Welcome to director Sam (Shmulik) Firstenberg's web
FESTIVAL HELSINKI, FINLAND:
GUEST OF HONOR
I just came back from Helsinki Finland
where I was a guest of the 2018 NIGHT VISIONS international film festival. Three movies I directed
screened there to enthusiastic
audiences(American Ninja 1 and 2 and Avenging Force). In addition there was a
reception at the US embassy in Helsinki in honor of the two directors
representing the US in the festival and I was one of them (The other was Emma
Tammi with her movie The Wind) it was a fantastic exiting experience and great
Night Visions is a genre cinema film festival focusing on horror,
fiction and cult cinema. The Maximum Halloween section is organized usually as
close to Halloween as possible. The event focuses on newer genre films and also
screens a selection of old classics and documentaries. This year they screened
41 feature length films and documentaries in three different theaters, along
with a selection of short films during five days.
With an enthusiastic dedicated fan base
this festival is very energetic and popular.This year (2018) it ended with a record
attendance of almost 9,300 film-goers. After
every screening there is a Q & A sessions that gives the fans a chance to
participate in discussing the film with its creator and talk about various
aspects of independent low budget filmmaking.
This year’s guests list
included Rasmus Kloster Bro from Denmark
(Cutterhead), Justin McConnell from Canada
(Lifechanger), Christoffer Nordenrot from Sweden (The Unthinkable),Börkur Sigthorsson
from Iceland (Vultures),
Sergio Stivaletti from Italy (Rabbia Furiosa)and me (Sam
Firstenberg). The festival goers had a chance to meet us all. I was proud to
learn that I was the guest of honor and the most popular classic genre
film in the program was the action thriller I directed in 1986 Avenging
Force, with the
cult classic American
Ninja I directed in 1985 coming right on its heels.
All in all my participation in the NIGHT
VISIONS festival was an exhilarating experience and I want to use this opportunity
to thank the organizers for inviting me and giving me the opportunely to
participate in this genre films celebration: festival director Mikko Aromaa, Marko
Mäkilaakso, Riina Kesanen, Matti Ramo and
all the other volunteers that helped in running the events and making sure my
stay in Helsinki was such a pleasant experience.
Most rewarding for me was the chance to
meet so many fans that remember, admire, and still enjoy the movies I directed
years ago, some of them remarkably young. I had a chance to lecture, answer
questions, autograph posters, shake hands, and be included in many photos with
throngs of loyal fans.
Low budget independent genre movies are
neither forgotten nor vanishing on the sideline of cinema history. True, they
are not mainstream Hollywood, but they are well and alive and here to stay.
Thank you festival organizers
and Finnish fans for bringing me over and making sure my participation was
Cult Film Festival in Gdansk, Poland: Retrospective
Last June (2017) I was a guest of the 20th Cult Film Festival in the city of Gdansk in Poland. 4 movies I directed
screened there (American Ninja 1 and 2, Breakin’ 2; Electric Boogaloo, Ninja 3 the domination) plus a documentary about
Cannon film (Electric Boogaloo; The wild, untold story of Cannon Film) and there was a meet and greet event with enthusiasts
and fans. It was a fantastic experience and great event. Thank you festival organizers and Polish fans for bringing me over
and making sure my participation was pleasant
over! It excided its goal; 87 backers
pledged €10,843 (more then $11,000) to help bring this project to life. Congratulation
Marco Siedelmann and thanks to all our friends that helped promote the project
and spread the word
interview book about the beloved Hollywood director Sam Firstenberg. A
trip loaded with unique badass film history!
Artwork by Ralf Krause for the cover of a new book by Marco Siedelmann
Contains original score elements as well as new content enhanced and remastered by Robert J. Walsh.
Newly released Blu-ray discs of American Ninja
They include an audio commentary track and the making of.. documentaries
The Jess Franko Award Plaque
The Jess Franko Award Plaque from the 2016 CUTRECON 5 Film Festival
Since 1980 Sam Firstenberg has
been a success in the independent filmmaking field, as a director of feature films. Sam has directed 22 theatrical feature
films since completing his graduate studies in film at Loyola Marymount University. His first film, "ONE MORE CHANCE," starring
Kirsty Alley, won prizes in major film festivals, and sparked the beginning of his career as a director. Subsequent films
have become commercial hits and cult classics, especially the "AMERICAN NINJA" series starring Michael Dudikoff and the breakdance
phenomenal “ELECTRIC BOOGALOO”.
Sam Firstenberg has directed films ranging from musical
to drama, comedy to action, sci-fi, thrillers and horror. Including special effects, complicated CGI, huge crowd scenes, elaborated
chases, sophisticated action sequences, down to delicate dramatic moments. He spent several years as an in house director
at Cannon Films, and his films have been distributed by Tristar, MGM, Paramount, and Warner Brothers. Through the years Firstenberg
has worked with some of hollywood’s most highly regarded actors; Eric Roberts, Ice-T, Michael Madson, Kirsty Alley,
Margaret Avery, Ernie Hudson, Hal Holbrook, Jeff Fahey, Robert Vaughn, Sean Young, Michael Dudikoff, John Rhys-Davies, Marc
Dacascos, Grace Jones, Nick Cassevettes, Richard Moll, Dan Heday, Richard Kien and Seymour Cassel.
in Poland, grew up in Jerusalem, and obtained his higher education in Los Angeles, where he now resides with his wife
and three daughters.
This web site is dedicated to the work of director
Sam Firstenberg. It contains Biography, Filmography, Interviews, Stories, Posters, Photos, News, photo album,
and more. Visit and enjoy.