The next installment of the Fighting Spirit Film Festival for 2021 will be another constrained event, this year for further film festivities, and for remembrance of the fallen.
Opening the festival’s two-day gathering at the Stratford Picturehouse on September 11 will be Bao Tran’s feature debut action comedy, The Paper Tigers. Ten years in the making and brought to life with the support of a global community, the film stars Alain Uy, Ron Yuan and Mykel Shannon Jenkins as three washed-up former kung fu disciples on a quest of self-discovery and old age as they’re faced with confronting the elite martial arts assassin who killed their Sifu. Altitude will release the film on Digital September 30.
Following that will be what looks to be one of the most gripping documentaries you’ll ever bare witness to in More Than Miyagi: The Pat Morita Story. From Love Project Films and written by director Kevin Derek (Empty Hands: The Real Karate Kids, The Real Miyagi) and co-writer Oscar Alvarez, the film takes a deep dive into the poignant and grim corners of the life of a comedic talent, and his years in entertainment preceding his concurrent screen legacy as one of cinema’s most iconic and memorable characters.
The festival kicks things up several notches with a screening of Armor Of God, action star and screen legend Jackie Chan’s hit 1986 action comedy hit about a treasure hunter and explorer dubbed “Asian Hawk”, who sets out in search of relics containing the titular armor in order to ensure the rescue of his former bandmate’s girlfriend from the clutches of an evil religious cult. The film is a classic among classics from Chan with memorable action and stunt moments from both the final product, and the closing credits highlight reel showcasing the near-death close calls Chan suffered during production.
Last and far from least is German-born actor, martial artist, stunt performer, filmmaker, Jackie Chan stunt team member and protègè, Andy Long Nguyen. Earning his lead acting/film directing debut with Luc Van Tien: Tuyet Sing KungFu, Nguyen’s 2017 action comedy was shot and produced in Vietnam, and stars Nguyen as an ancient warrior in search of his lost love. When he stumbles into a portal that brings him to present day, he’ll be faced with delivering justice against a gang of human traffickers and his squad of high-kicking goons. The film also features Young Masters duo Felix and Lorenz Hideyoshi Ruwwe, and Martial Club‘s own The Paper Tigers actors, Brian Le, and Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings prospect, Andy Le.
The line-up will also feature four special short film screenings along with 30 in-competition short projects, two tributes to two of the festival’s dearly-departed participants, Steven Booth, and actor/martial artist Max Repossi, and a small exhibition of posters curated by Ricky Baker from Eastern Heroes, artists Shaolin Jaa and Crike99art, and photographer Mouine Omari.