NB Residents Get Movie Experience

By at August 17, 2017 | 2:30 pm | Print


With movie stars found across the City making the holiday movie “Christmas Hours”, by Synthetic Cinema International, many residents had the opportunity to play various roles in the film.

This once in a lifetime experience was one many will not soon forget.

Sheri Amato, whose toy store Amato’s Toy and Hobby was featured in the film, played the role of Donna. Donna is a dress store owner and doesn’t speak but is referred to by name by actress Melissa Joan Hart.

“After sitting around in a holding room for several hours, I then then sat in on the town hall meeting where the counsel was voting on whether to let the big box store come in to New Britain,” said Amato. “It was very interesting to see what goes into filming just one scene of a movie. I will never watch a movie the same way again.”

The movie came to New Britain as Sheri’s husband Steve Amato started chatting with a local movie producer about the toy store while eating dinner at West Side Tavern six months ago. Later Steve received a phone call stating a movie was being made about a toy store and asked if Amato’s Toy and Hobby would be interested in having it filmed there. He quickly said ‘yes’.

The production company included filming at Central Connecticut State University, City Hall, Bristol Center and Mount Southington.

Since last week, when filming began, the City has been abuzz with excitement.

New Britain resident Sal Germano spent last Friday filming one scene which took 9 hours in Southington.

“I was along side Mario Cantone (who plays the mayor) as a scene was beginning. The other scene I played as an extra for a sled race,” said Germano. “It was a great experience and hopefully it was my Hollywood debut. All the actors were very friendly and easy to work with. The producers and directors were also very outgoing people and fun to work with. They spoke very highly about our city, so hopefully they’ll be back in New Britain in the near future.”

Matthew Lombardo was an extra in the pancake breakfast scene.

“It was amazing! Everyone [was] so nice and it was great to see behind the scenes and “movie magic”. I soon became known to the cast and crew as “pancake man” which had to do with the character I portrayed in the scene,” said Lombardo. “I got to chat with Melissa Joan Hart for 15 minutes between takes. I have been a fan of hers since Clarissa explains it all and Sabrina the Teenage Witch too.”

He added, “So many people just think it’s Mario Lopez and Melissa Joan Hart. I was excited to see Mario Cantone from Sex and the City and Beth Broderick who actually played Aunt Zelda from Sabrina!”

“It was such a great experience. Very exciting. A lot of waiting and patience but definitely one of the best experiences I have had,” said Nikkie Delvalle Nauss, who played 3 scenes and still has 1 to go. “I got to meet and get pictures with Mario Lopez, Billy Gardell (Mike from Mike and Molly) and Melissa Joan Hart.”

Scarlett Miller, age 15, said, “It was so much fun to be part of the filming for ‘Christmas Hours’, it has also been great to see my hometown of New Britain get a ton of attention. The cast and crew were super helpful and it was neat to watch the actors portray their characters, especially when I’m used to seeing them on T.V.!”

With all the celebrities on the set, local residents said they felt like stars themselves.

“Even though my scene was minor, feeling like an equal while having small chat with Mario Lopez and Melissa Joan Hart meant the world,” said Robert Savage Niebrzydowski. “Melissa even taught me how to do a selfie.”

Filming will continue at Amato’s Toy Store on Aug. 23 and 24 and more residents including Mayor Erin Stewart will get the chance to play a role in the film.


.News Feature

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