‘Vault’ filming uses Superman Building, downtown

EAST GREENWICH-BASED Verdi Productions recently completed location filming in downtown Providence for
EAST GREENWICH-BASED Verdi Productions recently completed location filming in downtown Providence for "Vault," a movie that recounts the $30 million robbery of the Patriarca crime family in the 1970s. / PBN PHOTO/ELI SHERMAN

PROVIDENCE – For two weeks that ended over the weekend, the state’s tallest building was transformed into the set and production offices for the upcoming movie “Vault.”

A true Rhode Island film, “Vault” is based on the 1975 Bonded Vault heist – the theft of $30 million in valuables from the Patriarca crime family that resulted in one of the longest criminal trials in the country’s history. The production company is Verdi Productions, based in East Greenwich.

The vault that will be used in the film? None other than the bank vault located in the basement of the Industrial Trust Building, or as it is known more commonly, the Superman Building.

In reality, the heist took place at the Hudson Fur Storage facility on 101 Cranston St. in Providence’s West End. But when Verdi Productions approached Steven Feinberg, the executive director of the R.I. Film & Television Office, he knew the perfect place for the film.

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Empty since 2013 when its last tenant, Bank of America Corp., left, the Superman building is offering the production company its space for free, wrote Bill Fischer, a spokesperson for the building’s owner, High Rock Development, in an email to PBN. The building was also used to film parts of Woody Allen’s 2015 film, “Irrational Man.”

Feinberg said he is excited that Rhode Island filmmakers are getting a chance to tell this local story.

Producer Chad Verdi and director Tom DeNucci “are very loyal to people they have worked with before, and they have a great team of locals,” Feinberg said. “A lot of locals have come back to work on this, from Los Angeles or New York.”

Verdi Productions could not be reached for comment before publication.

FILMING FOR "VAULT," a movie about the 1975 Bonded Vault heist, recently filmed in Providence's Financial District. / PBN PHOTO/JAMES BESSETTE
FILMING FOR “VAULT,” a movie about the 1975 Bonded Vault heist, recently filmed in Providence’s Financial District. / PBN PHOTO/JAMES BESSETTE

The cast will star Theo Rossi, Clive Standen and Samira Wiley, with Chazz Palminteri playing Raymond Patriarca, the head of the infamous crime family.

Feinberg did not comment on how much the state would offer the film in tax credit.

Rhode Island’s tax credit system is in line with many across the country, offering tax credits worth 25 percent of production spending, including salaries, for films with a minimum budget of $100,000, according to Paul Grimaldi, public information officer at the R.I. Department of Revenue. The state issues no more than $15 million in tax credits each year, and at max $5 million per production, he said.

Grimaldi said that tax credits regarding “Vault” would be released in the state’s fiscal 2018 report.

According to a report for fiscal 2017, the state spent $3.1 million in motion picture tax credits.

A 2010 study by Edward M. Mazze, distinguished professor of business administration at the University of Rhode Island, professor found that every $1 of film industry tax credit generates $8 of economic activity in the state.

Feinberg points to the small expenses that add up. For example, wardrobe supervisors walking into local stores often must buy multiples of the same outfit to be used in different scenes.

Other studies put the number lower. One report on New England film tax credits found little evidence that tax credits attract filmmakers to create jobs in states without a large film industry already in place.

While filming in Rhode Island, “Vault” also shot at locations that included the Donald Price Medium Security Facility with the Department of Corrections, and the exterior of the Maximum Security facility in Cranston.

The film shot in Rhode Island for 20 days, and it will finish filming in Los Angeles this week.

Kate Talerico is a PBN contributing writer.