HOBOKEN, N.J. – From the streets of Hoboken to Amazon Prime Video, a new feature film is making waves both locally and nationally. “Bless Me Father”, a raw crime drama-thriller shot entirely in Hudson County and featuring local talent, is now available to buy or rent on Amazon Prime Video.
The film, presented by debut filmmakers Milly-May and Gianni McLaughlin, offers a grim portrayal of the mob, the Catholic Church, and family life in New Jersey. The story follows the life of Vinny Dapelo, a hitman for the New Jersey Italian mob, as he grapples with his conscience and the realities of his chosen path.
The entire cast of “Bless Me Father” are residents of Hudson County, bringing a truly local flavor to the film. Gianni McLaughlin, the director, has also lived in Hudson County his entire life.
The story of the film’s creation is as unique as the film itself. Milly-May and Gianni, both lovers of storytelling, met backstage on the first day of rehearsal for the off-Broadway play “D.O.A.” (Dead On Arrival). Five months later, the two were married and planned a lavish destination wedding in August 2020, which was later canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Rather than wallow in disappointment, the couple decided to channel their wedding funds into the production of “Bless Me Father”, a screenplay Gianni had written three years earlier. The film was shot in the summer of 2020, providing a creative outlet for the cast and crew amidst the global shutdown.
The McLaughlins made the unconventional decision to cast non-actors in the principal roles, many of whom were their family members and friends. Gianni’s mother, father, and grandfather feature prominently in the film, while local restaurateur Giacomo Vanacore and former Rutgers and Kean University football players, Bekim and Betim, also take on significant roles.
“Creating art was the defense from the offenses we endured during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Gianni McLaughlin.
For those interested in watching this Hudson County production, you can find “Bless Me Father” on Amazon Prime Video.