This April, Asheville, North Carolina will be the home to the inaugural edition of ActionFest, a 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 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. Banowsky’s colleague at Magnolia, SVP Tom Quinn, is head programmer, while Matthew Kiernan is festival director.
“A festival like this one is long overdue,” said co-founder Aaron Norris, in a statement. “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.”
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, with a jury including Chuck Norris (who will also receive first annual Lifetime Action Achievement Award).
“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,” said Chuck Norris, in a statement. “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 will open with the world premiere of Neil Marshall’s “bloody sword and sandal epic,” “Centurion,” on April 15th. Based on the battle between Rome’s famed Ninth Legion and ferocious Picts of Northern England in 117 AD, “Centurion” stars Michael Fassbender, Dominic West, and Olga Kurylenko. Recently acquired by Magnet Releasing (the genre arm of Magnolia, with which both Quinn and Banowksy are affiliated), it will open in theaters nationwide this summer.
“Aaron and I are very pleased to bring ActionFest to life,” said co-founder Bill Banowsky, in a statement. “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.”