This week, Asheville, NC will be the home to the inaugural edition of ActionFest, the world’s first film festival devoted exclusively to action cinema, and to the people who make it possible, from filmmakers to stuntmen and fight choreographers.
Created by Carolina Cinemas founder/Magnolia Pictures co-founder Bill Banowsky and famed action director and producer Aaron Norris (Missing in Action III, Walker, Texas Ranger), the festival will take place at The Carolina Asheville cinema from Thursday, April 15th to Sunday, April 18th.
ActionFest opens with the world premiere of Neil Marshall’s bloody sword and sandal epic, Centurion, and is proud to announce that the recipient of its first annual Lifetime Action Achievement Award will be none other than legendary martial artist and action movie superstar Chuck Norris!
With an impressive roster encompassing the best contemporary action films from around the globe, including several world premieres, major studio previews and classics of the genre (including some of Norris’s most loved titles), ActionFest will be four days of heaven for fans of adrenaline fueled cinema, with a full list of films to be announced on Monday, March 22nd. There will be a competition section juried by genre experts from around the country, including award recipient Chuck Norris. Additionally, stuntman Kinnie Gibson will be on hand for a demonstration of his famous Flying Rocket Belt, a feat of bravery and technology that’s been featured at the Olympics, the Super Bowl and the Daytona 500! Magnolia Pictures/Magnet Releasing SVP Tom Quinn is head programmer for ActionFest, and Matthew Kiernan is festival director.
Centurion, the latest genre masterpiece from cult favorite Neil Marshall (The Descent), will have its world premiere at ActionFest on Thursday, April 15th. Based on the legendary battle between Rome’s famed Ninth Legion and ferocious Picts of Northern England in 117 AD, Centurion stars Michael Fassbender (Inglourious Basterds, 300, Hunger), Dominic West (300; HBO’s The Wire) and gorgeous Bond-girl Olga Kurylenko (Quantum of Solace, Hitman). Recently acquired by Magnet Releasing, Centurion will open in theaters nationwide this summer.
Chuck Norris will receive the Lifetime Action Achievement Award in person on Sunday, April 18.
Best known for the hit CBS-TV series, Walker, Texas Ranger, and over 30 action films, including such genre classics as Return of the Dragon, the Missing in Action and Delta Force films, and Code of Silence, Norris is also a best-selling author and weekly columnist for WorldNetDaily and Creators Syndicate. Next to his family, he feels his greatest accomplishment is the KickStart Kids, a foundation that he conceived in 1992 that’s committed to helping inner city kids by building strong moral character through the Martial Arts. Taught in middle schools, over 63,000 kids have graduated from the program since its inception, most of them going on to college and becoming successful in their own right. KickStart Kids currently has over 6,500 students in the program. In honor of Norris’s appearance at ActionFest, all profits of this year’s festival will be donated to the Kickstart Kids Foundation.
“A festival like this one is long overdue,” said co-founder Aaron Norris. “ActionFest will cover the full gamut of what defines the genre and will pay appropriate respect to the artists who create great action films: the actors, directors, producers, stuntmen, stunt coordinators, and fight choreographers.”
“Aaron and I are very pleased to bring ActionFest to life,” festival co-founder Bill Banowsky said. “The festival will benefit Asheville, it will benefit fans of the genre, and most importantly, it will benefit worthy causes like Kickstart Kids. And, who better for the world’s first action-oriented festival to honor than the iconic Chuck Norris, whose presence at this year’s festival will ensure its success?”
“I set out to do something only when I know it’s going to be done right. And I know that’s how Bill and Aaron have approached ActionFest,” Chuck Norris said. “I am honored and privileged to receive an award from ActionFest and to be part of the creation of the first action film festival, one which has been founded in the spirit of giving.”
ActionFest’s home is beautiful Asheville, NC, voted “America’s Top 25 Arts Destinations” by American Style magazine and the “New Freak Capital of the U.S.” by Rolling Stone magazine. The fest will be held exclusively at The Carolina Asheville, part of the Carolina Cinemas chain founded by Banowsky, former CEO of Landmark Theaters.
The newly renovated theater features 14 screens with state-of-the-art digital and 35mm projection, plush seating, a bar stocked with over 15 local beers on tap, and sofas and loveseats in four of the auditoriums. The Carolina Asheville has reinvented the movie-going experience in Asheville and has become the most talked-about theater in Western North Carolina in less than one year of existence.
Tickets for ActionFest will go on sale in early April; individual show tickets are $10, while festival badges purchased before April 1, 2010 will be $65. Tickets can be purchased at www.actionfest.com.
Follow ActionFest on Twitter at @actionfest.
Actionfest was founded by Bill Banowsky and Aaron Norris. Tom Quinn is the Head of Programming and Matthew Kiernan is the Festival Director. Press inquiries for ActionFest can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.