By Maria Bohan
The Motherhouse is not only home to the Sisters of Saint Dominic of Blauvelt, New York, it has also been a set for many television shows such as HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, The Leftovers, and Mildred Pierce, Hulu’s The Path, and most recently USA’s The Sinner and the CBS drama Instinct, starring Alan Cumming.
The first step of the filming process is for a location scout to reach out to the congregation. The scout will share proposed filming dates and times, locations intended to be used, and basic information about the show and the scene. Once the leadership team approves the dates and scene content, production moves forward.
It is not only set location that is negotiated between the production company and congregation, but also the actor and crew holding areas, parking, craft services areas, facilities, and more must also be discussed by both sides. Without the hard work of many sisters and congregation staff members, filming would not be possible.
While some production companies use the convent as a convent, as in The Sinner, others transform the Motherhouse. In Boardwalk Empire, for example, a hallway near the chapel was used in a hospital scene, in Mildred Pierce, a parlor was transformed into a hospital room, and in The Path, the vestibule outside the chapel was used as a reception area for a healthcare facility.
The lower Hudson Valley has become a very desirable location for film and television shoots, and the Sisters of St. Dominic of Blauvelt are excited to be a part of these and future productions.
Maria Bohan is a Volunteer for the Communications and Development Office at the Sisters of Saint Dominic of Blauvelt, New York. She is a student at Bryn Mawr College majoring in English and a graduate of Pearl River High School.