Buffalo’s Italian-Americans celebrated in new film

Nov 8, 2013

Stories of Buffalo's Italian-Americans will be revealed this weekend when a brand new film premiers.  WBFO'S Eileen Buckley met with one of the writer and producers of the film, Joey Giambra of Buffalo, to discuss the creation of "Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow".

Photo from Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

The film opens in 1939. It was the Great Depression -- a time when many immigrants were beginning a new life in Buffalo  -- after arriving from Italy and Sicily.  This film features stories of their descendants.

Giambra, who just turned 80, is an accomplished jazz band trumpet player, but he has also acted in some major movies and television productions in California and New York City, and he's a former Buffalo cop. 

Joey Giambra in WBFO studio
Credit WBFO News photos by Eileen Buckley

Giambra's life, ironically, started out in an area right here in downtown Buffalo where our WBFO studio is located. Giambra and other Italians once lived on this property.

"I lived in this neighborhood. This very building stands  where in the neighborhood I was born in," said Giambra. 

Giambra said many decided to immigrate to Buffalo from Italy because they already "had relatives here." 

Luigi & Grace Dimaria (great-grandparents of Eileen Buckley) immigrated to Buffalo in 1887.
Credit WBFO News photos by Eileen Buckley

"They all lived in the Hooks -- lower Main Street area and lower East Side as well," said Giambra.

In this 90-minute film, Giambra noted the stories include people "who immigrated here from Sicily talking about the invasion of Sicily and where there when it happened." "I'm touched by it all." 

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow premiers Sunday, November 10th at the Burchfield Penney Art Center.