PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A new television pilot about Federal Hill has been quietly filming in Providence this week, including inside Providence City Hall on Tuesday, 12 News has learned.
The project is by director Michael Corrente, according to R.I. Film & Television Office executive director Steven Feinberg.
Feinberg said the working title for the show is “Federal Hill,” and described it as a “period piece.” He declined to go into further detail about the production.
A permit filed with the city of Providence describes the project as the “story of John Partington and invention of witness protection,” referring to the former public safety commissioner in Providence who died in 2006.
Partington helped form the federal witness protection program in the 1960s, which secured mob convictions by protecting people who testified in the cases. He was later appointed Providence public safety commissioner by former Mayor Joe Paolino in 1989.
A service road near the public safety complex, John J. Partington Way, was named for him in 2013.
Feinberg said the show has applied for the motion picture tax credits offered to film and TV productions in Rhode Island, but said the dollar amount won’t be calculated until after the production is finished.
Rhode Island offers productions a tax incentive of 30% of the costs incurred that are “directly attributable to activity within the state.” The budget must be at least $100,000.
A number of high-profile productions have filmed scenes in Rhode Island lately, including “Hocus Pocus 2,” set to be released this fall, and “The Gilded Age,” currently streaming on HBO Max.
Corrente, a Rhode Island native who directed a movie about Federal Hill in the 1990s, declined to go into detail about his new project at its current stage.
“If it becomes real, then there will be a whole lot to talk about,” Corrente said when reached by phone. He said filming was set to wrap up in the next week.
The permits filed with the city shows scenes have been filmed at multiple locations including the Columbus Theater, the Biltmore Garage and Anthony’s Authentic Italian Cuisine on Federal Hill.
Michelle Hill, a bartender at Anthony’s, said she was able to serve the crew members while they filmed throughout the historic Italian neighborhood.
“It’s so good for the community and our restaurants,” Hill said. “People come and want to see what’s going on, they’re so excited. It’s great to have us on the map.”
She said when the production filmed inside Anthony’s on Wednesday, they swapped out all her liquor bottles behind the bar for bottles more appropriate to the time period. Antique cars were parked outside the restaurant.
“It take place in a different era, I think the ’50s and ’60s,” Hill said. “We’re excited to see how it comes out.”
Theresa Agonia, a spokesperson for Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza, said the production is not expected to return to City Hall after Tuesday’s shoot.
“We don’t have a total yet on costs they will owe the city, but it will include police detail, street closure fees and venue fees,” Agonia said. “Once they’re done filming throughout the city we’ll have a total bill.”
Filming took place inside the City Council chambers on the third floor, according to photos on the council’s official Twitter account.
Feinberg said scenes are being filmed in multiple locations in Providence, as well as other locations in Rhode Island including Cumberland. (Partington was the Cumberland police chief in the 1980s.)