Almost Famous Block Party
Almost Famous Block Party
Almost Famous Block Party
Almost Famous Block Party

There were many highlights of the San Diego Film Festival these past couple days, and it’s safe to say that the festival is living up to the hype. The festival is under new management, and the evolution of the SDFF is definitely underway.

On Friday, the much anticipated Almost Famous Block Party kicked off with Pennie Lane in attendance, a live band, food from Sammys, and a hosted bar. Inside Reading Cinemas theater there were plenty of quality film choices, including the Silver Linings Playbook, which is getting Oscar buzz across the board, starring Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, and Robert DeNiro. Saturday had more in store, as the red carpet was filled with stars, including Seth Green, Kristin Kreuk, Joey Travolta, cast members from Modern Family, and Oscar winning director Martin McDonagh.

The Almost Famous Block Party is something that has never been done before in the past 10 years of the SDFF. A whole block in front of the Reading Cinemas theater was closed off and turned into a throwback party, complete with psychedelic go-go dancers. The night was a retro blast, and the outdoor screening for Almost Famous was quite appropriate. One of the bigger films of the night was the Silver Linings Playbook, a film about a mentally unstable man trying to win the love of his wife back after her affair. Cooper, Lawrence, and DeNiro all turned in stellar performances that will more than likely grab the attention of the Academy.

Seven Psychopaths Marin McDonagh
Seven Psychopaths Director Martin McDonagh

Saturday’s big film was Seven Psychopaths, written and directed by Martin McDonagh who’s previous effort, In Bruges, received an Oscar nomination for best original screenplay. The film is about a writer named Marty, played by Colin Farrell, who is trying to write a screenplay of the same name while crossing the paths of the actual psychopaths. McDonagh talked about how he developed a short story about one psycho into a feature film.

“I had the story of the Quaker psychopath first, like as a separate short story, and I guess I had the title like Colin’s character in this, but didn’t have any psychopaths but one. Like him I didn’t want it to be about guys with guns and violence. I wanted it to be about love and peace, but as I started, it turned more like this. At the same time I think it ends up in love and peace,” McDonagh said.

This was McDonagh’s second time working with Colin Farrell, and he believes that they will work on many more projects in the future because of their chemistry.

“We’re really honest with each other and want to explore slightly darker characters with humor. He’s a great guy,” McDonagh said about Farrell.

Sam Rockwell, playing Billy Bickle, was one of the standout performances of the ensemble cast of Seven Psychopaths, and McDonagh had nothing but praises for him.

“I feel like he’s the best actor of his generation, but he doesn’t seem to be used quite enough,  but I think that’s okay because all the work he does is always fantastic. I’m kind of glad he hasn’t become that big movie star type because then he’d be doing a lot of shit films,” McDonagh said.

Today is the last day of the San Diego Film Festival, and there’s more in store for film lovers. The SDFF team is doing something special for its Twitter and Facebook fans: free panel passes. If you’re a fan of the SDFF on Facebook and/or Twitter, just mention it to the staff and you’ll get into the New Leader in 3D panel (11am) or the Business Side of the Business panel (1pm).

For movie tickets visit the SDFF website.


Community San Diego Film Festival: Seven Psychopaths and Almost Famous Block Party