ActionFest Update Updated—New Titles, Guests and Events

We’ve had more titles and what-not announced for what is shaping up to the biggest and best ActionFest to date. This latest press release should just about cover it (when combined with the previous announcements), but that doesn’t preclude others things yet to come. Not mentioned here, for example, is the Asheville Film Society/Mountain Xpress showing of Brian DePalma’s The Fury starring Kirk Douglas, John Cassavetes and Amy Irving with an introduction and Q&A from the film’s stunt coordinator Mickey Gilbert. (That happens at 7:30 p.m. on Fri., April 13 at The Carolina.) And I’ll be back with a sneak preview on the titles I’ve managed to get an early look at. So keep watching for more information. But for now…

As previously announced, the festival will open with the Regional Premiere of Solomon Kane, and close with the highly anticipated Cannes selection, Wu Xia. Legendary stuntman Mickey Gilbert will be honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award, MMA pioneer and Haywire star Gina Carano with the “Chick” Norris Best Female Action Star Award, and J.J. Perry with the ActionFest Fight Choreographer of the Year Award. 

The following films were announced today:

DRAGON EYES (North American premiere w/ star Cung Le in attendance!)
Director: John Hyams, U.S.A.  MMA superstar Cung Le, Jean Claude Van Damme and Peter Weller star in this modern version of Akira Kurosawa’s classic Yojimbo.

A GANG STORY (Regional Premiere)
Director: Olivier Marchal, France. A look back at one of France’s most notorious crime syndicates, reminiscent of The Godfather and Heat.

I DECLARE WAR (Work In Progress screening)
Director: Simon Lapeyre & Robert Wilson, Canada. Stand By Me meets Full Metal Jacket when two groups of 13-year old friends play “war” in a local forest. It’s all fun and games until things gets out of hand as bullies, crushes, and popularity contests all come into play on the battlefield.

MANBORG (Regional Premiere)
Director: Steve Kostanksi, Canada. A zany mix of sci-fi, action and comedy, Manborg tells the story of a soldier brought back to life as a cyborg to fight against demon hordes in a dystopian future.

SINNERS AND SAINTS (Domestic Premiere w/ star Tom Berenger in attendance!)
Director: William Kaufman, U.S.A.  A tough New Orleans cop breaks in a new partner while investigating a series of brutal murders with ties to a crime war in the city’s Ninth District.

TRANSIT (North American Premiere)
Director: Antonio Negret, U.S.A. Jim Caviezel stars as a father on a family road trip that’s interrupted by a quartet of thieves who use his family as a decoy to evade the police after a daring armored car heist. James Frain (True Blood), Elisabeth Rohm and Diora Baird co-star.

Director: Kristy Guevara-Flanagan, U.S.A. A documentary about superheroines, particularly Wonder Woman, a true icons of comics, and an inspiration to feminism and to women of all ages.

TOP SECRET! One an upcoming action hit and the other an action classic – not to be missed!


THE WILD BUNCH (1969, Directed by Sam Peckinpah)
One of the greatest westerns of all time, hosted by this year’s Lifetime Achievement award winner, Mickey Gilbert, who was a stuntman on the film.

TRUE ROMANCE (1993, Directed by Tony Scott, written by Quentin Tarantino)
The all-time favorite film of “Chick” Norris Award recipient Gina Carano, who will introduce.

SIDEKICKS (1993, Directed by Aaron Norris)
ActionFest co-founder Aaron Norris hosts a special family matinee screening of this 1993 favorite, starring his brother, Chuck Norris.

Alamo Drafthouse and Drafthouse Films bring us the newly restored 1981 3-D funfest Comin’ At Ya!, and Trailer War, 120 minutes of non-stop action movie trailers.

THE RAID: REDEMPTION (2011, Directed by Gareth Edwards, for Badge holders only!)
A badge holders-only screening of The Raid: Redemption (opening at the Carolina Asheville on 4/13), from director Gareth Edwards, whose previous film, Marentau, swept the Actionfest Awards in 2010. 



Tom Berenger—The Academy Award-nominated star of Platoon, Major League and Inception (and a Carolina resident) joins us to screen his latest action hit, Sinners and Saints!

Cung Le—World champion kickboxer and MMA fighter will be here for the North American premiere of his debut starring role, Dragon Eyes, from After Dark Action!

Jack Gill—The acclaimed 2nd unit director and stunt choreographer (Fast Five) and longtime spokesman for the creation of a category at the Oscars for stunt men and women comes to ActionFest to receive our 2012 Man of Action award!


Saturday, April 14th at 2:00PM – John Cann and his incredible stunt team will perform an awesome live stunt show with some of the top stuntmen in the movie business at The Carolina Asheville. John Cann is president and CEO of Action P.A.C. Stunts, L.L.C., and a veteran of the entertainment industry for over 25 years. He has appeared in over 100 feature films and television shows, and his specialties include stunt coordination, high falls, air rams, fire gags, stunt driving, fights, swordplay, rigging and more.

ROCKETMAN RETURNS! Rocketman is back at ActionFest 2012 for three thrilling flights! He will be appearing at Opening Night festivities and at The Carolina Asheville as part of the Stunt Show.


Trailblazing Stuntmen: Mickey Gilbert & Jack Gill
Veterans Gilbert and Gill have done remarkable things in their journeys as stuntmen and stunt coordinators, from leaping from exploding fireballs, to turning cars into airborne missiles. Now they’ll be tackling the questions from the audience in an up close and personal discussion, along with clips of some of their thrilling career highlights.

Whapp! The Art of Fight on Film
Learn the ins-and-outs of depicting effective and realistic fisticuffs for the camera in this exciting panel discussion that includes ActionFest Fight Director of the Year J.J. Perry (Warrior, Haywire), “Chick” Norris Female Action Star Gina Carano (Haywire) and Rising Star Cung Le (Dragon Eyes).

ActionFest returns to Asheville’s coolest nightspot, Arcade Asheville (130 College Street, Asheville, NC 28801), for the Opening Night and Saturday night Awards parties. There will be great music, classic video arcade machines, and stiff drinks sponsored by Dark Corner Whiskey. 


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About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. 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."

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5 thoughts on “ActionFest Update Updated—New Titles, Guests and Events

  1. Me

    So i guess God Bless America got dropped? Where can i see the time for these films?

  2. Ken Hanke

    So i guess God Bless America got dropped?

    Not at all. Like I said, these are titles that have been added to those already announced.

    Where can i see the time for these films?

    I’ll post one as soon as I have one.

  3. Jeremy Dylan

    Doug Benson gave the festival a nice plug in the latest episode of Doug Loves Movies.

  4. Me

    Never mind Ken i found it looks like its playing 9:30 and Saturday night and Sunday at 4:15.

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