ActionFest 2011: Full film lineup, jury and guests announced!

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ActionFest 2011: Full film lineup, jury and guests announced!
[Updated with festival trailer]

The balance of the lineup for this year's ActionFest in Asheville, NC, was announced today as well as who is on the jury and the special guest list. This is going to be a special four days.

You will get the 'official U.S. theatrical debut' of Kinji Fukasaku's Battle Royale, the Australian action flick Tomorrow, When the War Began Never Back Down 2 starring Michael Jae White and WWE starlett Trish Stratus action flick Bail Enforcers. Both Trish and Michael will be in attendance at the festival! 

Scott Weinberg will make his opinions known amongst the jury comprised of Fantastic Fest's Tim League, Katrina Hill from and veteran stuntman Russell Towery. A local radio broadcaster will add local flavor to the decision making process.

Also cool, ActionFest will be presenting the inaugural Action Producer of the Year Award to Sahamongkolfilm for the company's contribution to action cinema for the past 30 years. Notable recent contributions include the Ong Bak films, Born to Fight, Chocolate and Dynamite Warrior. The studio's latest action epic Bangkok Knockout was one of the first films announced for year's lineup. 

Full press release is after the break! 
ActionFest 2 Announces Full Film Lineup, Jury and Special Guests

Asheville, NC Fest Celebrates the Best of Action Cinema and its Unsung Heroes
Asheville, NC - March 23rd, 2011 -  ActionFest 2 announced its full lineup and competition jury for its returns to the beautiful Carolina Cinema in Asheville this April 7th  - 10th, as well as some action film luminaries making special appearances. The only international film festival devoted exclusively to action cinema and its unsung heroes, the festival promises to be four days of adrenaline-fueled pleasure with an exciting combination of the best in contemporary action cinema and classics of the genre, as well as a world class stunt show, exciting panels and tributes to action cinema legends.

As previously announced. ActionFest 2 opens with the World Premiere of Jonathan English's  Ironclad. The closing night film will be Takeshi Miike's epic samurai masterpiece, 13 Assassins on Sunday April 10th. Additionally, the following films were announced today:
- Bail Enforcers -- A bounty hunting babe tackles the tough guys in this World Premiere starring seven-time WWE Women's Champion Trish Stratus, who will be in attendance!
- Never Back Down 2 - World Premiere of this anticipated MMA fight flick, directed by and starring Michael Jai White, who will be in attendance!
- Battle Royale - The official US theatrical debut of the popular and controversial Japanese cult classic.
- Fightville - Fresh from SXSW,  a hard hitting doc about the art and sport of mixed martial arts fighting. 
- Bellflower - From Sundance and SXSW, this indie gets under the skin of the action genre with a story about two apocalypse-obsessed friends.
- Films of Fury: The Kung Fu Movie Movie - World Premiere Kung Fu documentary based on the book by martial arts cinema expert Ric Meyers
- The Heir Apparent: Largo Winch - Regional Premiere of this adaptation of the popular French action-adventure comic book hero
- Lonely Place to Die - World Premiere about a group of five mountaineers who find danger while hiking and climbing in the Scottish Highlands.
- Tomorrow, When the War Began - North American Premiere of the Australian box office hit flick based on best-selling novel series that pits teenagers against an army invasion.
Previously announced films include: Jackie Chan's Little Big Soldier, Hobo With A Shotgun starring Rutger Hauer, James Gunn's vigilante thriller SuperBangkok Knockout from the stunt team and filmmakers of Ong Bak, Takeshi Kitano's Outrage, the surreal fist-and-sword epic Bunraku, and the jungle exploitation doc Machete Maidens Unleashed!
The jury for ActionFest 2 is comprised of:
- Jay Deacon - Asheville Radio Personality from 105.9 The Mountain
- Katrina Hill - action film blogger ( and G4TV's first Next Woman of the Web champion
- Tim League - CEO & Founder of the Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas and Founder, Fantastic Fest
- Scott Weinberg - Film critic & editor at Cinematical, FearNet, Horror Squad, ScreenAnarchy, among other publications
- Russell Towery - Veteran stuntman with over 130 credits to his name (was the man in the Robocop suit in all three films)
This year, ActionFest is pleased to introduce the Action Producer of the Year Award. The inaugural award will go to Sahamongkolfilm, founded by Somsak Techaratanaprasert (also the company's Chief Executive) over 3 decades ago, for its work producing the incredibly successful Ong Bak trilogy starring Tony Jaa, as well as the upcoming Bangkok Knockout from famed Action Choreographer and Director, Panna Rittikrai.  Other notable productions include Born to Fight, Dynamite Warrior and Chocolate.
On Saturday April 9th and Sunday April 10th, there will be two panels: great stories from the legendary careers of the 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Buddy Joe Hooker and representatives of Stunts Unlimited, and a discussion of the role of the Modern Fight Director, featuring Larnell Stovall (Undisputed III), Michael Jai White (Black Dynamite, Never Back Down 2) and martial arts film expert Ric Meyers (Films of Fury: The Kung Fu Movie Movie).
Check out for more information and be sure to visit the official ActionFest Blog ( for details on the "30 Seconds of Action Film Challenge," a competition where aspiring filmmakers compete to write, direct and produce the best thirty-second action movie.

About ActionFest
ActionFest was founded by Bill Banowsky, Aaron Norris, Dennis Berman and Tom Quinn, who also serves as Executive Director. Colin Geddes, International Programmer for the Toronto International Film Festival, is the Festival Director. Press inquiries for ActionFest can be sent to This year's official ActionFest poster image was illustrated by local West North Carolina artist Gabriel Shaffer.
About Buddy Joe Hooker
Beginning as a child actor on the series "Rin Tin Tin," Buddy Joe Hooker has a career spanning six decades. He has worked with a long list of famed directors, and counts legendary filmmakers Hal Ashby, William Friedkin, and Francis Coppola as his mentors. Buddy Joe exemplifies ActionFest's mandate to pay tribute to the men and women who risk their lives for the art of cinema. He made movie history as the stunt double for Sylvester  Stallone on the renowned high fall through the trees off the cliff in First Blood, and his reputation is second to none as the go-to coordinator for car chases. He has coordinated a 
wide variety of genres and many classics, including:  Harold and Maude, The Outsiders, Rumblefish, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, To Live and Die in L.A., Godfather III and 40 Year Old Virgin.  Today, Buddy Joe is coordinating and second unit directing the new CBS series, "Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior" with Forest Whitaker and the upcoming STARZ network series, "Torchwood: Miracle Day."
About Michael Jai White
Michael Jai White is a true man of action. An internationally renowned martial artist with black belts in seven different forms, he has trained with such martial arts greats as Jean-Claude Van Damme, Benny Urquidez, and Bill Wallace. He's starred opposite Jean-Claude Van Damme in Universal Solider: The Return, Steven Seagal in Exit Wounds, Scott Adkins in Undisputed II: Last Man Standing, and in 2008, he played the part of Gambol in The Dark Knight. White showed off his sly sense of humor as star and co-writer of the popular 2009 black exploitation spoof Black Dynamite. Michael Jai White has already been  involved in 
a number of exciting projects in 2011 including starring in a new series of "webisodes" based on the Mortal Kombat video game and he will be co-starring with Jet Li in acclaimed Hong Kong director Tsui Hark's highly anticipated 3D martial arts film, The Flying Swords Of Dragon Gates.  After years of acting, writing, and performing stunts, he recently stepped behind the camera to direct the feature-length film Never Back Down 2, which is set in the world of mixed 
martial arts.
About Trish Stratus
International televison celebrity, fitness icon and recently named "female wrestler of the decade". Trish Stratus is known worldwide as a seven-time World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Women's Champion & WWE Diva. She also co-produced and starred in, Stratusphere, a travel documentary series for the Discovery Channel and continues to develop her brand which was launched with the opening of Canada's largest yoga studio - Stratusphere Yoga Studio (
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Official AcitonFest site.
EdBaileyMarch 25, 2011 2:16 AM

I'm surprised there's still no trailer or footage out for 'Never Back Down 2', given that its premiere at ActionFest is only a couple of weeks away - to say nothing of the fact that its projected release on home video is just over two months away.