“Feast of the Seven Fishes,” a slice-of-life comedy written and directed by Robert Tinnell, is largely based on the director’s childhood experiences growing up in an Italian-American family in Marion County.
The entire family gathers to prepare a large variety of seafood for Christmas supper as part of the ancient Italian ritual known as the Feast of Seven Fishes, which is the focal point of the 1983 holiday film.
Tony Oliverio is not looking forward to spending Christmas by himself with his loud, loving family after going through a split recently. He goes out to a pub with his boisterous cousin Angelo (Andrew Schulz), where he meets Beth via a mutual acquaintance. Beth, an Ivy League student from a wealthy family, is spending Christmas alone because her boyfriend is away.
Tony asks her to his family’s fish feast after they quickly become friends. The sleepy, snow-covered town is a flurry of activity, with family members crowded around in anticipation. There will be many special moments this holiday season, even though Tony’s family is first dubious of Beth because of his promiscuous ex.
In addition to fellow HBO graduate Paul Ben-Victor from the popular drama series The Wire, the film stars several well-known performers, including Joe Pantoliano and Ray Abruzzo, who you may be more familiar with from The Sopranos as Ralph Cifaretto and Little Carmine Lupertazzi.
Well-known stand-up comedian Andrew Schultz plays Tony’s cousin Angelo in the film; Jessica Darrow, Addison Timlin, Josh Helman, and Lynn Cohen round out the cast.
The film’s amusing story of friendship, family, and romance is perfectly complemented by the charming and comfortable environment of a little town and his grandparents’ house. As a result, you may be questioning if Marion County was indeed used for filming and how true the images of the area are.
The Marion County communities of Rivesville and Fairmont served as the filming locations for “Feast of the Seven Fishes.” The settings are mainly based on the writer’s experiences when he was younger and spent vacations with his future wife.
Beginning on January 9, 2023, principal photography was conducted for several weeks, concluding in the last week of the same month. Let’s examine the specific locales featured in the film and their significance in more detail.
Fairmont, West Virginia
Small-town charm is embodied in Fairmont, a community in Marion County located along the Monongahela River. It is a desirable location for filmmaking because of its picturesque riverbank, lively community, and rural scenery.
More significantly, Fairmont is Robert Tinnell’s birthplace and the site of the life events that motivated him to write the 2005 Eisner Award-nominated graphic novel of the same name, which served as the basis for the 2018 movie.
Robert’s grandparents’ Clayton Street home, where the custom has been carried out for years, served as the film’s setting, making it as authentic as possible. When asked where he filmed the movie, Robert said, “We filmed in Rivesville and Fairmont, W.Va.,” in an interview with The Business Journal. We shot in the home of my grandparents. It is, therefore, as genuine as is humanly possible.
Several local businesses and landmarks were also used while filming was taking place in the town. A couple of sequences and the movie’s opening aerial view feature the town’s High-Level Bridge. The Jefferson Street Bridge, which links West and East Fairmont, is another name for it. The Marion County Courthouse, which is situated at 219 Adams Street, is another notable monument.
At the start of the film, Beth and Marian get together at a little eatery called Woody’s Restaurant, located at 801 Morgantown Avenue and well-known for its fiery hot dogs. Later, at the Eighth Street Confectionery, 301 8th Street, a scene with the couple out with their friends was filmed.
Rivesville, West Virginia
A few miles north of Fairmont, in Marion County, sits the tiny village of Riversville. It was formerly a coal town and is situated on the Monongahela River’s bank. Scenes from a grocery store and a music store were filmed during the movie’s brief filming period here.
In actual life, DeMary’s Market on 34 Paw Paw Creek Road is Jhonny’s market, as depicted in the movie. With a collection of 27,000 distinct titles, Assumption Records, located at 207 Clayton Street, is the record store that the younger people in the film frequent.