By Dave Warner

ACT 1: ICU, a film produced by local Hannah Straney and filmed in Little Falls with the support of local donors, has been accepted into two film festivals.

Straney stated, “These acceptances mark a significant achievement and motivate us to both pursue submissions to other festivals and create more compelling films.”

The making of this one for Straney was different in several ways, in that it was supported by local donations and businesses and involved a teaching component, where students from Little Falls High School spent two hours on the set getting instruction on everything from cameras to the creativity involved in shooting this kind of project.

The Creative Outpost, a Little Falls non-profit 501c3 organization focused on creative content, film, and media education, coordinated student involvement. The Little Falls Youth & Family Center (formerly the YMCA) handled the business side of things, such as insurance for the project, and Mark Regan, who owns the powerhouse on West Mill St, allowed the group to use the facility for filming.

ACT 1: ICU was selected for the 2023 ADF’s Movies by Movers Film Festival as one of 15 films presented during their online showcase. ADF’s Movies By Movers is a multi-faceted festival dedicated to celebrating the conversation between body, movement, and camera.

The film was also selected for the 2023 DANCE CAMERA ISTANBUL – Impro Dance Fest. Dance Camera Istanbul is an international Dance Film & Dance Photography Festival, while ”Seeing Dance Through the Lens” and was founded by a group of independent artists and art explorers who are building a greater awareness of multicultural art forms in connection with the field of dance.

This Dance Camera Istanbul festival takes place in October, and they are still awaiting awards and showing details.

Straney stated, “I think when you make something and spend so much time and energy, and you get so many people involved in creating it and making it come to fruition, it then begs another step forward to bring it into the public eye.”

She hopes that the recognition and awards allow them to raise more funding for future projects. “That allows us to expand the number of people we’re currently working with, and we’ll have an easier time submitting to other festivals. It just builds support for you as an artist and your projects moving forward.”

Retrograde Studios and Straney will return to Upstate NY in the Fall to embark on another project. This time, they will collaborate with world-renowned dancer Kevin Pajarillaga, Emmy award-winning producer Joe Hill, and accomplished creative directors Baylie and McCall Olsen out of LA.

“Kevin is dancing with the Gibney Dance Company out of New York City, a world-renowned dance company that tours worldwide,” she said. “These awards have helped us expand the reach of those willing to work with us.”

Straney aims to raise $5,000 for the fall project in Little Falls. “While we partner with Huron Studios in Brooklyn, NY, we hope to gather additional support from within Little Falls. All donations will be greatly appreciated,” she stated.

When asked why Little Falls, she said, “The setting is really important for me, especially since I grew up in Little Falls. I have fond memories but also a memory bank to draw from. I have these images in my brain about what emotions I want to pull from and how I want to make the space feel,” Straney said.

“Many of those spaces can be found in Little Falls. It feels natural for me to come back here and to bring people with me to work here,” she remarked.

A donation page has been established at, where you can help fund this project to help make it happen.

Straney said, “I am so excited for the beauty of Little Falls to once again set the backdrop for our next film. We’re really hoping that anyone who is interested and thinks the project is exciting or fun and willing to help out will get involved. Anything will be appreciated.”

The video (below) was made during the making of ACT 1: ICU in Little Falls.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!