I promised that I’d report developments with this year’s ActionFest (April 12-15) as soon as I learned what they were. Well, here’s the latest news on the festival from the most recent press release:
ActionFest’s Opening Night film on Thursday, April 12, is the Regional Premiere of Michael J. Bassett’s Solomon Kane, a swashbuckling, visceral medieval epic starring James Purefoy (John Carter, Rome) and Max von Sydow, and based on legendary stories from the pen of Conan The Barbarian creator Robert E. Howard. Ain’t It Cool News has declared that “This movie f**king kicks about 12 different kinds of ass.”
The Closing Night film on Sunday, April 15, is the regional premiere of Wu Xia, hailed by Time magazine as “Both sensuous and thoughtful, a treat for the spirit as well as for any moviegoer longing for a well-made film involving brave heroes and dreadful villains.” Wu Xia stars internationally recognized martial arts actor and fight director Donnie Yen (Hero, Iron Monkey, Ip Man) as a tortured martial arts expert who attempts to begin a life of peace, only to find himself hunted by an obsessed detective and his former master, a ruthless bandit played by old school kung fu cinema icon, Jimmy Wang Yu (The One-Armed Swordsman).
This year’s ActionFest Fight Choreographer Award will go to J.J. Perry, who has wowed audiences with spectacular fights in Warrior, Underworld: Awakening, and Haywire. One of the most prolific high-profile choreographers in Hollywood, Perry has projects with Jason Statham, Sylvester Stallone, Mel Gibson, and Quentin Tarantino slated for future release.
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. The full lineup will be announced soon, including a competition section juried by genre experts from around the country. All-Access Badges good for admission to all ActionFest films and events are now on sale. The ActionFest 2012 poster, designed by award winning comic book artist Kagan McLeod (Infinite Kung Fu), has also been released.