It’s a long one, but this is what went out to all the local media in Ohio…
INDEPENDENT FEATURE FILM “OLD FASHIONED” SET TO
ROLL CAMERAS IN TUSCARAWAS COUNTY FALL 2011
Ohio native and Cleveland International Film Festival award-winner
Rik Swartzwelder will direct from his original screenplay
New Philadelphia, OH – May 19, 2011 – Skoche Films announced today its plans to shoot the upcoming feature film, “Old Fashioned,” in Tuscarawas County and surrounding locations this fall. At a press conference held at the Tuscarawas County Convention & Visitors Bureau, director Rik Swartzwelder answered questions and shared particulars about the project. Filming is expected to begin in late September and will wrap in early November. Limited pre-production activities, including location scouting and casting, are already under way.
“I’ve always wanted to come back home to make a movie, but there are a lot of competing factors at play when deciding where to set up a production,” said Swartzwelder, who now lives in Los Angeles but was actually raised in New Philadelphia and is a graduate of Tuscarawas Valley High School.
Scouting a location in New Phila. May 2011.
“I’m honored to have this chance to capture and share a glimpse of what is so special about this place with movie-going audiences worldwide,” Swartzwelder declared. “I’m definitely still proud of my Ohio roots.”
His experiences growing up locally were a heavy influence on the screenplay for “Old Fashioned,” which Swartzwelder also wrote. “This area has an incredible natural beauty, especially in autumn, and I knew it was a perfect fit for our story—but the decision wasn’t mine alone,” he observed.
Skoche Films finally confirmed Tuscarawas County as their primary shooting location earlier this year after extensive scouting in both Michigan and Ohio since late summer 2010.
“We had to make the case to our [out-of-state] partners that Tuscarawas County had not only the right look and feel for us, but also that it is the kind of close-knit community that would rally around a modestly-budgeted indie film like ours,” Swartzwelder explained. “After bringing some of our team in to scout and meet with a few local leaders, the decision became obvious to all involved. Thanks again to the many enthusiastic and generous people who helped make this possible. We are grateful to be here.”
Commenting on the announcement of the film, Dee Grossman, director of the Tuscarawas County Convention & Visitors Bureau, declared enthusiastically, “We are thrilled beyond words.”
“I still remember getting an email from Swartzwelder in October of 2008 related to ‘House Bill 196’ which was being proposed [back then] to grant tax incentives for films produced in Ohio,” Grossman continued. “At that time, Ohio was one of only ten remaining states that did not have filmmaking incentives. We do now, and it has made a real difference. I keep that email from him on my computer as a reminder of how far we have come in the state—and as my own personal reminder not to give up on your dreams.”
Regarding the potential economic benefit to Tuscarawas County, Grossman clarified, “After first talking with Swartzwelder about the project, I followed up with the Ohio Film Commission to learn more; they were very informative on the economic impact that a film, even one with a modest budget, can make to a community. According to their formula, for every dollar spent on a film, an additional 30-40% is re-spent in the community in which that film is produced. In this case, that could mean an estimated combined impact of well over half a million dollars in a fairly short period of time.”
Currently, the film is holding casting sessions in New York City, Los Angeles, and Orlando with Ohio and the greater Midwest up next. In addition, to give local residents a shot at stardom, an “open” casting call is scheduled for June 26 & 27 at the Performing Arts Center at Kent State Tuscarawas. All ages and types are encouraged to audition and should have a current photo to bring to the audition. Previous acting experience is a plus, but not required. Specific details, including times and further instructions will be released in the near future.
For interested locals that would like to be involved behind the camera or help with the production in other ways, official calls for crew, volunteers, and community partners are forthcoming. For more info, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 330-602-2420, ext. 220. For updates and links to the “Old Fashioned” Facebook page and film production blog,
When asked how the community could help support the production, Grossman replied, “This is our chance to show Hollywood why Tuscarawas County has a reputation of being one of the most generous and welcoming communities in the state. I know that the production is still hunting for a few locations, for starters. Plus, they’ll be needing props, wardrobe, food, housing, minor construction, “extras” for their big scenes—we can help in all kinds of ways. Stay connected with them on their website and on their Facebook page to learn more as the summer progresses. “
Already on the ground in New Philadelphia with Swartzwelder are producer Nathan Nazario of Motion Picture Pro Studios, co-producer Nini Hadjis, and production design team leader Melody George. Ultimately, once production on “Old Fashioned” begins ramping up in late August, a cast and crew of between 30-50 people will be joining them.
A romantic-comedy, “Old Fashioned” centers on Clay Walsh, a former frat boy in his mid-30s, who gives up his reckless carousing and now runs an antique shop in a small Midwestern college town. There, he has become notorious for his lofty and out-dated theories on love and romance. When Amber Hewson, a free-spirited young woman with a gypsy soul, drifts into the area and rents the apartment above his shop, she finds herself surprisingly drawn to his noble ideas, which are new and intriguing to her. And Clay, though he tries to fight and deny it, simply cannot resist being attracted to her spontaneous and passionate embrace of life. Ultimately, Clay must step out from behind his relational theories and Amber must overcome her own fears and deep wounds as the two of them, together, attempt the impossible: an “old-fashioned” courtship in contemporary America.
Skoche Films of Burbank, California, the company producing “Old Fashioned,” has multiple active feature projects in various stages of development. “Old Fashioned” marks the first of the company’s slate to move into production and is the feature-film directorial debut of Swartzwelder, who is a veteran director of numerous acclaimed short films.
Swartzwelder is a writer-director-producer whose films have screened at over 145 film festivals worldwide and garnered over 50 major awards, including a Crystal Heart Award (Heartland Film Festival) and a Best Ohio Short Film Award (Cleveland International Film Festival) for his 35mm short “The Least of These” and the Student Emmy for his highly acclaimed graduate thesis film, “Paul McCall.” Other honors include two CINE Golden Eagles plus one CINE Special Jury Award, four ITVA-DC Peer Awards, and the Sprint PCS Filmmaker of the Future Award.
His projects have found nationwide and international distribution via First Look Entertainment, Big Film Shorts, Comcast OnDemand, Frontier Airlines, and more. He has received press in numerous publications, including The Washington Post, The Guardian Unlimited (UK), Scripps Howard, The Desert Sun, Christianity Today, The Indianapolis Star and The Revealer. Swartzwelder earned his M.F.A. in Motion Picture Production from The Florida State University and is invited regularly to teach and speak on film, including engagements at the Damah Film Festival, La Sierra University, and Calvin College.
In 2008, Swartzwelder was invited by the Heartland Film Festival (Indianapolis) to lead the very first workshop offered (“The Craft of Film Directing”) as part of their newly launched Heartland Truly Moving Pictures Institute.
In 2005, Swartzwelder joined legendary producer Ralph Winter (“X-MEN” series, “Fantastic Four”) and TV writing/producing veteran Luke Schelhaas (“Law & Order”, “Smallville”, “Touched by an Angel”) as part of an interactive panel for the 168 Hour Film Project in Los Angeles.
In 2003, Swartzwelder was invited to speak and show two of his short films as part of the Artist/Lecture series at Kent State Tuscarawas.