The Director Of DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS Trying To Muscle In On The ActionFest Brand ...

Founder and Editor; Toronto, Canada (@AnarchistTodd)
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The Director Of DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS Trying To Muscle In On The ActionFest Brand ...
Dear Warner Brothers: Smarten up and sort this out.

Back in April of this year I was invited to Asheville, North Carolina to sit on the jury of the inaugural ActionFest. A brand new festival founded by Aaron (Brother Of Chuck) Norris with an eye to not only exhibiting the best action films around the globe but also honoring the men behind the scenes who risk their lives to make them while ALSO pumping money into a children's charity favored by Chuck, ActionFest was - to put it simply - a blast. I was joined on the jury by CHUD's Devin Faraci, Hitfix's Drew McWeeney and Toronto International Film Festival programmer Colin Geddes and I'm quite confident that every one of them would join me in saying that despite any first year growing pains, ActionFest was not only a sorely needed addition to the festival world but also a damn good time. Hell, I know Geddes would back me up on that because he's since taken on the job of festival director.

Now here's where things get messy.

Anybody know the name Courtney Solomon? Solomon broke into the film world as the director and producer of the absolutely atrocious Dungeons and Dragons movie ten years ago. He'd take one more equally successful stab at directing before focusing his energies into working as a producer, landing most recently as one of the producers on this year's slate of After Dark Original films. And while doing that he had a clever idea: Why not do for action what After Dark is doing for horror and produce a slate of low budget action movies that can then be presented as a sort of multi-city film festival before hitting DVD and VOD?

It's a good idea, honestly, and I'm glad someone is doing it. Warner Brothers obviously think it's a good idea, too, because they're backing it and paying for the films. But you know what's not a good idea? Calling it Action Fest.

Memo to Solomon and Warner Brothers: There already is an ActionFest and adding a space makes it no more kosher to nick the name.

If this was an honest mistake it wouldn't be such a big deal. Someone could just get on the phone and clear it up. But it's not an honest mistake. Solomon was well aware of the original - and still fully operational - ActionFest when he launched this venture. He has been contacted by the organizers since and been uncooperative. And Warner Brothers? Hell, Warner Brothers slapped big ActionFest Award Winner stickers on the cover of their Undisputed III DVD and BluRay release when that came out, so they are obviously aware of it, too. What's happening here isn't that they don't know. It's that they either don't care or, more cynically, think they can capitalize on all the hard work ActionFest did in year one to establish the brand to give themselves a leg up without actually having to do the work.

Not cool, boys, and I will not be supporting anything you do under this name.
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Read Devin's take on this at CHUD
GeneralErrorAugust 23, 2010 4:44 PM

Doesn't Warner Brothers own "Pedicab Driver" and many other classic kung-fu films? ...If it's illegal to pirate movies on the internet, it should be a considered a terrible crime to rob an entire country of movies by locking them in some vault never to see the light of day. Sometimes it seems like corporations do things just to be jerks.

Todd BrownAugust 23, 2010 4:58 PM

You are correct, sir.

Rhythm-XAugust 23, 2010 6:05 PM

An extensive, possibly complete list of what WB is sitting on from Golden Harvest is here: and it's an incredibly infuriating read. It'd be great if this new venture provided an outlet for even a tiny fraction of them but I expect absolutely nothing of the sort to happen. Warner Bros has had a decade-plus to do something with these films and hasn't. Why start now? If they're not going to even put any of them out through the burn-on-demand Warner Archive DVD-R service... then I suspect nothing's going to happen, ever, period. I'm barely even angry about it any more, I'm just sad that so many films got unfairly buried for no good reason and so many people who might have liked said films can't see them legally.

It's a great way for WB to encourage piracy, though. Well played.

Rhythm-XAugust 23, 2010 6:17 PM

PS - they're not robbing an entire country, they're robbing the vast majority of the world. They didn't license these films for the US - they own them completely, but judging from their actions, apparently they have to honor licensing agreements written before the sale of the Golden Harvest library to WB went through in 1999. That's how DRUNKEN MASTER II in the US is still at Miramax and how a fair number of these "missing" titles are available on DVD in France from Metropolitan Filmexport/HKVideo, though without English subs of course.

Someone correct me if I'm missing anything here.

Todd BrownAugust 23, 2010 9:41 PM

Oh, no chance at all any of these old titles will come out through this venture. This is exactly the same thing as the After Dark Horrorfest, only for action films. They'll produce a small slate of original titles and then release them simultaneously for limited runs in limited theaters as a 'festival' before releasing to DVD.