"Screech" attends premiere of short film shot in Adirondack Region

Emily Burkhard
Updated: November 21, 2019 11:18 PM
Created: November 21, 2019 11:15 PM

GLENS FALLS - Several films shot in Upstate New York were shown to the public in Glens Falls on Thursday evening.

Filmmakers said being able to shoot in areas they're already familiar with helps them get their films shot quickly and also helps build a sense of community and camaraderie among the cast and crew.


Lora Lee Ecobelli's film, "La Transazione,” was one of the short films shown on Thursday night. The story is set in 1910 on Ellis Island. It's about three Italian women coming to be U.S. for arranged marriages.

Ecobelli said the story is loosely based on her own grandmother's story. She said they obviously couldn't shoot on the real Ellis Island on their budget, but they found a perfect alternative in Kingston. Ironically, they shot the film at the Reher Center for Immigrant Culture and History.

"We set dressed it to look like Ellis Island and we used all local actors, really talented, wonderfully brilliant actors and hopefully now it has been submitted to over 20 festivals around the world so we're keeping our fingers crossed that it gets out there,” Ecobelli said.

Chris Gaunt is a Glens Falls native as well as an actor, writer and producer. He was featured in "Catching up," another film showed at the festival.

Gaunt said aside from the tax benefits, there are other reasons upstate towns make good filming locations.

“Through the wonderful magic of movies and cinema Glens Falls could be anywhere, so it's kind of nice to be able to do that and you really can't do that in a big metropolitan city,” Gaunt said.

“I'm always in the back of my head, when I am home visiting places I'm like, ‘Oh this would be a good place to shoot this,’ or ‘That would be a good place to shoot this,’ so that was the cool thing about shooting in an area that you're familiar with,” Producer/director Shane Alden said.

Alden is the Glens Falls native who produced and directed "Catching Up" a teen drama about a mother and daughter pursuing their dreams of being singers.

"This one was shot in Cambridge, Glens Falls, Queensbury and the Capital Region,” Alden said. “So I think it's like a little diamond in the rough up here as far as filming—“

“Oh I see what you did there,” actor Dustin Diamond interjected. “He's ‘Catching us up’ on what's going on."

Diamond, known for his role as "Screech" in Saved by the Bell, makes an appearance in Alden’s film. He said one of the things he enjoys most about working on small budget, short films is the efficiency of the cast and crew. 

"They can get through a scene very quickly, they know what they're doing, they know their lines, they know they're blocking everything is pristine,” Diamond said. “When you get a crew and a director that can do that, that's amazing. Then everything is banging on all cylinders."

Gaunt said he's seen a growth in TV, movie and short film production upstate. Aside from the tax benefits, he said there are other reasons why smaller towns make good filming locations.

“It's very easy-not necessarily easy but easier I think to film in Upstate New York, just logistically it's a little easier and you can re-create some of these towns to look like anywhere in the United States,” Gaunt said.

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