LIC filmmaker uses neighborhood as backdrop for fashion-themed movie

Photos by Troy Benson


Long Island City residents are used to film and television cameras on the street. Usually they are for network or TV companies who have now discovered LIC.

How exciting, therefore, for one of its own residents to be writing, producing and directing an independent feature film, much of which is being filmed in Long Island City.

Roberto Mitrotti, a television and film producer, has been a resident of LIC for well over a decade. For some years, he has produced and directed a number of travel films, including “The Compulsive Traveler” for CBS Television. His company probably has one of the largest libraries of travel footage held by a private company, RPM Media. His previous feature film involvement was in writing the script for “The Secret Diary of Sigmund Freud” distributed by 20th Century Fox.

Stealing Chanel” is a contemporary story about the coming of age of Giorgio, a young designer, set in the world of New York fashion brands and stores. Born poor and raised in Queens, he believes that fashion can improve people’s lives and wearing the right clothing is the only way to rise above his condition. So he shoplifts as a way to get close and live the magic of fashion.


When arrested, he has to go through a brutal rehabilitation program with Chanel, an arrogant Park Avenue therapist who is a badly dressed heiress with class issues. As they struggle for control and reluctantly fall for each other, she helps him acknowledge his true talents as a designer and break into the professional fashion world. At the same time he uncovers the softer woman beneath the armor.

Mitrotti has wanted to film in Long Island City since he first moved there from Manhattan.
“When I first saw Long Island City, it made a huge impression on me and I thought it was one of the most photogenic locations in New York—even more now with all the recent developments.”

He has chosen locations like the court in Court Square, the spectacular waterfront, several charming side streets and even factory complexes near the canal.

Mitrotti was invited by designer Dennis Basso to film behind the scenes at New York Fashion Week at Lincoln Center in September.

“It adds an insider dimension of fashion to the background of the film which is all about the fashion world,” he said.

Mitrotti has been fortunate in bringing together a high-profile cast in the key roles. This includes supermodel Carol Alt, a Long Island native who began her career in modeling, appearing on the cover of over 500 magazines in the 80s including Harpers Bazaar and Sports Illustrated.


In the film, Carol Alt’s character drives around in a spectacular yellow vintage Porsche convertible which was loaned by another LIC city resident, Robert Rogal, owner of auction house RoGallery.

Acting alongside Alt is Adam LaVorgna in the role of Giorgio, best known for his work in “7th Heaven” and “Outside Providence,” supermodel Lydia Hearst in the role of Chanel, Margaret Colin from “Independence Day” and “Gossip Girl,” and John Rothman from “The Devil Wears Prada.”

The film will be released in the fall of 2015.


More from Around New York