The Cabrini set replicated 1890s New York City in extreme detail.

This summer, walkers downtown may have felt like they’d time traveled when they stumbled across a set for the feature film Cabrini (directed by Alejandro Monteverde) between Cathedral Park and Main across from St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral. Over three months, crew members (many Buffalo-based) worked to create two city streets—a main commercial strip with shops and vendor carts and a shanty town. Existing storefronts were transformed with paint and facades and the modern cement street became a dirt road traversed by trolleys and carriages, all to replicate Five Points, New York City circa 1895. After five days of filming, the crew was tasked with restoring the area to its present state as filming moved on to different Buffalo locations.

An April casting call sought “Italian or Italian-looking Americans” from ages eight to seventy-five; local Facebook group Western New York Actors Helping Actors saw many more calls (some for extras needed the next day or later that same evening) throughout the summer. Local scenic painters, costumers, and prop coordinators were also employed on the project.


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