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A Magazine for Sheffield

Flaming Assassin is catching fire on the festival circuit

Filmed in Sheffield, the crime thriller by filmmaker, dancer and martial artist Nathan Geering has been picking up awards. Nathan told us more about kung fu, ‘fire breaking’ and being invited to train with Jackie Chan’s stunt team.

Flaming Assassin movie still 1

A still from Flaming Assassin.

Local filmmaker Nathan Geering is tallying up awards on the short film festival circuit with his newest film.

Born in Ipswich and now based in Aston, near Sheffield, Nathan has worked in the film industry as an accessibility consultant, helping to champion representation of disabled people in action films. He was the Artistic Director for the 2017 Special Olympics opening ceremony.

Nathan describes Flaming Assassin, a crime thriller which combines elements of kung fu and British gangster cinema, as "Jackie Chan meets Guy Ritchie". The film has picked up a number of awards at film festivals in New York, Rome, Malaysia and Venezuela, including Best International Short Film, Best Action and Best Director.

Having studied Wing Chun kung fu for over 20 years, Nathan tells me martial arts have informed the way he tells stories. "I loved watching kung fu movies because the storytelling was so visual, be it either through the movement language, stunts or slapstick comedy. I also really loved the eastern philosophy that was shared in those movies, which helped form how I live my life every day."

Flaming Assassin features a unique blend of martial arts, break dance and fire weaponry which Nathan calls ‘fire breaking’.

"Both artforms are such a deep part of me that to combine the styles just seems so natural to me [...] Not only does it enable me to bring new and exciting dynamics to the screen, but it also serves as a way for me to truly express my authentic self."

Creating a short film on a budget is a tall order regardless of genre. With action often relying heavily on spectacle, Nathan says he needed to use these monetary shortcomings to his advantage.

“I have a stunt team that I train on a weekly basis. We try out different concepts and see how we can make things work using the environment around us. Good fight choreography doesn’t depend on lavish special effects or big budgets but rather the quality of the storytelling.”

He says that it's critical to ask questions like, ‘How does this fight scene push the story forwards?’ and, ‘What are we learning about certain characters as a result?’

"Understanding these elements can lead to incredible storytelling, regardless of budget.”

The success of Flaming Assassin has piqued the interest of many in the martial arts community, most notably the Jackie Chan stunt team, who have invited Nathan to train with them this summer.

"The training will take place at Jackie’s home in Beijing," Nathan tells me. "I will be joined by martial artists and stunt performers all over the world. I'm learning as much as I can and applying that knowledge into my future film making."

Flaming Assassin is still making its way around the film festival circuit and Nathan hopes to host a special homecoming screening in Sheffield at the beginning of next year.

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