You may not know much about ActionFest, but that's okay because we're going to help change that. Later today we'll be launching a countdown to ActionFest column, which is exactly what it sounds like. So what is ActionFest? Well, it's also exactly what it sounds like: a film festival dedicated to the globe's finest action films, both new and old. The fest was co-founded by Aaron Norris (Chuck Norris' brother) and is programmed by none other than Colin Geddes, who genre fans will know as the man behind the Toronto International Film Festival's Midnight Madness program.
Held April 12-15 in Asheville, North Carolina, this year marks the third iteration of ActionFest, and today the team behind it announced the creation of a new part of the festivities, an award honoring the Best Female Action Star of the Year, dubbed the Chick Norris Award. And the first recipient of this coveted certification of one's cinematic badassery will be none other than Haywire star Gina Carano.
Check out the full press release below, and check back her later tonight for our first ever ActionFest Countdown. Trust us, if you like movies that involve more punching than talking, you're going to want to keep your eye on ActionFest.
Asheville, NC – February 8, 2012 – ActionFest returns to Asheville on April 12-15, to once again showcase the most exciting action films from around the globe and feature mind-blowing live stunt performances by the best in the business. The festival will also continue to pay tribute to Hollywood’s stunt men and women, fight choreographers, and 2nd unit directors, whose fearlessness makes action films thrilling for audiences worldwide.
ActionFest is pleased to announce that Haywire star Gina Carano will be the recipient of the inaugural Chick Norris Award at the 2012 festival. The Chick Norris Award honors the Best Female Action Star of the year, in a play off the attitude, spirit, athleticism and grit of Hollywood legend Chuck Norris, who was awarded ActionFest’s inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010 (this year that honor goes to the legendary stuntman Mickey Gilbert, as previously announced).
Carano’s decisive prowess in the MMA world has won her the support of fans worldwide and recognition as a pioneer in women’s MMA. She first appeared on TV on the legendary American Gladiators show as “Crush,” and debuted in film alongside Michael Jai White in Blood and Bone. Recently, she made a splash as the lead in Steven Soderbergh’s Haywire alongside Ewan McGregor, Michael Douglas, and Michael Fassbender.
Said Carano: “It is an incredible honor to be included in this event. Chuck Norris has always been someone I respect and look up to. Being able to represent martial arts as a woman has been a blessing in my life and I am so intensely grateful to the people who have supported and shared this passion with me.”
Said ActionFest co-founder Aaron Norris: “An award to honor the work of women in action films is long overdue, and we’re honored to present the first Chick Norris Award to the astonishing Gina Carano, who I am a huge fan of. She has exploded on the movie scene with the magnificent Haywire. We know from very bruised and reliable sources that she’s as tough as they come—making her the perfect honoree for ActionFest.”
Chuck Norris also commented: “I am honored to have Gina Carano receive this award. My entire career has been blessed because martial arts allowed me to do what I love– make Action Movies. I cannot think of a better person than Gina for this honor, and I am proud that she is the first to receive this award. I highly respect her martial arts ability and she deserves all her accolades for Haywire. Watch out world, a star is born. A proven fighter and very tough action star is here to stay.”
The 2012 film line up, information about celebrity attendees, and badge sales are upcoming at www.actionfest.com.