(Editor’s note – Brawley correspondent Chris Furguson spent four days tracking down celebrities and chasing costumed crusaders at Comic-Con in San Diego as part of our summer recreation series. We bring you  one of his stories here.)
By Chris Furguson
In 2011, Hollywood movie studios at Comic-Con had taken over some of the prime real estate in and around the convention.
Films like “The Expendables,” “Tron” and “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” along with their stars, brought out thousands of excited and, eventually, disappointed fans to the convention as they waited in lines for hours only to lose the chance to see their favorite stars.
Other films, unable to get inside, chose to take over parts of the surrounding area to get the needed promotion.   Attendees of the Sundance Film Festival have compared the atmosphere outside the convention over the past few years to the “Fringe” festivals outside of Sundance.
Despite the lack of major Hollywood presence outside of Twilight, there was plenty of promotion going on in and around the convention.
For some films, Comic-Con is the last chance for major promotion before release.  Movies like “Bellflower,” which has been described as a combination of Mad Max and John Hughes, has received major attention from film festivals, including the aforementioned Sundance.
“Bellflower” plot involves a love story, flamethrowers and a “Road Warrior/Mad Max” inspired car called the “Mother Medusa.”  “Bellflower” stars Tyler Dawson, Jessie Wiseman, Evan Glodell (who wrote and directed the film) and Rebekah Brandes, along with producer Vincent Grashaw, spent time promoting the film before its August 5 release.
“I think the film has received 4 bad reviews out of 100 reviews,” said Glodell when asked about how the critics have treated his film, which he has worked on since 2001 after a breakup.  “And to think that we couldn’t even get people to watch until Sundance.”
Actresses Wiseman and Brandes said that with the buzz surrounding the film getting auditions has been easier than ever.  “Before Sundance, we wouldn’t get a second look,” said Brandes.  “After the film, we’d audition doing the same thing and get called back, with people saying that we were doing something different.”
For other films, Comic-Con is the perfect place to begin generating interest in the project.  William Shatner, who stars in the upcoming documentary “The Captains,” spoke in front of Star Trek fans inside the convention and in front of the press to help promote his film.
At the press conference, Shatner was joined by Scott Bakula [Enterprise, Quantum Leap] and Avery Brooks [Deep Space Nine, Spencer For Hire].  Also interviewed for the documentary were Kate Mulgrew [Voyager], Patrick Stewart [Star Trek: The Next Generation] and Chris Pine [2009 Star Trek film]
Shatner also spoke about the common traits of the Star Trek captains, like discipline, theater, drive, sorrow, and pain.  He also talked about a US military captain that based his leadership style on Shatner’s portrayal of Captain James T. Kirk.
The film opens in theaters in October and is currently available on Epix Network.
In addition to those films, the anachronistic western “Cowboys and Aliens” had their world premiere outside the convention center on Saturday evening at the San Diego Civic Center.  Director Jon Favreau, who had to bring star Harrison Ford in handcuffs to last year’s convention, needed no extra appliances to bring his star to San Diego.  In fact, Ford brought his wife, actress Callista Flockhart, to the premiere.
The premiere was the first such event surrounding Comic-Con in the event’s 42 year history, something Favreau said was important to him as the buzz surrounding the project began at last year’s convention.

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