Through martial arts cinema Fighting Spirit Film Festival aims to entertain and inspire people, promote martial arts culture, and support those who have chosen it as a career. The Festival is back in London this year with a two day action packed program, including films, two free seminars, demonstrations, and more.
FEATURE FILMS LINE UP:
LAYERS OF LIES
Ramin Sohrab | 2022 | Finnish, Persian, English | Cert 18 | 90 mins
For the team at Fighting Spirit it is always an exciting time to see short film makers making the transition into shooting feature films. ‘Layer of Lies‘ is the debut feature from Ramin Sohrab, a stuntman and actor who produced the short ‘Reload’ that was part of FSFF2022. ‘Layer of Lies’ is the first ever Finnish-Iranian action film, and is a feature film that combines classic action drama with the power of low-budget filmmaking as per Sohrab’s vision.
Returning to Iran after many years in exile in Finland, Sam (Ramin Sohrab) finds that he has not yet escaped his past. A shady figure kidnaps his wife Emma (Jessica Wolff) in order to drag him into a violent scheme for revenge. But Sam is a relentless fighting machine who will stop at nothing to rescue the woman he loves. When it comes to deciding their future, the past will not stand in their way…
Layer of Lies is an adrenaline-fueled thrill ride through the bustling, diverse metropolis of Tehran.
Donnie Yen | 2023 | Cantonese with English subtitles | Cert 15 | 130 mins
Fighting Spirit presents the only UK screening of Sakra. Action legend Donnie Yen returns to directing and also stars in this latest fantasy adventure, where vengeance and martial arts collide to spectacular effect.
This screening is also supported by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office.
When martial artist Qiao Feng is wrongly accused of the murder of his master, he goes on the run in search of answers and the real killer, all while discovering his own mysterious origin. To clear his name, he must look back to his past for answers and soon he finds himself at the mercy of unknown enemies that will do anything to destroy him and the truth.
WALID + Q&A
Areel Abu Bakar | 2023 | Malay/English | Cert 18 | 118 mins
For the first time ever, Fighting Spirit will present an action feature film from Malaysia. From the same team behind 2019’s Deed of Death, WALID delivers a similar brand of bone breaking action that will leave fans in awe.
After the screening there will be a Q&A with director Areel Abu Bakar.
A story about a kind teacher who voluntarily teaches underprivileged children in a quaint village. All hell breaks loose when one of his students is kidnapped by gangsters from a human trafficking syndicate.
KUNG FU LION + Q&A
Froukje Tan | 2023 | English/Dutch/Mandarin/Cantonese | Cert 12A | 85mins
Fighting Sprit presents the first feature film we have selected by a female director (Froukje Tan) – the UK Premiere of Kung Fu Lion, a Dutch production led by former Dutch karate champion Tyrell Williams, and with action sequences designed by Pau Han Kho and Shu Ming Tong, who became known to our audiences for their kung fu steampunk short Steam, which we screened in 2018. The film also stars HK legend Lau Kar Yung, nephew to the late Lau Kar Leung.
After the screening there will be a Q&A with director Froujke Tan and action choreographer Pau Han Kho.
14-year-old Jimmy is one of his school’s best Kung Fu students. As the roster of the new lion dance team is put together, Jimmy sees his dream of dancing as the lion’s head ended when his Sifu (teacher) chooses newcomer Li Jié – with his impressive Martial arts jumps – for the lion’s head and puts Jimmy in the back. Jimmy does not dare to go against his Sifu’s wishes, but is determined to recapture his place. Only, in order to do that, he must first overcome his jealousy.
Corey Yuen | 1985 | Cantonese with English subtitles | Cert 18 | 93 mins
This year’s classic film is one of the most historic films in Hong Kong cinema, notably marked by the debuts of action legend Cynthia Rothrock, and international superstar Michelle Yeoh. Featuring a now legendary final action sequence, Yes, Madam is one of the bookmarks of Hong Kong cinema, and Fighting Spirit are proud to collaborate with Eureka Entertainment to bring this restoration to the big screen.
Michelle Yeoh and Cynthia Rothrock star as a couple of tough-as-nails police inspectors investigating the murder of a British agent, which leads them to a pair of unlucky thieves (Mang Hoi and John Shum) who need protection from a ruthless crime boss (James Tien).
THE SMOKE MASTER + Q&A
Andre Sigwalt and Augustus Soares | 2022 | Portugese/English | Cert 18 | 104 mins
Written, produced and directed by director duo Andre Sigwalt and Augusto Soares, this Brazilian production is completely independent, with all the elements of an epic film and an unusual mix of genres. It is an action movie, with emphasis on Kung Fu, inspired by the Hong Kong cinema of the 60s, and at the same time, a stoner movie comedy based on American counterculture films from the 70s to 90s.
Brazilian actor, Daniel Rocha (Avenida Brasil, Império) and Chinese actor, Tony Lee (Os Parças, Made In China) star the feature, which narrates the journey of two brothers who find themselves cursed by the Chinese mafia with the feared “Three Generations revenge”. The only way to survive is to learn the secrets of the Smoke Style, a martial art beyond the ordinary, taught by a singular master. The film combines great action with hilarious comedy, and a clear homage to the classic ‘Drunken Master’.
After the screening there will be a Q&A with co-directors Andre Sigwalt and Augustus Soares.
Two brothers and a fistful of friends have to face the Chinese mafia’s three generations revenge. Counting on The Smoke Master and his unique fighting style, they might stand a chance.
CHARITY SCREENING: EJ’S WARRIORS PART 2
Ellis Jennings Jnr | 2023 | English | Cert 12A | 87 mins
Last but not least, we present the sequel to EJ’s Warriors – following on from the first part which we screened in 2021, this continues the story of EJ’s students, and includes views from the Warriors, other student’s, and their parent’s perspective in overcoming obstacles, and finding success.