behind productions ranged from students to the established. Musician turned writer Douglas Hart (The Jesus and Mary Chain) bringing us Long Distance Information starring Peter Mullan (Tyrannosaur, My Name is Joe, Trainspotting). Robbie Ryan (Red Road, Brick Lane, Wuthering Heights) worked his cinematographer magic with Ghost In The Machine, as did DOP Gary Shaw (Moon, Ill Manors) with The Farmer’s Wife starring Geraldine James (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Calendar Girls, Gandhi).
The Documentary Category also conveyed personal accounts of clairvoyants in Carolyn’s Dead, young offenders in Back On Road and dissociative identities in Painting With 14 Personalities, to highlight a few of the personal journey’s in the programme. However alongside these were stories of societies, the conflicts besieging the last outpost of pure Swahili civilization in Karibuni Lamu, the stories of a community living in a cemetery in Manila in Bagong Silang and the death by development of our countries own unique ship building regions in The Quay.
In this year’s Music Video programme the boundary between shot film and music promo became subtly blurred, not least in NSFW music video opus Hey Jane for Spiritualized and Time to Dance, directed by innovative UK director Daniel Wolfe for cutting edge French synth-pop group The Shoes – transgressing the standard music video form with a gripping horror narrative and chilling performance from Jake Gyllenhaal (Brokeback Mountain, Donnie Darko).
Work ranged from cinematic tributes to the silent era (The DØ // Gonna Be Sick ) and intimate films echoing the deeply personal sentiment of the tracks (Black Black Hills // The Celebration, Keaton Henson // Small Hands), to the world’s first live interactive music video (Ghostpoet and the D.O.T. // Trouble), and the adventures of the Galaxy’s fastest panda (Gameshow Outpatient // D N A U X B)
The range of strong narrative to visually stunning work made all the more apparent comparing stop-motion promo Kina Grannis // In Your Arms,which was animated one frame at a time over the course of 22 months using 288,000 jelly beans, to Ed Sheeran’s Lego House where Harry Potter’s Rupert Grint played an obsessive fan, ending with Sheeran and Grint meeting as Grint is forcibly removed from a music venue.
A programme full of unique graphic inspiration, this year’s Animation Category took us to many places, from inner worlds of the mind and imagination (La Détente, Psychic Land, A Long Descent) to far off planets (Phone Home, Botanical Nightmare), to a local north London pub (The Pub).
No matter where or when the action was set it’s the narrative that drives through. The telling of both old and new stories, spanning from the dawn of the age of man with Pythagasaurus (starring Bill Bailey, Martin Trenaman and Simon Greenall), through the tales of the Brothers Grimm (The Golden Bird), to current affairs in Bradley Manning Had Secrets unveiling the truth behind the wikileaks, and into a dystopian future of Robots of Brixton.
Our expectations were challenged, characters are not always as they seemed, whether they were wolves learning to love sheep (Friendsheep), a magnificent beast, worshipped and exploited (The Holy Chicken of Life Music), Cadaver’s resurrected by love (starring Back to the Future’s Christopher Lloyd, Fashion Icon Tavi Gevinson, Academy Award winner Kathy Bates), or lovely Disney-like princesses that quickly turn to become more like Scarface (Whistler).
The inaugural Pushing Boundaries category showcased work ranging from top-end branded content to personal, experimental films. Often sparse in dialogue but heavy on clever ideas and creativity, we headed into the future for Peter Weyland’s (Guy Pearce) TED Talk 2023 and Back to the Start with Willie Nelson in Johnny Kelly’s Clio Award winning commercial.
Sitting together in this cornucopia of visual delight was work produced from collaborations between leading international artists and musicians (Resonance), to a thirteen year olds ode to his home city (This is Brighton).
The stunning mix of bold and stylised work, brought to us using a range of media encompassing advanced CG, live-action, photography, animation and stop-motion; took in everything from the powerfully abstract and avant-garde (Dynamic Blooms, Grindin’, Shift – Max Hattler, Sibling AW12), to spots promoting world peace and renewable energy (RE:AX aka Peace Starts With Me, The World Is Where We Live), and ultra-violent video games and vacuums (The Witcher 2 – Assassins of Kings, Dirt Devil – The Exorcist). We watched a model have a years’ worth of make-up applied in one sitting (Natural Beauty) and realised beauty is only Skin Deep before contrasting spots for Honda in the form high-octane action with Cannonball Run and environmentally conscious in Generation to Generation.
This year’s festival ran over 10 days with a wide range of events for everyone interested in filmmaking. Most events were free to attend as was signing up as a Festival Delegate to make sure you were kept up to date with the latest news and activities from the festival. Events included Brunch Sessions at The Hospital Club focusing on film production case studies social media, casting and guides on how to break into animation, commercials and music videos as a director. The lunch sessions at De lane Lea covered overviews on festival strategy, transmedia projects, the role of documentary in the modern news era, balancing independent film passion against making commercial work and a look at the latest software available to help you create great productions. The afternoon panels at the Applestore covered the ‘Future of’ key sectors within the filmmaking community and will provide insights in to what to expect in the coming years. BAFTA once again hosted the BAFTA/ RUSHES New Filmmakers Market with 16 events (Sunday 15th July) on wide variety of subjects for those looking to get in to and make contact with filmmakers and organisations.
Joining the events and official screenings were nine guest programmes of short film from Zubroffka International Film Festival (Poland), Hollyshorts & DC Shorts (USA), Kerry Film Festival (Ireland), Renderyard (Spain), Bornshorts (Denmark), Shorts Film Festival (Australia) and Aesthetica Film Festival & straight 8 (UK). Screening every weekday lunchtime these were free to attend and were booked through the festival website.
All events and details can be found on the festival website: http://rssf2012.com