A Summer of Training and Festivals!

We had an awesome summer at DC Stunt Coalition! We put on and hosted two workshops during our Sunday sessions, and our film Ghost Cop Part 2 was screened at multiple festivals.

Workshops

In July, we held a pop-up workshop on the fighting style of Mission Impossible: Fallout, in order to promote the film with help from Allied DC. We had a ton of fun teaching people the tactical combatives shown in the movie, and how to apply them to fight scenes.


Members Taylor Bezzera and Zach Stetka battling it out with some of our MI: Fallout-inspired choreography.

Following that, we hosted Kang Kai Lewis for a Silat-for-film workshop (AKA the fighting style of The Raid). We had a huge turnout! Everyone learned a cool new fighting and movement style, and we got some great fights out of it.

Check out our highlight reel of the event to get a taste of what we worked on:

 

Blood in the Water!

In August, we did a little promotional video for THE MEG, sponsored by Allied DC. This was a blast to make!

Festivals

Ghost Cop Part 2 got into Iron Dragon TV Film Festival, Action on Film Festival, and GenreBlast III.

We got to go to all three of these festivals and check out the other films being screened. It was a lot of fun to be able to spend time with other content producers and performers.

 

UPGRADE: Come for the premise, stay for the action

Leigh Whannell’s new film UPGRADE is what happens when you mix together The Matrix, the Terminator series, pretty much any of sci-fi story involving AI, and a splash of Donna Haraway’s “The Cyborg Manifesto.” The film takes place at some point in the future, and focuses on Grey, who has become a paraplegic after a car accident and an attack. He is implanted with a chip that gives him the ability to use his limbs again. This is especially ironic given that Grey is someone who prizes the human effort put into manual labor. We know this because he was formerly a car mechanic who specialized in fixing old cars that, unlike most of the cars in this future world, still require a person to drive them. That Grey now requires the use of AI to even function as a fully-fledged human being is slightly tragic.
The chip, known as STEM, is not simply a passive machine. Once it starts talking to and interacting with Grey, we begin to understand how much it is capable of. As it turns out, Grey can give complete control to STEM, allowing it to completely take over his motor functions. This leads to some truly innovative action sequences. The action was shot and choreographed in a super-imaginative way, one that emphasized the cold precision and robotic nature of the chip while simultaneously showcasing the humor and absurdity through Grey’s reactions. The violence also allows the story to progress in a specific way, as Grey is forced to examine his own morality after his brutal actions. He becomes more and more desensitized to it as the film goes on. 
 
We are forced to ask questions about control and what it truly means to be human. Does having some kind of technological enhancement make us less human? More than human? At what point do we become cyborgs? Technology, no matter how simple and benign, has always helped us to expand and enhance our own capabilities. Perhaps implanting it in our bodies and allowing it to enhance our physical movement is the next step.
The film follows the standard path of most films dealing with this subject matter: the characters are in a futuristic society where technology is advancing incredibly quickly and AI is all around them. Of course, the technology ends up advancing too far in this case. We love creating stories about the inevitable downfall of humankind because of our own technological overreaches, whether as a forewarning or  just as pure horror. What is different and interesting about Upgrade, though, is the way it shows this happening. Here, STEM is willing to assist Grey in his quest for revenge, aiding him, and even pushing him, closer to his goal with the question being whether STEM is doing this out of robotic subservience or for a higher, more malicious purpose.
Overall, UPGRADE is a thoroughly entertaining and thoughtful movie about the consequences of relying too heavily on technology. In our increasingly technology-driven world, it has a very relevant message and warning. It is definitely worth checking out-even if just for the action scenes.

A Weekend of New Cons and New Friends!

Last weekend, the DC Stunt Coalition dropped in on Virginia’s newest fan event, the All-Star Comic Con. We had such a great time! On Friday and Saturday night, we attended The All-Star Comic Con Film Showcase, hosted by The Forge Studios and the Fantasy Network. Among the several amazing films, our own film, “Ghost Cop Part 2” screened as an official selection of the event.

There were over a dozen shorts, and multiple feature films including Baltimore-based horror comedy, “The Night Watchmen”,  the Canadian fantasy-action flick, “The Rangers: Blood Stone,” and the U.K.’s own indie hitman-revenge-thriller, “AMBER,” that screened throughout the weekend. Dylan represented stunts at the DMV Filmmaker Panel, alongside local talents Dan Franko, star of “The Recursion Theorem” and “The Night Watchmen,” and Phil Cook, director of the “MALICE” film trilogy. Each panelist contributed their expertise and experiences about building a filmmaking community the DMV area, including topics like looking for talent, raising standards, and creating a strong network of committed professionals in our own backyard. We would like to thank Ron Newcomb and the Forge Studios for inviting us to participate, and for selecting our film as part of the showcase at this great event!

We even got to meet a brother stunt-performer from across the Ocean! On Saturday night, we attended the screening of David Newton’s new hitman movie, “Amber.” David is a stuntman from the U.K., who has worked on loads of impressive shows and movies such as “Game of Thrones,” “The World’s End,” and even “Wonder Woman!” It was an absolute pleasure to see his action-packed directorial debut, especially with him in the room. The cast of this film was made up largely of stunt people-who performed their own bad-ass fights-and it shows in the action, which was right up there with the best of Hollywood blockbusters!

After the screening, David was gracious enough to spend a few hours chatting with members of the DC Stunt Coalition, and even came to our gym on Sunday to give everyone an impromptu education about the nitty-gritty of the U.K. stunt industry! David provided a wealth of knowledge, setting up some big expectations for how DCSC members should train and educate themselves for their career aspirations. We’ll be sharing that experience in a future post!

On Saturday morning, we hosted a demo and workshop for congoers in the atrium space at the hotel. Presenting a new format, “Action Hero Academy”,  not only did we show off some of our pro-wrestling moves (thanks to Wes Cianchette), we invited participants to duel with us with lightsabers, take us down with martial arts moves, and even knock us out with some big hits! We are always super excited to share a taste of what we do at these conventions, and we are glad we were able to provide the stunt team to turn these congoers into action heroes!

 

 

Thank you to All-Star Comic Con for letting us represent the DC Stunt Coalition at your con! We were thrilled to be there, and had an excellent time. We cannot wait until we get to do it all over again next year!

DCSC at Escape Velocity 2018

DC Stunt Coalition had the privilege of attending and representing at Escape Velocity for another year! We always have so much fun teaching our Sci-Fighting workshops (this time from a stage!) and helping people look and feel like sci-fi action stars. We can’t wait to come back next year!

 

Check out our video recap and pics below!

 

 

 

On Saturday, May 19th, our short film, “A Culinary Deceit” was screened at the AFI Silver for the 48 Hour Film Project event. Check out the trailer here:

 

Our film was the first of the 15 films in Group D to be shown. We had a great time watching our little project on the big screen, and getting a chance to see the other fantastic contributions in our group. Thank you again to the 48 Hour Film Project for giving us the opportunity to push beyond our limits and grow as filmmakers. It is always a wonderful experience.