Fans of shoot-ups, fist-fights and general on-screen chaos now have their very own film festival.
Genre film festivals in the UK have long been dominated by horror, with at least seven events that immediately spring to mind dotted around the country. That more mainstream – if equally critically unrespected – genres haven’t followed suit is a little odd when you think about it. So the London Action Film Festival shouldn’t seem that unexpected.
The event takes place next weekend, from the 28th to 31st of July – in London, you’ll be unsurprised to hear – and features a mix slightly different to the average movie fest. That is to say, less movie screenings and more events like panel discussions. Personally, I’ve always said that I would sacrifice a film or two at the horror fests in favour of panels and discussions, so this seems an interesting way forward. It might also speak to the state of action cinema that there are no new films being shown, or it might simply be that these films are so effectively part of the mainstream – unlike horror, which still remains niche to a large extent – that there is no need to preview new titles at festivals.
The film screenings include Die Hard (with a Q&A featuring director John McTiernan and appearances by actor Robert Davi), Predator (again with McTiernan) and Con Air (with director Simon West) while the live events feature discussions on Asian action cinema, how to make a low-budget action movie, with stunt, film score and screenplay masterclasses that all add up to a bit of a crash course for would-be action movie makers. As we know, this is the genre of choice for small indie producers aiming at the Asda and streaming market – more popular than other genres and arguable easier to make (though also easier to make badly, as regular viewers of zero-budget British action films can attest). Anything that helps improve these movies is to be applauded. It’s a shame that the UK’s number one low-budget action producer Jonathan Sothcott is not on the panels though.
Will we be there to explore the spills and thrills of this four-day event? Well, only time will tell. But for those you smacking your lips at the prospect of the fest, full details can be found here: www.londonactionfestival.com
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