Williamsburg’s Giglio Feast takes starring role in new mob movie • Brooklyn Paper

Williamsburg’s Giglio Feast takes starring role in new mob movie

Bossing through the feast: Actor Paul Sorvino, center, plays a mafia leader in the new film “The Brooklyn Banker,” which is set during the 1973 Giglio festival in Williamsburg.

It is ready for its close-up!

The Giglio festival will dance its way onto the silver screen in the new mob film “The Brooklyn Banker,” opening Aug. 5. The flick, which follows a bank official from Williamsburg with ties to a local organized crime family, features scenes set during the 113-year-old Italian-American festival, and to get the right look, filmmakers went right to the source, said the film’s producer.

“We took scenes from the actual feast,” said Michael Ricigliano Jr., who also wrote “The Brooklyn Banker.” “All of the guys in movie are guys who lift the actual Giglio tower every year.”

The mob movie was filmed entirely in Williamsburg, featuring scenes shot inside and outside Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church and local figures such as the members of the brass band of the Giglio feast. The participants are overjoyed that a piece of their rich culture has been captured on film, said a Giglio festival spokeswoman.

“They’re all excited — they’re proud. It’s going to show a lot of really beautiful things about their neighborhood and their culture and their family ties,” said Carolyn Stone. “They’re all excited about it.”

The flick is set in the 1970s, and the production scared up vintage duds for the actors, including the same outfits worn by Giglio lifters in 1973, said Ricigliano. The costumes brought back happy memories for the marchers, according to Stone.

Write man at the right place: Filmmaker and writer Michael Ricigliano Jr. on the set of “The Brooklyn Banker.” Ricigliano wrote the film based on family stories he heard about the Williamsburg neighborhood.

“I think for a lot of them it’s also a happy memory. Some have been there such long time – to see something set in ’70s, it’s sort of like a trip down memory lane for them,” she said.

Ricigliano’s family grew up in the Williamsburg neighborhood, and his uncle used to be a priest at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church. He wrote the film based on stories that his father shared with him about living in the neighborhood. Modern-day audiences will be able to relate to the film, he said, because — though it is set in the 1970s — many of the concerns are the same.

“I have a scene where the main characters talk about the neighborhood, the tradition, and how things are changing,” said Ricigliano Jr. “Kind of like now with the gentrification in Williamsburg, and how people are holding on. It has mob influences in it, but it’s more about [the banker’s] loyalties, and a lot about the neighborhood.”

Organizers of the Giglio festival hope that the film will increase interest in the annual feast.

“I think it’s a nice opportunity to let many more people know about the beautiful tradition of the festival, the Giglio feast,” said Stone. “I’m hoping when the movie comes out and people see it, and they’re very impressed with the Giglio. It will be one more opportunity to let them know that this still exists and it’s an ongoing living tradition.”

“The Brooklyn Banker” at Cinema Village [22 E. 12th St. between Fifth Avenue and University Place in Manhattan]. Aug. 5, showtimes to be determined. $12.

Giglio icons: In the background, members of the actual brass band of the Giglio feast can be seen atop the float. In the foreground, actor Paul Sorvino stands with other gangster characters.

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