Cast: Jackie Chan, Jessica Henwick, Cynthia Rothrock
Director: Serge Ou
Synopsis: Iron Fist and Kung Fu Kicks is a sweeping kick of action-packed moviemaking mayhem that uncovers how Kung Fu movies spread from Hong Kong to Hollywood and tells the story of how the way of the dragon became a global phenomenon.
Iron Fist and Kung Fu Kicks
Iron Fists and Kung Fu Kicks is a MIFF Premiere Fund Film. The MIFF Premiere Fund provides minority co-financing to new Australian quality theatrical films (narrative-drama and documentaries) that then world premiere at MIFF.
The 2019 Melbourne International Film Festival runs 1–18 August.
Tickets are on sale now. Visit www.miff.com.au to explore the full program and http://miff.com.au/tickets to book tickets.
Question: How would you describe Iron Fists and Kung Fu Kicks?
Veronica Fury: Iron Fists and Kung Fu Kicks is an exploration of how kung fu films first came to the west and how much they have (and continue to) influence pop culture around the world.
Question: What inspired you to work on Iron Fists and Kung Fu Kicks?
Veronica Fury: I have an interest in producing films about films, especially exploring films relationship and context to broader culture. I have produced the film history documentaries "Machete Maidens Unleashed!" (2010) and "Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films" (2014). "Machete Maidens Unleashed!" explored B Grade Hollywood film making in the Philippines under the Marcos regime and "Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films" tells the rise and fall of Cannon films and the influence they have on Hollywood today. Both these films premiered at Toronto and played in many major festivals around the word. I still get requests for screenings. There is a hungry audience for these films. So it was a natural next step to produce Iron Fists and Kung Fu Kicks – it was another unique and amazing film history that spoke to broader culture. All these films are fun, fast-paced and feature high action sequences – it's such an exciting way to explore deeper layers of history.
Question: What do you love most about Kung Fu movies?
Veronica Fury: I love the fact that Hong Kong Kung Fu films sparked such a massive global phenomenon. I love the power of their impact on sub culture and pop culture - it amazes me! I remember watching them on TV with my dad growing up. It was a way to connect with my dad. I love the win against all odds narratives, the amazing athleticism, the heroes (especially Bruce Lee), the retro culture, and the aesthetics. I also really love how much the die-hard fans love these films.
Question: What were the best and most difficult parts about producing Iron Fists and Kung Fu Kicks?
Veronica Fury: Our director Serge Ou and co-writer Grady Hendrix took the brunt of the practical creative work on this film. They did a great job telling such a complex and nuanced story. For me as producer, it was about raising enough funds from the local and international market to produce the film. It took a few years. Thanks to MIFF Premiere Fund, XYZ, Netflix, Umbrella Entertainment and Celestial Pictures, as well as State funding bodies Screen Queensland and Screen Canberra, we finally got there. It was also about negotiating and clearing a massive amount film clips! On top of all the cultural references there were over 100 films covered in the documentary. The film actually has over 4,000 cuts! It's another fast-paced film!
Question: Why was it crucial, to you, to highlight female stunt performance?
Veronica Fury: It's simple - gender matters. It was critical - but also easy - to showcase the female roles in this documentary. Kung Fu films have been celebrating leading females long before Hollywood. For example, we were so fortunate to interview Cheng Pei Pei, who was the leading star in "Come Drink With me" in 1966 now famous for her villain role in "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon". It was also great to interview Cynthia Rothrock who was a bigger star in Asia than she was in her home country. And, we also interview up and coming female stunt choreographer for Marvel, Amy Johnston.
Question: What message do you hope this will spread to Australians?
Veronica Fury: These films contextualise cinema and its influence on broader culture and vice versa. They have universal themes that work for audiences around the word. I would like Australian audiences to come way from the film with a deeper appreciation for the origins of kung fu and the impact of its viral spread around the world.
Question: What's next, for you?
Veronica Fury: On top of my busy slate of productions for Discovery, ABC and Network 10, my next film about films is "Catfight". It's a feature documentary about how women are represented on film and TV. Think gun-toting femme fatales, hyper-sexualised heroines, evil villains, sacrificial mothers, damsels in all sorts of distress, cool cops, and the fat, but funny, girl. Since the women's liberation movement of the 1960s how much progress have we made? And what happens when women control the means of production? Does it create new stereotypes or just reinforce the old ones? This film will really dig deep into the embodiment of women in film.
Interview by Brooke Hunter