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The Inaugural London Action Film Festival Kicks Off This Week

The London Action Film Festival
MMXXI Marv Films Distribution All Rights Reserved

Leading figures from the Global Action Community to attend six newly-announced Festival Events

The London Action Festival, which runs from 28-31 July, is a first-of-its-kind celebration of one of the most globally produced and commercially successful genres of Film and TV will launch in London with a major 4-day celebration this Summer. Ticketing and full information can be found at: www.londonactionfestival.com

Speaking with Festival Co-Directors Julian Alcantara & Ron Fogelman, as well as festival Chairman, Lee Vandermolen, we got a glimpse of what action fans can expect from the festival. Read our interview below.

There aren’t that many film festivals devoted specifically to the action genre, why do you think that is and how did the London Action Film Festival come about?

It was for that very reason – when we realised no one had delivered a world-class celebration of all things Action before – we knew that had to be addressed.

When it comes to the main awards seasons, Action films and TV are over often overlooked. That absolutely shouldn’t be the case as, in so many ways, they are a centre of excellence that has sat at the heart of the global entertainment industry since its very beginning. It takes a lot of effort to appear effortless!

Our ethos is shared with our Senior Media Sponsor Den of Geek which is “By Experts For Fans” which is why we connected so strongly on the creation of this Festival. We really want the Festival to be a meeting point between leading figures in the industry, across all the disciplines of film-making, and the audience. We hope we can always get the balance right between being fun and informative and that’s our approach to building the inaugural year’s line-up of events.

There’s our Special Event the “Friday Night Showdown” -a truly spectacular 2 hours of entertainment on July 29th with an incredible array of talent. There we will launch our “Moving Target” Awards. Already announced are Outstanding Contributions to Action Cinema awards for two industry greats; John McTiernan (“Die Hard” “Die Hard With A Vengeance”, “Predator” and “The Hunt For Red October”) and legendary stuntman, stunt coordinator and action director, Vic Armstrong.

Die Hard
Die Hard will be screening at the London Action Festival // Credit: Die Hard, 1988, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

We’ll be celebrating John McTiernan’s work with our Special Event “The World’s Greatest “Die Hard” Screening Ever (Probably!)” on July 28th in which not only will John give his insight as to why so many people consider the film the greatest action movie of all time, but we seek to prove that it is indeed a Christmas movie. Helping us will be everyone’s favourite tough guy Robert Davi (“The Goonies”, “Licence To Kill”) who played Agent “Big “Johnson in the movie. Robert’s going to help us win the global debate … with a song!. We’re also holding a special 35th anniversary screening of John’s masterpiece “Predator”.

Vic Armstrong is one of the greatest names in the business with an incredible legacy that is still growing. The award to him is also part of our initiative to ensure this sector of the entertainment industry gets the recognition that is long overdue. We’re also holding panels on the best car chases on film with three of the best stunt drivers in the world and, with the British Stunt Register, running a panel called “Don’t Try This At Home – How To Be A Stunt Professional”.

We’ll also take a look at the world of music composition for film in “What’s The Score” which is being run by Oscar-winner Steven Price (“Gravity” and a regular collaborator of Edgar Wright’s). We’re proud to be working with Proof Inc. one of Hollywood and London’s leading visualisation and pre-vis companies on a masterclass on the making of “Jurassic World Dominion”.

With many classic action titles to choose from how did you go about curating the selection of films?

Well we started by listening to everyone. The enthusiasm for the Festival has become infectious. We want the festival to become an annual fixture for the industry and we knew we couldn’t be all things to all people in our first year. What we hope we have achieved, and are keen to build on, is a carefully curated look at the Past, Present and Future of Action Film & TV.

As you rightly say, there are so many classic action titles so there will often be something truly great that is celebrating an anniversary. In the Festival we have two: we’ve already mentioned “Predator” plus the gloriously entertaining “Con Air” is celebrating its 25th anniversary and we’re screening it in 35mm plus an exclusive Q&A with director Simon West.

Aside from panel events representing the craft behind so many key disciplines of Action film-making, we also have two exclusive events. MARV (the makers of “The Kingsman” and “Kick Ass”) have given us a privileged look at footage from their 2023 release “School Fight” marking the directorial debut of their regular stunt co-ordinator Damien Walters. Damien will explain how he made the leap into directing and will be joined by key members of the cast.

We also pay attention to the incredible body of work from the TV industry and thanks to Sky and Pulse Films, we will be joined by Director Corin Hardy for a look at the hit show “Gangs of London” with an exclusive look at material from Series 2 due out later this year. This is very much a global genre and so we want build our coverage of international action cinema and have made a start with The “World In Action” which delivers an in depth look at the incredible contribution to Action from Asian (and particularly HK) cinema. That is accompanied with a screening of recently restored “The Legend of Drunken Master” in its original Hong Kong version and which is one of the BFI’s top 10 Action Films of all time.

This is really a beginning for us and we hope to highlight all forms of Cinema and TV from around the world in the future.

Also Read: The Best Action Films of the Decade (2010 – 2019)

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Posted by
Presh Williams

Big Picture Film Club Co-Founder.