Daniel Swinton, Executive Producer/Producer
Daniel Swinton is passionate about capturing stories that explore the human condition. “The Hard Places” is his fifth feature documentary.
Daniel attended the Rochester Institute of Technology with an emphasis on Documentary Production and Cinematography. As a student he won a “Kodak Emerging Filmmaker” award for his senior thesis. After graduating with honors in 2004 with a bachelor’s degree in Film and Television Production, Daniel went to work for a video production house in Rochester, NY where he produced corporate and educational films. He eventually moved to the Albany area where he was hired by WMHT, the PBS affiliate for the Capital District to launch their Production Services division and provide corporate clients with high-quality commercial video. He won a NETA award for Best Promo, Local Campaign in 2008 and he produced his first documentary for the station in 2009, entitled “Get Off Your Knees: The John Robinson Story”. The film profiled the life of a man who overcame serious physical obstacles to obtain a secondary education, career and family. The film was distributed by APT to over 100 PBS stations and has been distributed internationally to China, Israel, Thailand, Australia and Japan. After the release of the film Daniel transitioned into producing documentaries full time. In 2011 he produced, directed, edited and wrote “The New York Capitol Fire” a local history documentary that was honored with two silver Telly Awards, and Emmy nomination and was distributed across New York State. He recently completed “William Kennedy’s Prohibition Story”, which received a New York Broadcasters Award and garnered statewide distribution. He was recently honored with a fellowship at the CPB/PBS Producers Academy, one of only 25 applicants accepted nation-wide.
Currently Daniel serves as the Executive Director of Production & Content at Mountain Lake PBS in Plattsburgh NY. He oversees the production team in all aspects of content creation and serves as the Executive Producer on special projects. He recently Executive Produced the films “Lake Defenders”, “Songs to Keep” and is collaborating with Lukas Augustin on his film “Unforgiven:Rwanda”.
Lukas Augustin is a film producer and director of photography based in Germany. From 2006-2008, he lived with a local family in Afghanistan, learning Dari and working as a PR administrator for the humanitarian aid organization Operation Mercy. After freelancing as a photojournalist and in the film world for several years producing documentaries and short films he returned to Afghanistan in 2011 with his wife, who also has a background in photography and directing. The trip resulted in Afghanistan – Touch Down in Flight, initially it was featured on the iPad edition of the biggest national newspaper in Germany and later after uploading it to the internet received over 500,000 views within in the first months and garnished media recognition from around the world, including theAtlantic and MediaStorm and many others. He and his wife continue to access people and their stories in conflict zones and at the fringes of mainstream media coverage. They were one of the first media teams to enter Mogadishu after the war in 2011 and Lukas just returned from the Congo to report about the ongoing exploitation of minerals. While he is in Germany he continues with his studies in Orient and Islamic Studies and Literature at the Ruhr-Universit Bochum. At the same time he participates in a trainee program in cross-media journalism at the Journalisten-Akademie (academy of journalism) as a scholarship holder of the Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation. For his film documentary work he has been awarded with the Jugendfilmpreis (German youth film award, category 18-23 years). He and his wife have both taken courses in film directing and production at the Met-Film School at Ealing Studios of London and at Prague Film School.
Michael Swantek is an award-winning filmmaker whose most recent work was the feature-length documentary, So Right So Smart. Narrated by actress Daryl Hannah, this film showcased cutting-edge, eco-conscious companies and was the Official Selection of over 50 film festivals across the globe, including multiple victories for ‘Best of Festival’. After beginning his career in Los Angeles as an assistant dialogue editor on film and television projects, Michael eventually moved back to New York to concentrate on documentary projects.