Janell Smith has always called Austin, Texas home. Unlike other girls her age, as a child her father would take her to see boxing and wrestling matches which she found fascinating. A bright and energetic athlete throughout her life, Janell’s academic years centered on her studies and a host of extra curricular activities. As director of Fighting Stunts, Janell has produced 10 short films and a feature entitled Tremens.
In 1996, Janell began training in Taekwondo and eventually earned a 1st degree Black Belt. In 2004, she discovered Tukong Moosul, a form of martial arts developed by Grandmaster Wonik Yi. Overall, Janell has spent the last 12 years training in the martial arts. With countless awards and degrees of recognition, Janell began to serve as instructor at Grandmaster Yi’s academy. In 2005, the academy was selected by directors Robert Rodriquez and Frank Miller as a training ground for their film Sin City. Janell Smith was fascinated with the process of training with actors and was motivated to help establish the Action Film Institute and Fighting Stunts Association.
Budomate: Janell, tell us please how and when did you come up with idea of the Next Dragon Show?
Janell: I started thinking about developing a show that showcased all of the amazing talent that I had been working with in Action/Stunts for Films in US(Texas). My teacher and I started a stunt company called Fighting Stunts Association and Action Film Institute.
We started the company after my teacher worked with Robert Rodriguez for the film “SinCity” He trained and choreographed Devon Aoki in her sword style (GrandMaster Wonik Yi-Creator of martial art style Tukong Moosul-trained at Dae Yeon Sa Temple in Korea). He also privately trained the Writer/Producer Mr. Frank Miller. We became known for training actors for action and stunts in film. I soon realized this was a lot of work and dedication to becoming an “Action Star” and to maintain ones mental spiritual training in the “Arts”. Bruce Lee was able to maintain both the “real” life combat training AND “Screen presence” for film.
Budomate: What is the main purpose of a new martial arts show “The Next Dragon”?
Janell: Our main purpose to to give “martial artist” all over the world an opportunity to become an action star. Many do not know how or where to begin getting into the Film Industry. Our show will be a wonderful platform for them to showcase their skills as a Martial artist and train with some of the best “action/stunt” trainers from all over the world. They will also be exposed to Directors and Producers from upcoming Action Films looking to cast some of them for their films.
Budomate: In January 2010 you were auditioning in Austin for a show, why did you start with Texas?
Janell: We started in Texas due to the fact that Texas is a great place for martial art tournaments. We attended a tournament to discover up and coming talent. This is how Bruce Lee was discovered by Producers. I am also from Texas and I serve on many boards to help develop the “Film” Industry in Texas.
Budomate: Are any famous martial artists connected somehow to “The Next Dragon” show? Maybe Chuck Norris is interested to support you as a Oklahoma born master?
Janell: Yes, we are currently in talks with the Norris Camp to work together. Master Chuck Norris lives in Houston, Texas and has his production company here. We will also work with his Film Festival called: “Action Film Festival” to promote The Next Dragon. Other well known names we are in talks with to work on the show as “Guest Judges” are : Robert Rodriguez, Chuck Norris, Jet Li, Quentin Tarrantino, Shannon Lee to name a few.
Our Host/Producer Mr. Rudy Reyes will add an interesting dynamic to The Next Dragon show. He was Host on the shoe for Discovery Channel called “Apocolypse Man” and also on HBO series “Generation Kill” He is a Marine Recon and the “real deal” Black Belt that has lived the ultimate Modern Warrior Life. Our sizzle reel is almost complete and I will send to you. Our Director for the show is Marcel Rodriguez (Robert Rodriguez’s brother).
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