Day 4 – Saturday May 19
Today was much more relaxed. I slept in until 7:10am for a change and spent the first two hours writing. Rebecca and I ate some of the fine, bagged 2€ madelines from the supermarket and set off to catch all the booths we may have missed.

What we found was that Asian countries are all represented at booths and they’re looking for more action content than any other region other than America. Europe just doesn’t seem to care, and Latin America and Africa are basically the same as Europe in terms of their film funds and what genres they direct funding to (dramas, documentaries, and more dramas). Canada is also Europe, so that leaves Asia.

Big-time South Korean studio Showbox showed off some of their new trailers, and A Company Man looks to be one of the best Korean action films to date. Trailers are deceptive, and it could easily turn out for the worse, but it was a talking point for us to go talk to a Showbox representative about doing a coproduction in South Korea. We showed off our knife fight from Death Grip, got some emails, and went over to CJ Entertainment, the other big-time Korean studio, and asked the same thing. Got some emails, and moved on.

Thailand, same deal. Got emails, moved on. Indonesia, same thing. They’re all releasing mainstream action films that are festival-friendly. Good action, good (err… sometimes good anyway) scripts, so we made the case that these are ideal relationships with a movement like ours, which unites solid action choreography with good screenplays. We didn’t bother talking to China. They have too much money and there’s no reason to deal with us. Plus their stringent guidelines on how Chinese characters are to be portrayed isn’t something we feel like dealing with right now.

All in all, if action filmmakers want to coproduce with a foreign country, Asia’s where it’s at, not Europe. We couldn’t have known this without coming here.

Shot some footage, played with our host’s cat, found 50€ in the gutter, and treated ourselves to a killer dinner of veal and duck with some wine that I couldn’t pronounce (Rebecca could pronounce it and she took every chance she could to rub it in my face. The pronunciation, not the wine). Saturday night on the Croissete was busier than I had seen thus far. It was basically Long Beach. Same decor, same style as back home. And same music. Globalism has taken this place, whether you like that kind of thing or not, yet American action films are strangely faux pas here, even of the independent sort. But then again, action films, indie or not, have a way of kneading themselves into themes of good and evil that don’t fit a global world of greying morality. Action requires that people fight to the death, and shades of grey appear less often than among the suits of celebrities walking the riviera. That’s not the world here, even though the music and costumes would make you think otherwise. Whether the Euro Zone crisis changes this phenomenon is yet to be seen.

Here’s a little video of the halls of Cannes.

That’s our last day at Cannes. Tomorrow it’s Italy, and I will become fat.

Update: You can now purchase tickets for the premiere at http://tinyurl.com/DeathGripMoviePremiere for $10 each!

Make sure you join the Death Grip Theatrical Premiere Event Page on Facebook to get regular updates about the big release day coming up! Just to recap, the details of the premiere are:

Death Grip Theatrical Premiere
When:
Saturday June 30, 2012 @ 7:00 PM
Where: Bal Theatre – 14808 E 14th St., San Leandro, CA 94578 (Google Maps)

Ticket information is coming soon. And it’s never too late to donate to the project. Remember, $30 gets you a DVD and special thanks on our website!

 

Back in 2003, I expanded The Stunt People to San Francisco, where I met Ed Kahana and Andy Leung. After doing small projects we went under the San Francisco State University parking garage for five school nights and shot Escapee. Originally a part of the Stunt Blade Alpha compilation, it got enough attention that I figured it could stand alone. Here it is.

  • 0:20 – We got into this room under our college because the door was left open by a custodian. We took advantage of it and went nuts.
  • 0:56 – Accidental kick to Yasu’s jaw.
  • 2:38 – Concussion
  • 4:34 – Stick hits Ed in face

You can also see Escapee on the Everyone Is Kung Fu Fighting Again DVD, which has been discontinued. They put Escapee on this DVD without our signing a contract, but whatever, maybe some people out there saw it. The whole DVD’s compilation can be viewed on YouTube here.

Back in 1999 when The Stunt People was just a website full of Hong Kong film reviews by one author (me), the internet was still basically a dirt mall. For action film fanatics / filmmakers, it was a frustrating time. Just as we were discovering that awesome Hong Kong cinema market, Youtube still hadn’t been invented, editing video required a $2,000+ machine (in 1999, 20 gigs of hard drive space cost $300), consumer videocameras sucked, consumer digital cameras sucked… basically it was very difficult to make a decent action film and put it online, and videos to fuel our inspirations were hard to come by. All we had for the longest time was the grace of the Project J site that hosted action clips from Jackie Chan films.

kwoon_posterThat’s when KWOON popped up.

KWOON made independent action films with sound effects, stunts, kung fu, everything I wanted to do. I reviewed two of their films Mummy Dearest and Collection Agency, brutalized them a little bit (“These don’t compare to Jackie Chan”, etc.), and received an email from them saying, “Thanks for the reviews. The critiques were right on! We love hearing feedback!” Guys making action films with no egos – That’s who I wanted to be.

While making Undercut and Contour, we needed some assistance during our growth spurt, and Todd Roy of KWOON donated server space, helped us set up film screenings and appearances at conventions, acted in both of the projects, and was instrumental in our acquiring the rights to Contour after it was finished.

Ten years ago KWOON made the first action web series and they’ll always be remembered for it. And we’re all hoping for that Episode 1 to come out some day.

Shaun Finney’s back in action with the latest film from the makers of Sock Baby, The Danger Element.

Doctor Trevor Elymas (Doug Jones) is only one step away from completing a diabolical plan. Battle Jitni (John Soares), member of a secret order of vigilantes, must wrench The Danger Element from Doctor Elymas’ grasp before it can be stabilized and installed in his machine.

Shaun and Soares go at it around the 6:55 mark.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yHi05mnsMFQ

To trap its victim, the snake engages the tiger in a battle of blatant shapes in the wilderness.

*Note* In order to view the video in HD, click here and click the “HD” button in the embedded video before playing it.

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=4072395&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=&fullscreen=1
Shapely Heroes – Snake’s Victim from Eric Jacobus on Vimeo.

Starring
Edward Kahana Jr.
Eric Jacobus

Hey everyone, Ed Kahana from the Stunt People here making a guest update!

Over two years ago, I began a project for a media class where we were to create a webisode series and produce at least one episode from it.  Of course, me being an indie martial arts action film guy, I came up with a webisode series featuring our The Stunt People and thus began “Ninja Gendai” (originally “9 to 5 Ninja”). What I produced for that class would become the second half of the first episode and was shot in 2006. There are at least 3-4 more episodes waiting in the wings that have already been shot.

In “Ninja Gendai”, ninja clans continue to exist in the present. Their descendants, ethnic ninjas, suffer like most third world minorities and some of them have begun immigrating to the United States.  These younger, ethnic Ninja-Americans use their ninja skills in the workforce to earn a living in modern times.

Episode One
While on a job for Ninjatel, Gunner gets a secret tip about some black market goods. In return, he must let the flamboyant criminal, Glimmer, escape.