The Return of ActionFest with ActionFest 3: “This Time It’s Personal”

The Return of ActionFest with ActionFest 3: “This Time It’s Personal”-attachment0

Word has finally come that, yes, we’ll be seeing another ActionFest in Asheville in 2012. So those of you who’ve been asking me — and that includes the intrepid soul who last year sat through 13 feature films — can finally stop asking, and now start planning how to spend those three days of high-octane movies in mid-April.

I freely admit that I wasn’t that taken with the first year of ActionFest. Yes, some of the movies were good, but they went largely unwatched amid the events and the focus on star Chuck Norris. Last year was a completely different matter, and it had a completely different feel. There was a sense of excitement — of something special and, dare I say, quirkily Asheville. It certainly didn’t hurt that there was also a solid batch of movies. Hell, it managed to get me to drag myself to a midnight show of Hobo with a Shotgun — and I gave up midnight shows a good while ago.

Last year also showed us that there are elements of action and stuntwork in films that we don’t think of as action pictures — as witness the Asheville Film Society bringing in Hal Ashby’s Harold and Maude for a special screening followed by a Q&A with last year’s Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Buddy Joe Hooker who’d done the stunts for that cult classic. There’s more here for film fans than might at first meet the eye. We’ll keep you posted on developments as they become known, but below is the preliminary info.

ActionFest, the only international film festival devoted exclusively to action cinema and its unsung heroes, returns to the beautiful Carolina Cinema in Asheville from April 12 through 15, 2012 for its third consecutive year. ActionFest will once again showcase the most exciting action films from around the globe, pay tribute to the stuntmen, fight choreographers and 2nd unit directors that make them possible, and thrill attendees with live stunts performed by Hollywood’s top stunt men and women.
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This year’s ActionFest Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to legendary stuntman Mickey Gilbert. Gilbert’s amazing career spans seven decades and more than a hundred feature films, from 1959’s Ben-Hur to 2007’s Evan Almighty, with countless classics in between, including Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Wild Bunch, The Sting, Blazing Saddles, Hooper, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, The Blues Brothers, Rocky III, City Slickers, Apollo 13, Liar Liar, and The Last of the Mohicans, to name just a few. Gilbert will receive the award in person on Saturday, April 13, placing him in the rarified company of last year’s recipient, the famous Buddy Joe Hooker, and Chuck Norris himself, who was presented the award in 2010. 

This year also marks the first annual ‘Chick Norris Award,’ to be given to a woman working in film today who best represents the spirit, attitude, athleticism and grit of Hollywood legend Chuck Norris.



The film line up, information about celebrity attendees, the recipient of the Chick Norris Award, and ticket purchase information will be posted soon at www.actionfest.com.

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About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress since December 2000. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

14 thoughts on “The Return of ActionFest with ActionFest 3: “This Time It’s Personal”

  1. Jeremy Dylan

    I’m really just coming to see if the second hand bookstores have restocked on Rex Stout novels.

  2. Ken Hanke

    Don’t spoil it. (And I really think online is the way to go for Rex Stout — or Ngaio Marsh or John Dickson Carr or Agatha Christie or…)

    Anyway, if you’d been here last year you coulda seen 13 Assassins, Super and Hobo with a Shotgun before most of the world had the chance. Who knows what you might get the jump on this year?

  3. Edwin Arnaudin

    As I feared (and I’m talking actual phobia), it’s the same weekend as Full Frame. So while you’ll be seeing 2012′s Hobos and Assassins, I’ll be checking out the latest Project Nims and Page Ones.

    At least there’s the consolation that multiple titles that play at each festival will make their way to Netflix Instant by year’s end. I’m pleasantly surprised to find nearly every independent feature that played a week or two at the Carolina is now streaming on my TV. I think that’s a smart move by the films’ producers (or whoever’s responsible) to increase exposure.

  4. Ken Hanke

    So while you’ll be seeing 2012′s Hobos and Assassins, I’ll be checking out the latest Project Nims and Page Ones.

    Better you than me, but you like documentaries, whereas I see more than I want to per year now. I know this makes me a philistine. I am reconciled to that fact.

    • Edwin Arnaudin

      Better you than me

      I’ll gladly take that bullet…though I was hoping it would be both the documentary and action bullets, possibly in consecutive weeks. Maybe in 2013.

  5. Ken Hanke

    When is the program being announced?

    I’ll let you know as soon as I know. I believe we’ll start hearing things next month.

  6. Orbit DVD

    Actionfest 2011 was the first film festival that I attended in full…and I loved every moment of it. Nothing beats watching a (intentionally) crappy movie with a packed rowdy midnight crowd.

    My only worry was that 2011′s lineup was SO great that I don’t know if they can top it!

    I look forward to drinking a pint with you jeremy.

  7. Orbit DVD

    Actionfest 2011 was the first film festival that I attended in full…and I loved every moment of it. Nothing beats watching a (intentionally) crappy movie with a packed rowdy midnight crowd.

    My only worry was that 2011′s lineup was SO great that I don’t know if they can top it!

    I look forward to drinking a pint with you jeremy.

  8. Ken Hanke

    Nothing beats watching a (intentionally) crappy movie with a packed rowdy midnight crowd.

    I wouldn’t so much call them rowdy as appropriately enthusiastic.

    My only worry was that 2011′s lineup was SO great that I don’t know if they can top it!

    Well, there’s only one way to find out.

  9. actionmoviefreak

    “I freely admit that I wasn’t that taken with the first year of ActionFest”

    Well I was taken. It was awesome!!

    “some of the movies were good” The film choices were EXCELLENT!! (Matthew Kiernan’s picks were truly Action Movie Freak worthy). The movie attendance and the stunt show attendance are unrelated. Just because it was new and was announced relatively shortly beforehand, attendance at the movies/for the entire festival was expectedly low, but, just because more people attended the second year doesn’t automatically make it better than the first. The first year was epicly fun! I think the first year films were more of what Action fans crave :)as opposed to film fans.

    “quirkily Asheville” As someone from out of town, the fact that it was in Asheville (in April) meant only beautiful mountains and spring flowers. It would have been awesome anywhere. I’m from Miami and because we’re international, I think it would be HUGE here.

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