Written and Directed by Robert Tinnell, ‘Feast of the Seven Fishes’ is a slice-of-life comedy movie based loosely on events of the director’s adolescence, growing up in an Italian-American family in Marion County. The events of the film take place during the holidays of 1983 and revolve around the old Italian tradition of the Feast of Seven Fishes, which sees the entire family coming together and preparing a wide assortment of seafood for Christmas dinner. Having recently gone through a breakup, Tony Oliverio is not looking forward to spending Christmas alone with his loving but loud family. His rambunctious cousin, Angelo (Andrew Schulz), takes him out to a bar, where he meets Beth through a mutual acquaintance.
Beth is an Ivy League student from an affluent family who has been left alone for the holidays by her boyfriend. They hit it off, and soon Tony invites her to his family’s fishy feast. The quiet snow-laden town bustles with vigorous activity as family members spark off each other in huddled preparation. Tony’s family is initially skeptical of Beth, and with his promiscuous ex entering the picture, a ton of memories will be made this holiday season. The quaint and cozy setting of a small town and his grandparents’ home makes a perfect backdrop for the humorous movie as it weaves its homely narrative with friendship, family, and romance. Thus, you might be left wondering if the shooting of the film actually took place in Marion County and how accurately it depicts its locations.
Feast of the Seven Fishes Filming Locations
‘Feast of the Seven Fishes’ was filmed in the towns of Rivesville and Fairmont in Marion County. The locations are largely true to life as experienced by the writer in his younger days when he met his girlfriend, and now wife, over the holidays. Principal photography commenced on January 9, 2023, and was carried out for a few weeks before wrapping up in the last week of the same month. Let us take a closer look at the specific locations used in the movie and their relevance.
Fairmont, West Virginia
Fairmont, a town in Marion County situated along the Monongahela River, embodies small-town charm. Its rural landscapes, vibrant community, and scenic riverfront make it an appealing filming destination. More importantly, Fairmont is the birthplace of Robert Tinnell and is the location of the events in his life that inspired him to write the eponymous Eisner Award-nominated graphic novel in 2005, the source material of the 2018 film. The backdrop of the movie is as true to life as could be, with the shooting taking place in Robert’s grandparents’ house on Clayton Street, where the tradition had been kept alive all those years.
In an interview with The Business Journal, when asked about where he filmed the movie, Robert replied, “We filmed in Rivesville and Fairmont, W.Va. We actually shot in my grandparents’ house. So, it’s about as authentic as is humanly possible.” Multiple local landmarks and establishments around the town were used during filming as well. The High Level Bridge in town can be seen in the movie’s initial aerial shot and a select few scenes.
Also known as the Jefferson Street Bridge, it connects West and East Fairmont. Another visible landmark is the Marion County Courthouse, located at 219 Adams Street. When Beth and Marian meet at a small restaurant at the beginning of the movie, it is at Woody’s Restaurant, at 801 Morgantown Avenue, known for its spicy hot dogs. Later a scene of the couple out with their friends was lensed at the Eighth Street Confectionery, 301 8th Street.
Rivesville, West Virginia
Riversville is a very small town in Marion County, a few miles north of Fairmont. It rests on the bank of the Monongahela River and used to be a coal town. The shorter part of filming for the movie took place here, with scenes being shot at a music store, and a grocery store. Jhonny’s market, as seen in the film, is DeMary’s Market on 34 Paw Paw Creek Road in reality. The music records store visited by the younger characters in the movie is the Assumption Records on 207 Clayton Street, with 27,000 unique titles in their catalog.
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