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March 25, 2003



“Strong coffee, greasy spoons, and America’s leftovers...”


Date: 25 March 2003
Pensacola Bay Film & Television Festival: 850-434-0700, www.pensacolafilmandtv.com
Filmmaker Contact: Rik Swartzwelder/863-602-5796, www.oldfashionedpictures.com
Press Photos for Download: www.oldfashionedpictures.com/the_least_of_these.html

On Sunday, February 23, 2003, Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Rik Swartzwelder was honored at the Pensacola Bay Film and Television Festival with the Sprint PCS Filmmaker of the Future Award. Competing against some of the best motion picture shorts in the world, Swartzwelder’s 35mm film, The Least of These, was distinguished in a ceremony held in Pensacola, Florida, in conjunction with a black-tie Oscars celebration. Unable to attend due to previous commitments, festival director Tom Roush accepted the award on Swartzwelder’s behalf and read the following remarks written by Swartzwelder:

“Deepest thanks to the Pensacola Bay International Film & Television Festival for programming us—for allowing us the privilege of sharing our story. And thanks especially to Sprint PCS for honoring us with the Filmmaker of the Future Award. We accept this recognition with humility and respect. The Least of These is a quiet, modest film—some might even say overly simple in its sincerity, in its belief in the redemptive power of community and the immense value of the individual, every individual. And, maybe it is. But, in the midst of yet another war, the need for art—a life, a moment—that inspires all of us to reach for our most noble selves is painfully obvious. To that end, I dedicate this award to Tony Campolo for living out in his remarkable life the events upon which our film is based. And thanks again, so much, to the folks of Pensacola Bay and at Sprint PCS for affirming our work. With gratitude and hopes of peace to all, Rik Swartzwelder.”

Based on a true story by internationally known speaker and sociologist Tony Campolo, The Least of These has already garnered 12 awards and over 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.