This year I went to the inaugural edition of ActionFest, the world’s first film festival dedicated solely to action movies. No weepies, no films made up of long static shots, no black and white tales of slackers. ActionFest had kicking, punching, shooting, chasing, stabbing and killing. In spades.
For a first festival I thought it was very successful, and the recent hiring of Colin Geddes, the brains behind the Toronto International Film Festival’s Midnight Madness programming, as Festival Director, promises to make the second edition even bigger and better. Nobody knows the international action scene like Colin.
But now there’s trouble ahead. It seems fitting for an action film festival to have to fight to survive, and they’ve come across their first major opponent, and it’s none other than Courtney Solomon, director of Dungeons & Dragons. Solomon has set up a direct to DVD brand at Warner Bros and it’s called (drumroll please) Action Fest. It’s sort of weird that Warner Bros would allow this, since months ago they plastered stickers all over the DVD and Blu-Ray of Undisputed III, touting the film as a major award winner at the real ActionFest. But somehow this is happening.
As you can imagine Aaron Norris, co-founder of the festival and Chuck Norris’ brother, is none too pleased with the turn of events. If I was Courtney Solomon I would be worried about pissing off a blood relation of Chuck Norris, but since Solomon’s film career shows he has no regard for the well being of his audiences it’s not shocking that he has none for himself either.
The reality, though, is that this is a bullshit move – the ActionFest brand exists and is established. Maybe Solomon should go do an adaptation of Gurps and leave the action stuff to the big boys.
In the meantime, check out the new ActionFest (the real ActionFest) website – round 2 is coming in April. Be ready for it. I bet I’ll be there, and I’d like to see you there as well.