Jet boats ripped up the Clyde, motorcycles burned up Kilmarnock Road and one keen paraglider got stuck atop the Battlefield monument. Langside was just vibrating with the sound of helicopters cutting up the usually soft Southside air. Yes, it does sound like an action movie set but it was ‘just another day’, or rather ‘The Opening night gala’ of Zan’s Film Festival (ZFF), which officially opened on 12 March 2017 to celebrate the work of action hero/film star Jason Statham.
Audience feedback confirmed the hype that was happening outside the cinema complex. One film festival goer FB’d: “I will of course be arriving by helicopter.” One intrepid attendee planned on making their entrance via the time-honoured air duct route, while another intended gaining access by disguising themselves as a room service waitress. One person emailed: “I had thought we would arrive by parachute but realise that this will affect your abode. For mystery and intrigue we will either enter in disguise and forward a secret code word in advance or we will simply scale the outside using suction cups and suddenly appear on your couch…. you’ll discover which one on Sunday!”
Then ZFF received a rather glamorous international text from one of our regular attendees: “Stathfest is kicking off between Melbourne and Auckland with Mechanic: Resurrection. The film will start in approximately one hour, a large audience all very excited looking. Meanwhile I am paying tribute to the great man with a freshly shaven head and 2-day stubble.” We were delighted. We never thought we’d achieve a reach that stretched to the southern hemisphere or that Stathfest2017 would be MOBILE!
And we were excited all over again when one film goer FB’d: “Off to Glasgow’s most exclusive film festival. This year Susannah Radford is celebrating the oeuvre of Britain’s answer to Bruce Willis. Famous for such manly characters as Arthur Bishop (husband to Emily), so viral he puts the cocc in Staphylococcus, some say it’s a miracle he can even talk… Yes Stathfest2017, here we come.”
Zan’s parents even rang up to wish her well on opening night and one fan simply text:
“We are ready for the Statham we are about to receive.”
And so we were.
And when it became clear that helicopter entrances are reserved for action heroes, like our own Jason Statham, for a reason and the opening paragraph of this blog post was found to be just the stuff of dreams, we all entered the cinema like normal people, though some of us were wearing all black.
In conjunction with the second Zan’s Film Festival (ZFF2017), we are delighted to present the
(12 – 19 March 2017)
It’s happening, yes, the now biennial ZFF has returned to bring you what we hope is the FIRST ever film festival to celebrate the work of action hero Jason “the Stath” Statham(though sometimes we might call him Jase. Mind you, not to his face). So, full throttle ahead, pedal to the metal, DON’T FORGET TO BUCKLE YOUR SEATBELTS, cause we’re driving headlong into action hero territory. Which movies to choose? Well ZFF have not been working around the clock to read plot synopses so we have chosen the films we were recommended and could get on Amazon cheaply and easily. We are very proud to present the following heavily curated programme.
OPENING NIGHT GALA – BOOKED OUT
Lounge 1 | Sunday 12 March 2017 (20.00)
If Helen was the face that launched a thousand ships, it was the poster for this film which probably gave birth to Stathfest 2017. Say what? Well Zan had a sense that 2017 was a ZFF year but didn’t know what to programme. Should she return to the leftover films on her shelf? Should she choose a specific director’s oeuvre? Or a notable actor’s body of work? In the end she decided to give the people what they didn’t know they really wanted. And Edward and Ewa might have mentioned this film poster in passing last September and really that’s all Zan needed to chart Jason Statham’s journey from Jason Statham to “the Stath” and Stathfest2017 was born. In the end Edward and Ewa didn’t see this film at the Longridge cinema complex and they said they would travel ALL the way from Preston to see it on our big (ahem) screen so their tickets are “for free.”
(Actually, all tickets are for free. Cause that’s just the way we roll).
However, what we’re really watching this film for is to find out whether Arthur Bishop has changed careers and taken up window cleaning.
Mechanic: Resurrection | Directed by Dennis Gansel | Written by Philip Shelby and Tony Mosher| 2016 | 95 mins
Post festival note: As they were there, ZFF audience members were asked to answer a few questions. They included:
Q. Did the Stath’s character have to drive in this movie? Yes No (please circle one)
Q. If yes, how would you rate his driving out of ten? /10
A. In Mechanic: Resurrection, the Stath did have to drive (incl. motorcycle, helicopter, paraglider, boat, jet boat plus he dived for good measure. He even jumped from a cable car onto a passing paraglider below!) Stathfest audiences gave him a very positive driving rating, though a couple noted he failed to indicate at one intersection.
We also asked the audience to record their favourite line from the film they saw. Favourite lines from Mechanic: Resurrection included:
“…Shark infested waters”
The grunt at 1:12:38
“I’ve spent my whole life setting people up to die, I’ll set you up to live”
“I was an orphan too”
A PRE-BREXIT CONTINENTAL ADVENTURE (WELL SORT OF) – BOOKED OUT
The Italian Job 
Lounge 1 | Monday 13 March 2017 (20.00)
2003 means it’s not the original. We’re not sure if that means it’s better or worse but we don’t care, we’re here to see Handsome Rob.
The Italian Job | Directed by F. Gary Gray | Based on original screenplay written by Troy Kennedy-Martin. Screenplay by Donna Powers and Wayne Powers| 2003 | 106 mins
Post festival note: You betcha he can drive: he’s the best wheel man in the business! 10/10
Favourite lines included:
“Unlike you I don’t need a guidebook”
“John was like a father to me too”
STATH ON SPEED
Lounge 1 | Tuesday 14 March 2017 (20.00)
Katy told me about this film. Brief synopsis which I hope captures the essence of this adrenalin fuelled tale but that doesn’t give the plot away: Chev Chelios has to race through life or he dies.
So, as my friend Jo said, it’s like the movie Speed but the speed’s inside you. (Stink, we gave the plot away).
Crank | Directed by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor | Written by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor| 2006 | 1 hr 24 mins
Post festival note: The less said about this movie the better. I’m not the target audience and as such did not enjoy this movie.
Another post festival note: I really don’t know how Jason does it (being an action hero). By Monday I was already behind on not one but two weekend papers. By Wednesday morning I was so tired I forgot to brush my teeth and I don’t even do my own stunts.
WE THINK HE WORKS IN THE TRANSPORT SECTOR
Lounge 1 | Wednesday 15 March 2017 (20.00)
A moving and brave documentary about how a young Jason Statham, who’s just passed his driver’s licence (bless), meets the challenges of working for the international courier company DHL. To be honest we’re impressed with how this documentary shines the spotlight on how the drivers cope with the immense pressures to deliver shipments and packages to tight deadlines. And truth be told, this bold documentary does not shy away from exploring the myriad obstacles faced on the daily run by these tireless workers.
Transporter | Directed by Louis Leterrier and Corey Yuen | Written by Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen| 2002 | 88 mins
Post festival note: OK, so we got the plot for this movie deliberately wrong. We were just checking to see whether people were actually reading the programme. Are you still there? And while the Stath isn’t Achilles (and no one is more noble than Hector), his anti-hero Frank Martin is very engaging. And he’s a very good driver, DHL would be lucky to have him. So while Frank Martin does kill people, it’s not the driving that kills them, it’s Frank Martin throwing them out of the cab. Three times the baddies think he’s dead and then he paraglides onto a moving lorry. That’s our Stath.
Favourite lines include “I’m not a tourist” and “that is a very small boat to fight a very big war”
YEE-HA IT’S THE ZFF MYSTERY JASON STATHAM MOVIE DRAW – BOOKED OUT
Lucky viewer, you will be watching either Safe OR The Expendables
Lounge 1 | Thursday 16 March 2017 (20.00)
We’re hoping tonight our lovely usher is channelling the Stath (or Kraftwerk) in a black polo neck because he’ll be doing the honours of drawing tonight’s film from a hat. Or a bag. Or failing that, a bowl. (In the end it was a bowl).
That’s right folks, it’s one film or the other, cause that’s the type of tightrope (read: sloppy/ lazy/ can we say daring?) programming we like to walk here at ZFF. But as it’s a TOTAL surprise (not rigged in any way) you have to come along to find out which one it’s going to be.
*New feature* ZFF interactive zone: If you were lucky enough to be at tonight’s mystery movie, please tick the film selected:
□ Safe | Directed by Boaz Yakin | Written by Boaz Yakin| 2012 | 90 mins
☑ The Expendables | Directed by Sylvester Stallone | Written by Dave Callaham and Sylvester Stallone | 2010 | 99 mins
Post festival note: He didn’t drive a car (just a motorcycle and a plane).
“Next time I’ll deflate all your balls.”
(Though Stallone who also wrote this movie and who has three daughters must have been being ironic with this: So, your daughter paints too. That’s how it starts.”)
I CAN’T BELIEVE IT’S JASON STATHAM – BOOKED OUT
Lounge 1 | Friday 17 March 2017 (20.00)
Yes, we know it’s Melissa McCarthy’s film but Jason Statham is a revelation as he shows off his comedy acting chops and takes the piss out of his action status beautifully, which is why Zan will be watching it for the fourth time. We at ZFF are hoping for a sequel. We reckon one amusing scene could see Jase disguised as a mail man and Melissa as a UPS driver but in the meantime, be amused by the original (and it is an original).
Spy | Directed by Paul Feig | Written by Paul Feig| 2015 | 115 mins
Post festival note: Did the Stath’s character have to drive in this movie? No! We’re surprised, as we’re sure Rick Ford would confirm he is an exceptional driver.
Favourite lines from the film – oh so many Mr Feig!:
One audience member encapsulated this when they commented “[Witty remark #14] remember so much funny, short-term memory store full!”
Susan Cooper: “Where did you get the suit?”
Rick Ford: “I ——- made it.”
Susan Cooper: “Who puts a roof on a scooter? What are you? The Pope?”
THE SATURDAY MATINEE – BOOKED OUT
Gnomeo and Juliet
Lounge 1 | Saturday 18 March 2017 (16.00)
Yip, Jase has voiced a cartoon. I’m hoping my nephews will like this. Maybe they’ll love Shakespeare too. Or maybe just action films.
Gnomeo and Juliet | Directed by Kelly Asbury | Written by Rob Sprackling and John R. Smith| 2011 | 81 mins
We are delighted to announce that this film will be preceded by:
The World Premiere of The Antonine Wall | Written by Jasper and Conrad House | 2017 | 2 mins
Without having seen any movies by our celebrated action hero, I’m told this short film sports surprisingly clear influences from the Jason Statham oeuvre and that it’s so good we’ll have to watch it twice – which we will, despite the scary rating. (It’s rated PG4: includes blood and sadness).
Post festival note: We watched it twice and applauded the actors and production team heartily.
“Such a big hat for such a small gnome”
CLASSIC STATH – BOOKED OUT
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels – The Director’s Cut
Lounge 1 | Saturday 18 March 2017 (20.00)
Pre-Christmas it was doubtful that Stathfest2017 would go ahead due to a pre-festival lack of potential audience engagement but then Claire Radford won her family’s stocking present of the year. And Stathfest2017 was SO ON that it was NOT OFF and going ahead NO MATTER WHAT.
Stocking present? What stocking present? You can see it on the window sill. No, really look. Can’t you see him staring at you? Yes, you. He’s like the Mona Lisa. Our usher is also a bit ambivalent about it and quite keen he is only displayed for the duration of the festival.
But back to classic Stath, we seriously want to see Jase in his breakout role.
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels | Directed by Guy Ritchie | Written by Guy Ritchie| 1998 | It’s as long as Guy Ritchie wants it to be (i.e. we don’t know)
Post festival note: Apart from an ever-present threat that the DVD player on the TV would stop working and we would have to contend with rather large technical hitch, the greatest challenge ZFF faced this year was losing said Stocking Present of the year. ZFF had to go on the internet to find a replacement Jason photo. As Claire said, they’re not cheap. But as the Stath watched us from on high (just above the TV (ahem, Screen 1), we thought the £5.98 we paid for the replacement Jason photo was well worth it.
The Stath did not have to drive in this movie but a couple of great lines from this awesome film were:
“I asked for a refreshing drink I wasn’t expecting a ——- rainforest”
“Are you a ——horticulturist?”
CLOSING NIGHT GALA MATINEE: WHAT?! STATHFEST2017 IS OVER – HIT ME ONE MORE TIME BUT ONLY IN THE AFTERNOON CAUSE IT’S A SCHOOL NIGHT – BOOKED OUT
Mechanic (The Original)
Lounge 1 | Sunday 19 March 2017 (14.00)
Did you know that the Mechanic is a remake too? It is. Those film buffs among you will notice that Charles Bronson is not in this one. Hey, that’s a great fact but I just noticed that the first Mechanic film has been programmed for the end of the run. In fact, this programme has not been curated in any order whatsoever. What type of festival is this? Who do I complain to?
The Mechanic | Directed by Simon West | Written by Richard Wenk and Lewis John Carlino| 2011 | 88 mins
Post festival note: Did the Stath’s character have to drive in this movie? Yes, he did. No one provided a rating, but he’s a good driver.
“Save the fuel. I’m coming for you”
Audience members were also asked to select their favourite Jason Statham action hero name from the Stathfest festival films:
(And remember, this is for posterity so be honest).
☑ Arthur Bishop (from the Mechanic and Mechanic: Resurrection)
□ Handsome Rob (from the Italian Job)
□ Chev Chelios (from Crank)
□ Frank Martin (from The Transporter)
□ Luke Wright (from Safe)
□ Lee Christmas (from the Expendables)
□ Rick Ford (from Spy)
□ with help from Shakespeare Tybalt (from Gnomeo and Juliet)
□ Bacon (from Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels)
So the best Jason Statham character name is Arthur Bishop from the Mechanic. What can I say, the people have spoken (well some of them, not many people voted in the end, so some of them may have spoken twice) (and we counted that).
If you’re still reading this very long blog post I’ve got some “interesting” facts from the festival for you (really, you’ll be glad you’re still here or on slow-moving public transport):
- Now that we have two sofas and can seat five people (more if we use chairs), our audience numbers have increased exponentially (or a bit). Attendance totalled 34 people! 34. That’s up on ZFF2015 and no doubt will look good for our stats. But moreover, our audience base really expanded. People came from Glasgow to see the films. And Edinburgh. AND near Preston. They love Jason near Preston.
- Fun Jason Statham Facts were provided by Hibbert’s Party Games Inc. These will be published as Film Festival aids in a later blog post so anyone thinking of running their own Jason Statham Film Festival can consider using them, but really all can enjoy right now (or when they’re published). One question asked of the live film festival audience was: What is Jason Statham a model of? Consistency, was one reply. (Another interesting fact for you: Jason also modelled for French Connection).
- Zan had not expected that she would spend an afternoon not watching Ireland beat France at rugby because she was cutting along the strong jaw line of 20 Jason Statham masks. But. As. You. Do.
- Tickets included lunch/dinner. We “carbed up” with Jason, enjoying baked potatoes, macaroni cheese, pasta, lasagne and quiche (with potatoes). There was lots of cheese. And salads too. We weren’t sure if Jason eatsa lot of salads but we do. So we did.
- The usher made about 30p in tips. He is considering investing it but is not sure as this is a “tricky” sum to manage wisely.
- WARNING: Jason Statham films can be violent. I had forgotten this so spent quite a bit of time with my eyes and ears shut. Ah well.
But finally, apart from the violence (and Crank, and to some extent The Expendables), I LOVE The Stath and his films and couldn’t think of a more random choice to schedule a film festival around.
Stathfest2017 was great.
 Zan’s film festival is not to be confused with Zürich Film Festival (also ZFF). But as we don’t have a website, only blog every two years about it and we’re in Glasgow, it’s unlikely anyone is going to get confused.
P.S. Thanks for reading the footnotes, as you might notice I’m particularly fond of them. However, now that you’re stuck in the footnotes section I’m hoping if you click on the footnote number again it will take you back to the top. Here’s hoping.
 We haven’t actually checked but we’re just going to say we’re the first and the only.
 We know we’re being metaphorical here but Health and Safety have advised us to add the following:
“Action heroes excluded (cause they’re fictional), (no really they are), please note that ZFF advises everyone else should drive safely”
 ZFF apologises in advance for any inaccurate plot synopsis which may have been missed during proofreading.
 You’re welcome.
Rick Ford: You really think you’re ready for the field? I once used defibrillators on myself. I put shards of glass in my ——‘ eye. I’ve jumped from a high-rise building using only a raincoat as a parachute and broke both legs upon landing; I still had to pretend I was in a ——- Cirque du Soleil show! I’ve swallowed enough microchips and shit them back out again to make a computer. This arm has been ripped off completely and re-attached with *this* ——‘ arm.
Susan Cooper: I don’t know that that’s possible… I mean medically…
Rick Ford: During the threat of an assassination attempt, I appeared convincingly in front of congress as Barack Obama.
Susan Cooper: In black-face? That’s not appropriate.
Rick Ford: I watched the woman I love get tossed from a plane and hit by another plane mid-air. I drove a car off a freeway on top of a train while it was on fire. Not the car, *I* was on fire.
Susan Cooper: Jesus, you’re intense.
 That’s. How. Tough. We. Are.
 How can you lose the Stocking Present of the Year 2016, Radford???
 Please pass all complaints to the usher. He may or may not pass them on to ZFF Staff. Sorry but as it’s the end of the festival we may or may not do something about them.