C/O Erik Witsoe, Unsplash
The Crank Film Festival holds space for the community of action film storytellers
The Crank Film Festival will be celebrating action films and their makers from around the world at Westdale Theatre on April 2. It will showcase short action films from countries including Canada, Japan, Chile and the United Kingdom and recognize the amazing talent and storytellers behind them. Following the film presentations, a gala will take place during which attendees will have an opportunity to network .
Founded by Aharon Jinjihashvili, a Hamilton-based filmmaker and producer with more than a decade of experience, the festival is looking forward to bringing together action film enthusiasts in one place.
Jinjihashvili’s passion for the action genre stems from growing up watching films like Predator, Terminator and Die Hard. With strong admiration for these films, eventually, he found himself in film school and directing movies and TV shows, such as Pink Is In.
He took it upon himself to launch the film festival when he realized there weren’t any local events dedicated to action movies and he wanted to share this exciting genre with others.
“The vision is to give space, acknowledge and appreciate [action films] because whoever has ever made action films, action choreography or anything understands the complexity of accomplishing such a task. . . But there’s no real proper appreciation that is mainstream towards action, which is the most lucrative and the biggest genre. Any movie that is the most successful has action,” said Jinjihashvili.
The dream turned into real life with help from his long-time friend Volo Bedzvin, a cellist, vocalist and composer based in Ukraine who is acting as the festival director and Maria Grajales, who was recruited by Bedzvin to be the marketing and communications coordinator.
The Crank Film Festival will also feature a panel of judges who will present awards such as best short, best action scene, best stunt, best fight and best director. One of the judges expected to be present is Jennifer Li, a stuntwoman and actress from Vancouver who has featured in films such as Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi. Todd Scott, a stuntman, actor and stunt coordinator, will also attend the festival as a judge.
To Jinjihashvili, a good action film must contain strong characters and storyline. He emphasizes they are critical to appreciating action at its fullest potential.
“Die Hard, for example, is one of the best action films out there— not because just the action is great — but because the characters are great,” said Jinjihashvili.
Another example is the UK short, Poachers, which will be showcased at the event. It will shed light on the increasing poaching threats to African elephants, demonstrating the genre can handle and be used effectively to address serious and heavy topics.
Jinjihashvili also shares the power of genre-bending in creating a powerful action film. Genre-bending involves combining two or more genres. For instance, the Japanese film Fists of Absinthe will feature martial arts, modern cinematography and anime along with action. The film will embody innovation and creativity.
Since the announcement of the festival, it has been met with great enthusiasm and curiosity.
“A lot of people share our vision,” said Jinjihashvili.
Jinjihashvili is looking forward to seeing people’s reactions first-hand at the event and connecting with others who share the same passion for action and letting people know there is space for celebrating action, the rock ‘n’ roll genre of movies.
“There’s this rock ‘n’ roll missing in film festivals. You go there and watch and it’s emotional and it’s touching. But I want to add some rock ‘n’ roll to this classical recital. So, let’s bring the electric guitar and make some noise and bring some mayhem to film festivals. So that’s basically my goal and that’s what I’m most excited about,” said Jinjihashvili.
For a refreshing take on film festivals and for some onscreen mayhem and celebration, tickets to the event can be found on the Westdale Theatre’s website. Masking will be strongly recommended unless eating or drinking.