Profiles and Interviews With Interesting New Yorkers

Directorial Debut from Federico Castelluccio is a Perfect Gem

By Nick Christophers

Brooklyn Banker 1We all remember Federico as “Furio” on The Sopranos but he has come a long way since then; from building up his painting career to directing movies. The project was first released as a trailer, “Lilly of The Feast”  and came together around 2015. It was the brainchild of Federico and prolific writer, Michael Ricigliano. The title of the film later changed to “Brooklyn Banker” when it was completed. Only last week they launched a national film campaign which began at the Cinema Village in Manhattan to a sold out crowd.

The film takes place in the early 1970’s in the tight-nit neighborhood of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. During that time it was 95% Italian which overtime has changed dramatically. The main character, Troy Garity (Gangster Squad, Bandits) puts on a superb performance as Santo, a legit guy who gets pulled into the mob’s web. He not only aces it as a legit banker but puts on the tough guy suit just as well. The film is truly about the importance of family (not “the family”) and how a normal guy can make it without falling into mob activities.

Brooklyn Banker 2“Brooklyn Banker” also offers great performances by seasoned actor Paul Sorvino as Santo’s father-in-law, Artie Pasquale (Sopranos), David Proval (Sopranos), John Bianco (Sopranos, Daredevil) and Elizabeth Masucci, who plays Santo’s wife. The film is currently being shown at theaters nationally from New York to California.

The writer Mike Ricigliano is a lawyer by day and writer by night. He was determined to bring out the world he grew up in, onto the silver screen.

“Most of my writing is done at night after my long day at the law office. Five years ago is when I caught the writing bug to work on a script. I wanted to put out a film that would capture where I came from, in Brooklyn. I pitched the idea with Federico and he loved the script and he came on board right away.” 

Mike is also currently in the works on two plays one about an Irish B&B called “Falen House” and the other called “Godless” which centers around a politician who is a devote Catholic faced with the issue of same sex marriage. Mike has been involved with plays and films before like “Creative Vision” where he worked with Federico as well.  He is on his way to make a splash in the film and stage world.

Also on hand for the screening was the dapper John Bianco. Many remember him as the leg-breaker, Gerry Torciano in the Sopranos, but he has done a lot more than that. He has been around TV and film cameras since 1994. From the TV series Law & Order to the superhero flick “Daredevil” John has become a face you can’t forget. He offered a few words about the project.

“I read the script and was interested right a way. It also helped that I knew Mike and worked with Federico in the past. I loved the era, the 70’s, but I also enjoyed the way the script moved. I enjoyed playing Carmine and try to color the character different than say Gerry from the Sopranos. I also do not mind being type-caste, if it opens doors so be it. I also enjoy playing any character whether it is a cop or a mobster. Also it was amazing working with David Proval.”

John is also in the works on a film entitled “Sunset Park” with Michael Trevino (Vampire Diaries). “Brooklyn Banker” is a must see for anyone who appreciates vintage acting and stellar storytelling.

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