Tag Archives: Valentine’s Day 2015

Time, MTV, and our “Better Angels”

For the next blog, I’ll be turning the page and moving on from the subject of Old Fashioned v. Fifty Shades of Grey (at least for a little bit), but first…

A quick follow up to my last post, which was only half of the story.  The other half is that we have been genuinely overwhelmed with an online avalanche of love and support from all over the world (literally).  We are not alone.  There is quite a large, diverse, and vocal group of hopeful souls out there that longs to see a different kind of love story lifted up… in both the movies and in life.

And finally, to be fair, I was rather impressed by how equitable and objective a good portion of the press coverage actually was.  Here is a small sample of what followed our Variety announcement:



International Business Times


This is all incredibly encouraging.

One, because it renews my faith that “the better angels of our nature” still have a fighting chance in this world.  And two, it hints at the possibility that not absolutely everyone in the media has bowed his or her knee to the Fifty Shades juggernaut.

We have struck a chord.  Awakened something good, I think…

And it’s not just us Ned Flanders of the world that are pushing back or raising valid questions and concerns.  In fact, Old Fashioned may indeed have allies (for a wide variety of reasons) that travel far outside of the standard “religioso” circles.

I love this idea.  And I do believe that there are a lot of folks out there that, while they may not personally agree with me 100% on every single issue of a religious, theological, or spiritual nature, they do have a sense… a feeling… a conviction that something is askew culturally when a film like Fifty Shades is given such prominence and mainstream media attention.

Here’s to the “better angels” in all of us…

– Rik


Being Old Fashioned is Dangerous?

Controversial.  If there was one word that was NOT on my mind while I was writing the original draft of the screenplay for Old Fashioned, it was controversial.

When I began what would become a more than a 10-year journey to bring Old Fashioned to the big screen, I had never even heard of the novel Fifty Shades of Grey (let alone the film) and I had bigger issues at the time to deal with other than imagining when we might release the film in theatres at some imaginary point in the future (primarily, I was concerned with finishing the script and figuring out just how we would be able to actually get the film financed and produced).

My focus was on crafting a story that accurately reflected the lives of many people I knew at the time, including myself—singles with hearts for God, but with hearts also trying to navigate the tricky waters of romance in contemporary America.  None of us had ever seen a film that approached the subject in a serious way or told our story.  Ever.

I wanted to tell a story that was beautiful.  Tender.  True.  One that honored both men and women… and God.  Believe me; I wasn’t thinking, “edgy.”  I wasn’t thinking, controversial…

Last week, everything changed.  None of us could have ever predicted the online explosion of press or flurry of activity and conversation that would follow our announcement to release Old Fashioned the same weekend as Fifty Shades—Valentine’s Day 2015.

We are grateful, but we are dizzy.

And this was the biggest surprise: Just based on the press we received, my quotes, and our tagline, some have suggested that the ideas in our film could be regressive and potentially even dangerous.  Dangerous?  When did the idea of men and women respecting healthy boundaries and each other become… dangerous?

Then, it clicked.  In a strange, upside down way it is true that we are somehow fringe.  It’s odd, but maybe things have so turned culturally that we are now indeed edgy and dangerous to suggest there is a more beautiful way to approach love.

Think about it.  The trailer for Fifty Shades of Grey premiered on the TODAY show.  The TODAY show!   That’s not fringe.  That’s about as mainstream as it gets.  And it’s opening as a mainstream romantic date night movie on Valentine’s Day.  Not edgy.  Not counter-cultural in the least.  Not punk rock by a London mile.

And so many in the media and our culture seem to just be giving a coy wink and nod to the whole thing… like it’s no big deal, just another game.  Like this is, in fact, what most audiences want.  Is this really who we are as a people, in the majority?

Honestly, I find it nearly impossible to believe that…

If that’s controversial, so be it.  Funny and ironic as it may be… welcome to Old Fashioned, the new punk rock.

– Rik


David v. Goliath


Okay, it was just in Variety so I guess that makes it official: Old Fashioned is being released the same weekend as Fifty Shades of Grey.  Valentine’s Day weekend 2015.  You can read the whole article here.

In the months leading up to that weekend, there will be much to discuss about this pairing of two wildly different films.  One is a modestly budgeted indie flick that seeks to make room for godly romance in contemporary America.  The other is a multi-million dollar studio film based on a best-selling erotic novel that has… other goals in mind.

But that’s not all we’ll be talking about on this blog.  We’ll be sharing stories of how Old Fashioned came into existence, giving behind-the-scenes glimpses of what went on during production, and also providing some personal insight into why the key issues that are explored in Old Fashioned are  perhaps more relevant and timely today than they have ever been.

Most of all, it will just be a chance for me to share this whole, crazy filmmaking marathon with all of you.  It will also allow me to bring some balance and clarification to a lot of the online chatter (some of it already beginning) that often misquotes or misrepresents or makes inaccurate assumptions about our intentions, motives, or beliefs.

We know we’re picking a fight here and that we’re more than a little outgunned.  Oh well, it is what it is.  We have to try…

Heard a singer on the radio
Late last night
Says he’s gonna kick the darkness
‘Till it bleeds daylight
I, I believe in love

“God, Part II”
– U2

Thanks to all of those that have shared the journey so far… and welcome to all of our new wayfaring friends…

Rik Swartzwelder
Writer-Director, Old Fashioned