After first writing about Matt Dillon’s passion project in 2014, it has been a joy to see his continued work on the documentary with little snippets teased here and there on his Instagram, as he shared video clips and photographs of working in the studio with Joey Altruda, alongside the great Francisco Fellove and his musical peers.
Last Tuesday, El Gran Fellove premiered at San Sebastian as Matt walked the photocall with his intrepid crew of producers, Cristina Velasco, Carlos Sosa and Carlos Rossini.
Matt told us how happy he was to have the film at the festival. Matt signed the San Sebastian Film Festival guestbook with his artful rendition of the artwork opposite him and did press with a pair of puppets, which we bet was a first!
Screen Daily declares that “everyone loves a ‘lost legend’ story, and actor Matt Dillon tells an especially juicy, joyous one in El Gran Fellove” (and that ...it) is a briskly enjoyable and highly informative film.”
Variety shared two exclusive clips from the documentary, as well as Matt sharing his thoughts on friendship reflected within the documentary, saying how he fell in love with Cuba and the music, ” “I love the place,” says Dillon. “When I was young, my first real love was Cuban….The whole thing started because of my friendship with bandleader Joey Altruda and our shared love of Cuban music,” says Dillon. “And then, it’s this wonderful story of how these Cuban musicians all took care of each other when they were all in exile in Mexico. That friendship between José Antonio Méndez and Fellove meant a lot to me.”
Regarding his love for the music, Matt spoke with Billboard regarding his record collecting and how he would travel to find rare items, ”
“I’d just go through the bins and these records were in terrible shape,” he says, recalling his visits to a Havana record stall in the country’s post-Soviet years. “And I would look on the label, and if it said son montuno or mambo, then I would jump on it.”
I would love to see in an depth interview about Matt’s record collecting, perhaps with Dust and Grooves? As a fellow collector, it’s been a joy to see Matt dig deep and take part in special research libraries and what they have to offer, especially the magnificent research library from Radio Gladys Palmera.
After San Sebastian, Matt and his partner Roberta Mastromichele continued to attend various festivals around Europe with Lucca Festival in Italy honouring Roberta as one of the jury, Matt has been awarded a lifetime achievement award and introduced a special screening of City of Ghosts. Tonight he is giving a free masterclass for lucky Lucca festival attendees reflecting upon “the theme between actor and director”. We hope lots of attendees ask questions that Matt can use to share his wisdom from years on being on movie sets and working with so many different directors as well as what he has learnt working on his own projects and how vastly different they are. We hope to have the same opportunity some day!
As the documentary gears up to attend more film festivals, we look forward to what has to come with more press for Matt and his hardworking team. The forthcoming Mexico City sessions vinyl album entitled ‘Fellove And Joey’ coming out next year, perhaps partnered with an accompanying photobook and exhibition. We would love to see Matt’s photography and artwork inspired by his love of Cuban music, hopefully along with a triumphant homecoming to Tribeca festival next spring?