Every year, there are choices I make about what I do or don't attend, about which trips I do or don't take, and it is inevitable that every year, I have regrets that are part  of that process.  Unfortunately, this year, it appears that ActionFest is going to end up as a regret for me, because when it happens in Asheville, North Carolina, over the upcoming weekend, I'll be here in Los Angeles instead.

I was at the first ActionFest, but I haven't been able to make it back since, and that's a real shame.  They're working to establish this festival's identity, and each year, I get the feeling that it's coming into focus a little more.  Festival director Colin Geddes, the maniac behind Toronto's Midnight Madness selections every year, has been working hard to turn ActionFest into a genuine destination, packed with guests and with a line-up of films that should leave Asheville audiences bruised and bloodied in the best possible way.

I know I'm going to be sending my parents, who live in Asheville, a list of movies they should try and catch while they're playing, and I hope the festival does well this year so that I can attend it again next year.  If you're anywhere near Asheville, let me recommend that you give it a try, because it seems like they've really gone over the top to try to put something special together this year.

Here's the latest press release, offering up final details on the event:

ActionFest 2012 announced its final lineup of films today, as well as the special guest appearances, stunt events and parties that will be taking place this year at the festival. Kicking off next week, April 12-15, at The Carolina Asheville, the fest has put out a call for volunteers, and finalized badge and ticket sale information.

As previously announced, the festival will open with the Regional Premiere of "Solomon Kane," and close with the highly anticipated Cannes selection, "Wu Xia." Legendary stuntman Mickey Gilbert will be honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award, MMA pioneer and Haywire star Gina Carano with the “Chick” Norris Best Female Action Star Award, and J.J. Perry with the ActionFest Fight Choreographer of the Year Award.  

The following films were announced today:

DRAGON EYES (North American premiere w/ star Cung Le in attendance!)
Director: John Hyams, U.S.A.  MMA superstar Cung Le, Jean Claude Van Damme and Peter Weller star in this modern version of Akira Kurosawa’s classic Yojimbo.

A GANG STORY (Regional Premiere)
Director: Olivier Marchal, France. A look back at one of France’s most notorious crime syndicates, reminiscent of The Godfather and Heat.

I DECLARE WAR (Work In Progress screening)
Director: Simon Lapeyre & Robert Wilson, Canada. Stand By Me meets Full Metal Jacket when two groups of 13-year old friends play “war” in a local forest. It’s all fun and games until things gets out of hand as bullies, crushes, and popularity contests all come into play on the battlefield.

MANBORG (Regional Premiere)
Director: Steve Kostanksi, Canada. A zany mix of sci-fi, action and comedy, Manborg tells the story of a soldier brought back to life as a cyborg to fight against demon hordes in a dystopian future.

SINNERS AND SAINTS (Domestic Premiere w/ star Tom Berenger in attendance!)?Director: William Kaufman, U.S.A.  A tough New Orleans cop breaks in a new partner while investigating a series of brutal murders with ties to a crime war in the city’s Ninth District.

TRANSIT (North American Premiere)
Director: Antonio Negret, U.S.A. Jim Caviezel stars as a father on a family road trip that’s interrupted by a quartet of thieves who use his family as a decoy to evade the police after a daring armored car heist. James Frain (True Blood), Elisabeth Rohm and Diora Baird co-star.

WONDER WOMEN!  THE UNTOLD STORY OF AMERICAN SUPERHEROINES (Regional Premiere)
Director: Kristy Guevara-Flanagan, U.S.A. A documentary about superheroines, particularly Wonder Woman, a true icons of comics, and an inspiration to feminism and to women of all ages. ?

ACTIONFEST SECRET SCREENINGS!
TOP SECRET! One an upcoming action hit and the other an action classic - not to be missed!

SPECIAL SCREENINGS:
THE WILD BUNCH
(1969, Directed by Sam Peckinpah)
One of the greatest westerns of all time, hosted by this year’s Lifetime Achievement award winner, Mickey Gilbert, who was a stuntman on the film.

TRUE ROMANCE (1993, Directed by Tony Scott, written by Quentin Tarantino)
The all-time favorite film of “Chick” Norris Award recipient Gina Carano, who will introduce.

SIDEKICKS (1993, Directed by Aaron Norris)
ActionFest co-founder Aaron Norris hosts a special family matinee screening of this 1993 favorite, starring his brother, Chuck Norris.

COMIN’ AT YA! and TRAILER WAR
Alamo Drafthouse and Drafthouse Films bring us the newly restored 1981 3-D funfest Comin’ At Ya!, and Trailer War, 120 minutes of non-stop action movie trailers.

THE RAID: REDEMPTION (2011, Directed by Gareth Edwards, for Badge holders only!)
A badge holders-only screening of The Raid: Redemption (opening at the Carolina Asheville on 4/13), from director Gareth Edwards, whose previous film, Marentau, swept the Actionfest Awards in 2010.  

SPECIAL HONORED GUESTS
Tom Berenger – The Academy Award-nominated star of Platoon, Major League and Inception (and a Carolina resident) joins us to screen his latest action hit, Sinners and Saints!

Cung Le – World champion kickboxer and MMA fighter will be here for the North American premiere of his debut starring role, Dragon Eyes, from After Dark Action!

Jack Gill – The acclaimed 2nd unit director and stunt choreographer (Fast Five) and longtime spokesman for the creation of a category at the Oscars for stunt men and women comes to ActionFest to receive our 2012 Man of Action award!

STUNT SHOW
Saturday, April 14th at 2:00PM - John Cann and his incredible stunt team will perform an awesome live stunt show with some of the  top stuntmen in the movie business at The Carolina Asheville. John Cann is president and CEO of Action P.A.C. Stunts, L.L.C., and a veteran of the entertainment industry for over 25 years. He has appeared in over 100 feature films and television shows, and his specialties include stunt coordination, high falls, air rams, fire gags, stunt driving, fights, swordplay, rigging and more.

ROCKETMAN RETURNS!
Rocketman is back at ActionFest 2012 for three thrilling flights! He will be appearing at Opening Night festivities and at The Carolina Asheville as part of the Stunt Show.

PANELS
Trailblazing Stuntmen: Mickey Gilbert & Jack Gill
Veterans Gilbert and Gill have done remarkable things in their journeys as stuntmen and stunt coordinators, from leaping from exploding fireballs, to turning cars into airborne missiles. Now they’ll be tackling the questions from the audience in an up close and personal discussion, along with clips of some of their thrilling career highlights.

Whapp! The Art of Fight on Film
Learn the ins-and-outs of depicting effective and realistic fisticuffs for the camera in this exciting panel discussion that includes ActionFest Fight Director of the Year J.J. Perry (Warrior, Haywire), “Chick” Norris Female Action Star Gina Carano (Haywire) and Rising Star Cung Le (Dragon Eyes).

PARTIES
ActionFest returns to Asheville’s coolest nightspot, Arcade Asheville (130 College Street, Asheville, NC 28801), for the Opening Night and Saturday night Awards parties. There will be great music, classic video arcade machines, and stiff drinks sponsored by Dark Corner Whiskey.  

CALL FOR VOLUNTEERS
Think you got what it takes to roll with the ActionFest crew?  Then sign up to be a volunteer at ActionFest 2012!  We’re now accepting volunteers to fit a wide array of schedules, including pre-festival promotion as well as on-site work during ActionFest 2012

Volunteers will work with ActionFest 2012 staff at The Carolina Asheville to ensure everything runs smoothly, from behind the scenes office assistance to being the public face of ActionFest by ushering at the event.  Apart from being an essential part of ActionFest 2012 volunteers will also get to attend movies, parties, and be one of the friendly faces who welcome visitors to one of Asheville’s coolest festivals!  Email us at volunteers@actionfest.com for more information.

TICKETS ON SALE APRIL 5th
Single tickets (General tickets $8, Student/Senior $6, Military $7) will be on sale on April 5th and can be purchased here from Movie Tickets.com.

A limited supply of our All-Access Badges, a deal at $100 which is good for admission to all ActionFest films and events including parties, panels, awards show and entry to the VIP Lounge, are still available and can be purchased here.

Visit ActionFest.com for more information and check out the official ActionFest Blog for updates, scoops and interviews with ActionFest 2012 special guests and to see the complete schedule of events for ActionFest 2012.  

We’ll see you in Asheville!

Come on, gentlemen... a chance to screen "True Romance" with Gina Carano?  A theatrical screening of "The Wild Bunch"?  I really dig their closing night film, "Wu Xia," and obviously I can't recommend "The Raid" highly enough.  Knowing Geddes and his programming tastes, and knowing many of the other people involved in the programming, I'd say that any action fan who springs for a badge is in good hands.  You're going to get an assortment of styles and it should make for a fun, diverse few days, especially when you throw in panels and stunt shows and, yes, the Rocket Man.

I'm genuinely sorry to be missing it, and I hope anyone attending has a blast.  They've certainly planned one hell of a party.