If you'll recall a little over a month ago, we brought you the first in our line of coverage of ActionFest, Asheville, North Carolina's very own film festival dedicated to, surprise surprise, action movies. Unfortunately, greater events beyond our control kept us from subsequent entries to our ActionFest Countdown, but now that the event is just around the corner (April 12th-15th), we plan to jump right back into the explosives-laced saddle with the announcement of the next wave of programmed films.
Solomon Kane, which is unjustly still without US distribution, had previously been announced to kick off the festival, while the Donnie Yen-led Wu Xia was set to close the festival. Now we've got a look at another half-dozen or so films that'll help gleefully pass the time between the two. Save for the world premiere of Danny Trejo's Bad Ass, most of these have had bows at very festivals around the world, but this is the first time they'll be in the North Carolina neighborhood. So if you live anywhere within reasonable driving distance of Asheville, we highly recommend you head to ActionFest. We promise Headhunters (pictured above) will be worth the trip alone.
Asheville, NC – March 26, 2012 – ActionFest has announced its first wave of films and its competition jury for the festival’s return to the beautiful Carolina Cinema in Asheville, NC this April 12th - 15th. The only international film festival devoted exclusively to action cinema and its unsung heroes, ActionFest 2012 promises to be four days of adrenaline junkie heaven with a mind-melting combination of the best in contemporary action cinema and classics of the genre, as well as a world class stunt show, exciting panels and tributes to action legends, all in the heart of one of America’s coolest cities.
As previously announced, ActionFest 2012 opens with the Regional Premiere of Michael J. Bassett’s Solomon Kane starring James Purefoy (Rome, Ironclad) in the beautiful Diana Wortham Theatre in downtown Asheville . The closing night film will be the Cannes selection Wu Xia from acclaimed director Peter Chan (The Warlords) and starring internationally recognized martial arts actor and fight director Donnie Yen (Hero, Iron Monkey, Ip Man) on Sunday April 15th at the historic Fine Arts Theatre in downtown Asheville. Additionally, the following films were announced today:
Director: Craig Moss, USA
Danny Trejo (Machete) plays a decorated soldier who returns from Vietnam only to be shunned by society. Forty years later, when he protects an elderly man from a pair of skinheads, he becomes a hero, but his good fortune takes a turn for the worse when his best friend is murdered and the police won’t do anything about it. Also starring Charles Dutton and Ron Perlman.
The Aggression Scale
Director: Steven C. Miller, USA
Fresh from critical & audience acclaim at SXSW comes this intense thriller about four heavily armed hitmen and two unusual teenagers who go to war over $500,000 of stolen cash. Starring Ray Wise (Twin Peaks, Robocop) and Dana Ashbrook (Twin Peaks) and Derek Mears (Friday the 13th, Predators)
The Lost Bladesman
North American Premiere
Director: Alan Mak, Hong Kong/China
From the director of Infernal Affairs (remade by Martin Scorsese as The Departed) comes the story of legendary hero Guan Yu (Donnie Yen, Wu Xia, Hero) in his journey to slay six powerful generals.
Director: Douglas Aarniokoski, USA/Canada
Open war against humanity rages. Five survivors are lost and on the run. The pursuit is relentless, ammunition supplies are dwindling and the battle is everywhere. This is a 24hr look into their lives. Fight or die. Starring Shawn Ashmore (X-Men), Ashley Bell (The Last Exorcism), Dominic Monaghan (Lord of the Rings; Lost) and Shannyn Sossamon (A Knight’s Tale)
Director: Morten Tyldum, Sweden
Based on the international best-seller by Jo Nesbo, Askle Hennie stars as an accomplished corporate headhunter who moonlights as an art thief. When he steals a valuable painting owned by a former mercenary, he get more than he bargained for, and must set off on a heart-stopping race against time to save his reputation and his life.
Director: Michael Dowse, Canada
The most outrageous sports comedy in years stars American Pie’s Seann William Scott as a bouncer labeled an outcast by his brainy family. After overcoming long odds to lead a team of under performing misfits to semi-pro hockey glory by beating the crap out of everything that stands in his way, he must have a knock’em’down confrontation with a famous enforcer (Liev Schreiber).
God Bless America
Director: Bobcat Goldthwait. USA
Comedian and filmmaker Bobcat Goldthwait (World’s Greatest Dad) takes a caustic spin on Bonnie & Clyde with this dark comedy starring Joel Murray as a terminally ill everyman on a mission to rid society of its most repellent citizens, joined by an unlikely (and very willing) accomplice in 16-year-old Roxy (Tara Lynne Barr).
When it comes to selecting the best films of this year’s fest, we knew we had to assemble a jury who knows action cinema inside and out, and we are proud to present this kick-ass jury for ActionFest 2012:
- Eric Vespe – “Quint” of the popular movie fanatic website Ain't It Cool News
- Mitch Davis – General Director of Montreal's legendary Fantasia Film Festival, the largest genre film festival in North America
- Borys Kit – film writer for The Hollywood Reporter and founder of Heat Vision, THR's popular genre blog.
- Dan Guando – Senior Vice President of Acquisitions at The Weinstein Company
- Marc McCloud – Owner of Orbit DVD and co-owner of TV Eye Video Emporium in Asheville, NC.
- Sadie – DJ on “Mountain Mornings With Carson & Sadie” and “Everything That Rocks” on 105.9 the Mountain
Student Filmmakers Competition
Think you’re the next Peckinpah, Woo, or Bay? Time to prove it by entering the inaugural ActionFest Student Filmmakers Competition! Dust off that screenplay, power up your camcorder, and get the gang together because this is your chance to see your vision on screen and win great prizes. Visit www.actionfest.com/competitions/student-film/ for more information.
30 Second of Action Returns!
Back by popular demand is The 30 Seconds of Action Challenge where film makers, stunt teams, martial art schools, and all aficionados of action in between, professional or otherwise, showcase their talent by writing, choreographing, and shooting thirty seconds of head-busting action. Three submissions will be selected and shown before screenings at ActionFest. Each finalist will receive two VIP badges for this year’s festival. The ActionFest 2012 Jury will review the finalists, and award one filmmaker a grand prize! Details coming soon! For more information www.actionfest.com/competitions/30sec-challenge/
As previously announced, ActionFest will also honor legendary stuntman Mickey Gilbert (Ben Hur, The Wild Bunch) with the Lifetime Achievement Award and pioneer in women's MMA and Haywire star Gina Carano with the Chick Norris (Best Female Action Star) Award, and J.J. Perry (Warrior, Haywire) with the ActionFest Fight Choreographer of the Year Award.
A limited supply of our All-Access Badges, a deal at $100 which is good for admission to all ActionFest films and events including parties, panels, awards show and entry to the VIP Lounge, are still availble and can be purchased from www.actionfest.com. Single tickets (General tickets $8, Student/Senior $6, Military $7) will be on sale once the full line-up and schedule are announced in the week of March 26th, 2012. Visit www.actionfest.com for more information and check out the official ActionFest Blog (http://actionfest.com/blog) for updates, scoops and interviews with ActionFest 2012 special guests.
ActionFest was founded in 2010 by Bill Banowsky, Aaron Norris, Dennis Berman and Tom Quinn with the mandate to showcase the best in international action cinema and to pay respect to the brave stuntmen, stuntwomen and 2nd unit directors who make them. Colin Geddes, International Programmer for the Toronto International Film Festival, is the Festival Director.
Press inquiries for ActionFest can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.