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March 1 , 2003



Swartzwelder’s surprising, melancholy short continues to build momentum


Date: 01 March 2003
CINE: 202-785-1136, www.cine.org; Telly Awards: 513-421-1938, www.tellyawards.com
Filmmaker Contact: Rik Swartzwelder/863-602-5796, www.oldfashionedpictures.com
Press Photos for Download: www.oldfashionedpictures.com/the_least_of_these.html


Award-winning filmmaker Rik Swartzwelder and his 35mm short film, The Least of These, recently added to their growing list of cinematic honors with a CINE Special Jury Award at the 44th Annual CINE Golden Eagle Awards ceremony—held February 27 at the Grosvenor Auditorium at the National Geographic Society in Washington, DC—and a Silver Telly in the 24th Annual Telly Awards program.

Distinguished alongside other honorees including Sheila Nevins, executive vice-president of original programming at HBO, celebrated documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, and The Smothers Brothers, Swartzwelder received the CINE Special Jury Award for his work as writer-producer-director on The Least of These. Honored as the “Best of Entertainment/Drama,” Swartzwelder’s extraordinary short film was competing against submissions from all of the major broadcast and cable networks and his win was a stunning victory for such a modestly-budgeted, independent project. Last year, the same CINE Special Jury Award was presented to Wit, produced by HBO and starring Emma Thompson. Founded in 1957 by a consortium representing business, education, and government to depict American life and thought realistically for a global audience, CINE continues to recognize and foster the highest quality of non-theatrical film and video production through its semi-annual competitions.

The Telly Awards, founded in 1980, annually honors the best in film and video productions and non-network cable TV commercials. Entries do not compete against each other. Rather, they compete against a high standard of excellence. Of the well over 10,000 submissions that the Telly Awards receive every year, only a select 7-10% receive the Silver Telly, the organizations highest honor. Now with their own Silver Telly, Swartzwelder and The Least of These join several other esteemed recipients of the award, including DreamWorks, Turner Classic Movies, and The History Channel.

Based on a true story by internationally known speaker and sociologist Tony Campolo, The Least of These has already garnered 11 awards and 30 “official selection” screenings in just eight months on the film festival circuit. Filmed at the historic Tastee Diner near Baltimore, Maryland, the atmospheric, character-driven film tells the story of how the fading, isolated life of a diner owner and the dull routine of his late night crowd are forever changed by the unusual proposition of a stranger.

A graduate of The Florida State University’s Graduate Motion Picture Conservatory, Rik Swartzwelder is an award-winning filmmaker whose work has screened at nearly 100 film festivals, internationally, and garnered over 25 major awards—including the “Student Emmy” for his highly acclaimed master’s thesis film, Paul McCall, and the Crystal Heart Award from the prestigious Heartland Film Festival for his multiple award-winning 35mm short, The Least of These. Rik has also sold two feature scripts, one treatment, and is currently prepping to direct his first feature.