TEAM CAROLINA ASHEVILLE
Director of Operations: Hope Branch
Aaron Norris, Co-Founder
Mr. Norris has been an influential force in the creation of action films and television for more than 30 years. He made his mark as a stunt man, stunt coordinator and actor before moving into writing and producing films including Silent Rage, Lone Wolf McQuade and Invasion U.S.A. Aside from directing several features including Braddock: Missing In Action III, Delta Force II, Sidekicks, Top Dog, Forest Warrior, and many more, Mr. Norris is best known for the incredible success of the hit CBS series Walker, Texas Ranger, where he served as a show runner, executive producer, as well as directing numerous episodes.
Bill Banowsky, Co-Founder
Bill Banowsky began his career in the film industry in 2001 when he founded Magnolia Pictures, a film distribution company based in Austin, Texas and New York City. In addition to serving as CEO of Magnolia Pictures since its inception, from 2004 through 2007 Mr. Banowsky also served as CEO of Landmark Theatres, the nation’s largest theater chain devoted to art and independent film. Mr. Banowsky currently owns and operates Violet Crown Cinema, a boutique cinema in downtown Austin, Texas, and Carolina Cinemas, a North Carolina cinema chain with theaters in Asheville, Charlotte, and Raleigh, including The Carolina Asheville, host venue for ActionFest Film Festival. Mr. Banowsky served as executive producer of Casino Jack and the United States of Money, a documentary film by Academy Award winning director Alex Gibney, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2010. Prior to entering the film industry, Mr. Banowsky practiced law for 10 years and then spent four years in the radio broadcasting industry, serving as Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Capstar Broadcasting, Chancellor Media, and AMFM, Inc. Mr. Banowsky serves on the board of LIN Media, a multimedia company that owns or operates 32 network-affiliated broadcast television stations in 17 U.S. Markets.
Dennis Berman, Co-Founder
Dennis Berman is a leader in the area effective new teaching methods, having founded Trivac and invented LIT, a patented learning program. He has founded several successful companies including Mirex Corporation, Denitech Corporation and was one of the major shareholders and advisors of Voyager Expanded Learning. He has been involved with many not-for-profit boards involving learning such as Just for the Kids and Winston School and is currently on the boards of KERA, PBS telecast; Dallas County Community College District; and The Center for BrainHealth, a part of The University of Texas at Dallas. Passionate about education and learning, in 2007, UT’s The Berman Laboratory for learning and knowledge was established. Mr. Berman has been involved in education on the Governor’s Business Council.
Tom Quinn is the Co-President, along with Jason Janego, of a new yet-to-be-named distribution label being launched by The Weinstein Company in 2012. Previously he spent more than seven years at Magnolia Pictures as SVP and Head of Acquisitions. He created Magnet Releasing, Magnolia’s genre arm, the Six Shooter Series, as well as the annual Oscar Shorts Program. He also helped launch Drafthouse Films by partnering on their first release FOUR LIONS. Over his career he’s acquired and distributed over 100 films including ONG BAK, MAN ON WIRE, THE HOST, WORLD’S FASTEST INDIAN, JESUS CAMP, LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, and WOMAN THOU ART LOOSED. His recent films include: PAGE ONE, MELANCHOLIA, BLACKTHORN, 13 ASSASSINS, HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN, TROLLHUNTER, FREAKONOMICS, CENTURION, I AM LOVE, MONSTERS, and FOOD INC. His productions include: OUTRAGE, COCAINE COWBOYS 2, SPLINTER, and ABC’S OF DEATH. Quinn is also a programmer, having worked for Philadelphia, Atlanta, Woodstock, and ActionFest, a festival he was instrumental in creating. Prior to joining Magnolia, he was at Samuel Goldwyn for seven years, eventually becoming VP of Acquisitions, where he was responsible for acquiring RAISING VICTOR VARGAS and SUPER SIZE ME. Quinn’s first industry job was working in domestic film publicity for Nancy Willen at Dennis Davidson Associates where he worked on campaigns for BREAKING THE WAVES, LOST HIGHWAY, and SICK: THE LIFE AND DEATH OF BOB FLANAGAN.
Colin Geddes, Festival Director -
Colin Geddes is a Toronto-based film archivist, curator, writer and consultant, and since 1997 is well known for his role as one of the international programmers and hosts of Midnight Madness at the Toronto International Film Festival. At TIFF he has introduced new talent and hosted the premieres of films including Miike Takashi’s ICHI THE KILLER; Johnnie To’s FULL TIME KILLER; Eli Roth’s CABIN FEVER and HOSTEL; Wilson Yip’s SPL (KILL ZONE) starring Donnie Yen and Sammo Hung and Pratchya Pinkaew’s ONG BAK: MUAY THAI WARRIOR. In addition, Geddes has one of North America’s largest collections of Hong Kong cinema promotional materials, posters, and lobby cards and in July 2008, held an exhibit of fifty posters from the collection at the Cinémathèque Québécoise. Geddes’ additional programming and festival affiliations include Fantasia, Toronto After Dark, the Asian rep theatre Golden Classics Cinema, Cinematheque Ontario, Reel Asian Film Festival, Fantastic Fest, and has served on the juries of several international film festivals.
Ed Travis, Editor-in-Chief, ActionFest.com -
Ed brings a relentless and unrepentant love of action and genre cinema to his responsibilities as Editor-In-Chief at ActionFest. He has been an online film critic for Hollywood Jesus, which explores spirituality in film, for upwards of 9 years. Now based in Austin, Ed joined the ActionFest team in the Summer of 2011, when the co-founders officially dubbed him a “Man of Action.” He plans to put that on a business card some day. Working at ActionFest is the first part of many planned dreams come true for Ed, who grew up thinking that Jean Claude Van Damme was most likely the coolest person on planet earth and wishing Steven Seagal would listen to his career-longevity advice. Some of Ed’s all time favorite action films include THE ROAD WARRIOR, HARD BOILED, TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY, ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK, THE FRENCH CONNECTION, THE WARRIORS, and ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST. He is still waiting for a call from Van Damme or Seagal’s people…