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 .   

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Crank IAFF (@crankiaff)

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 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."

Aharon Jinjihashvili, Hamilton-based filmmaker and producer and Founder of the Crank Film Festival

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.  

“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."

Aharon Jinjihashvili, Hamilton-based filmmaker and producer and Founder of the Crank Film Festival

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.  

The Art Gallery of Hamilton Film Festival moves online amidst the COVID-19 pandemic

By: Samantha McBride, Production Assistant

Every year film enthusiasts and creatives alike descend on Hamilton for the Art Gallery of Hamilton Film Festival.  This event promises local and international feature films, short films, competitions and other programming. The festival is also an opportunity for the Hamilton community to support independent artists and engage with an international circle of storytellers.

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s festival has undergone major changes. The festival is currently running from Oct. 16-25, 2020 and is entirely online using the platform, Eventive. Most of the films are available on-demand but there are also live online events.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CGScCQwgtyy/

“It's very important for us to continue to support the creators as well as help the community to see new films that they might not see anywhere else . . . [Films are] a window into someone else's world and someone else's experience and it's an important medium for us to understand the world around us and the experiences other people have in our world,” said Art Gallery of Hamilton Film Curator Ryan Ferguson. 

“It's very important for us to continue to support the creators as well as help the community to see new films that they might not see anywhere else . . . [Films are] a window into someone else's world and someone else's experience and it's an important medium for us to understand the world around us and the experiences other people have in our world,” said Art Gallery of Hamilton Film Curator Ryan Ferguson. 

One of the more notable live events is the festival’s youth film challenge, an opportunity for anyone under the age of 25 to submit their short film to the festival. The youth challenge is a chance for young filmmakers to showcase their work to the community and beyond. One film from the category will be selected to receive the audience choice award for standout film. This year’s youth and family film challenges will be livestreamed on the last day of the festival. 

The festival’s 21 short films are being offered at no cost in categories of six to seven films. These short films are eligible for the audience choice award, given to the film voted best by the audience. 

The festival also includes a number of works from local and Canadian filmmakers. One of these works is the world premiere of La Toccata created by Hamilton interdisciplinary artist Radha Menon. La Toccata is set in Sicily and explores the Western obsession with youth and beauty. It is particularly fitting at this time when the pandemic has exposed the individual and systemic lack of care for the lives of elderly individuals. 

“[I]t’s all about beauty so [the film is] made to look beautiful . . . because we are obsessed with beauty and it's that beauty that draws us in . . . [I]t has been created in our mind that the ageing process is something to be feared, mine included, everybody, it's so drilled into our psyche . . . [I]n my culture elders – well especially used to be, not so much maybe anymore because Western influences – were revered and the grey hair meant wisdom. But now, we shove our elderly behind closed doors, segregate them so we don't have to see them or be with them and it’s quite foolish because we could be learning from all the wisdom that they have,” Menon explained.

Menon was excited to premiere this work in the city that she calls home, even if it is only online. While she knows audiences will be missing the experience of being in a theatre, she thinks it is valuable to have the opportunity to see what creators are working on during this time. 

Ordinarily, the festival is geared toward the Hamilton community but as it shifts to an online event, other audiences have the opportunity to partake in the diverse programming lineup offered by the AGHFF. The move to online creates a more inclusive festival for those who would not ordinarily be able to visit the Hamilton area.

“It's exciting for us to have the opportunity to share what we do every year here in Hamilton with people all over the province," said Ferguson. 

“It's exciting for us to have the opportunity to share what we do every year here in Hamilton with people all over the province," said Ferguson. 

Overall, the festival promises an interesting online experience for audiences with exciting ways to get involved. Although audiences are not together to watch the films, the community remains united by the stories told.

Subscribe to our Mailing List

© 2022 The Silhouette. All Rights Reserved. McMaster University's Student Newspaper.
magnifiercrossmenu