By Nadine Jolson
Lou Gossett: Setting up well for award season
HOLLYWOOD, CA (RushPRnews/Hollywood Today) 12/20/08 – â€œThe Least Among You,â€ starring Oscar Winner Louis Gossett Jr., focuses on the struggle of the first African-American student to break the color barrier at an all-white seminary. LEAST will make its world premiere, January 12th, at the 2009 Palm Springs International Film Festival. This poignant film was chosen as to be one of the top ten featured films at the Cinequest Film Festival that runs from February 25th to March 8th. The San Diego Black Film Festival will also screen the film on January 31st.
Inspired by a true story, Richard Kelly (NAACP Best Actor winner Cedric Sanders) wants to make his mark on the corporate world, but is falsely arrested during the 1965 Watts riots, and must plea bargain to serve a probated sentence at the seminary. The schoolâ€™s first black student is welcomed by its progressive president Alan Beckett (24â€™s William Devane), but Richard discovers the school body wants black followers not leaders. A potential ally is former missionary, Prof. Kate Allison (NCISâ€™ Lauren Holly), who first needs help healing her own inner wounds. Richardâ€™s guiding light is Samuel Benton (OscarÂ® winner Louis Gossett, Jr.), an elderly janitor who lives in the basement of his dormitory. As Samuel mentors him through the trials of racism and his personal demons, Richard has to choose between his dreams and his destiny.
Producer Julia Verdin believes that the themes of the film echo the spirit of the extraordinary life of our President-elect, and coincide with his upcoming inauguration.
â€œThe story of LEAST,â€ says writer/director Mark Young, â€œtakes us on a journey beyond racism and into the darkness around us, and in us. It asks the question: do you have the faith and courage to undergo your own painful transformation – the end of which awaits your destiny. One of the ideas I wanted to bring out was that true leaders are not chosen, they are called.â€