“Cabrini” film holds crew screening at North Park Theatre, releases to public Friday

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A new movie that was filmed in Buffalo is set to be released this week.

It’s titled “Cabrini” and tells the story of Mother Francesca Cabrini, a Roman Catholic nun who lived in New York City. Ahead of the nationwide opening there was a private crew screening at historic North Park Theatre on Tuesday.

Cabrini began filming in Buffalo in 2021 and is now just days away from being released to the public on Friday. Producer Jonathan Sanger said that Buffalo was a real character in the movie, another example of how Western New York is becoming a Tinseltown of the east.

“This will be another sleeper hit and if it’s a box office success, you better believe there’ll be other productions calling on Buffalo,” said North Park Theatre program director Ray Barker.

Cabrini is based on the true story of a woman’s fight for better conditions for immigrant orphans, eventually becoming the first American saint of the Catholic Church.

The events take place over a century ago which is the reason producer Jonathan Sanger says they chose the queen city.

“You have houses along Delaware Avenue here that were built in the late 1800s. So they work perfectly for our movie. We also created what was the five Points area of New York City because it doesn’t exist anymore. We did it by using old warehouses in South Buffalo and then building false fronts on them,” said film producer Jonathan Sanger.

Sanger added that Western New Yorkers with a keen eye will recognize local buildings, along with the Buffalo City Hall council chambers. Which were turned into the Roman Senate council chambers

Over 3,200 neighbors were also used as extras in the film, along with hundreds of local talent.

“In the past, you would have had to bring them here. Now they live here and they like working here,” continued Sanger.

“We’re doing a lot of crew development and crew training. We’re also seeing some people moving here because they’re realizing that this is where the work is now. So, it’s a really good confluence of activity and I think it’s going to bode very well for Western New York for the next ten years and beyond,” added Buffalo Niagara Film Commissioner Tim Clark.

One of the local talents playing a part in the film was Tonawanda native Christopher Brown, who said it was a dream come true.

“It’s been awesome to be a part of the growing film community here. We have a huge, amazing crew here. We get it done even when the odds are against us. We get the movie produced and we get it filmed and it is always great,” said Brown.

“We really want to see more labor-intensive movies that are made with local Buffalo people in them,” concluded Sanger.

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Dillon Morello is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has been part of the News 4 team since September of 2023. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.

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