About this blog
The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival from the interns' point of view
Sunday, March 25, 2012
Blog posting written by Hana Raskin, Communication Management & Design '12, FLEFF intern, New York City
Tom Torello is a graduate of Ithaca College, where he majored in Television and Radio with a concentration in Advertising and Public Relations. He has worked in New York City as a media planner at a big agency, for clients like Proctor & Gamble and Richardson Vicks.
He started working in higher education marketing, first as the marketing director at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and later serving as Ithaca College’s first executive director of marketing communications. While at IC, he was also the marketing director for FLEFF.
Torello later assumed the position of Vice President for University Relations at Pace University in New York City. But now he is back in Ithaca, because, well, this is where his heart is and where he wants to raise his family.
He currently sits on FLEFF’s international advisory board.
Q. How did you become involved with FLEFF?
A. I was the executive director of marketing communications at IC when the school took over FLEFF. It started as a small environmental film festival at Cornell, but the provost at IC wanted to take it over and make it an Ithaca thing, and then Patty and Tom took it on.
Patty and Tom thought it could be so much more, a great local, regional and international festival.
We met with them to think about how we were going to remarket. We developed a new logo, because before, it was what you would expect a logo for an environmental film festival to be- a tree made out of film stock. We built the logo, the look, and talked about the marketing concept.
Q. How has the festival changed since your days of working on it?
A. It has changed in that it’s become bigger. More people have come to know the festival so we get larger audiences and there's more of an international reach. Patty and Tom are so well known in their fields and are out there curating film festivals in places like India in the name of FLEFF. They bring in artists and develop connections with people all around the world. The reach of FLEFF over the past 5 or 6 years is incredible. It has become known for certain things, like the music component or particularly, the silent films with music.
Q. What do you think FLEFF does for both the Ithaca College and Ithaca communities?
A. FLEFF brings in some incredible artists and films that people generally wouldn’t have the opportunity to see if they were not in a big city or at a large festival. It also brings people here to experience Ithaca that probably would not have come here otherwise, like FLEFF fellows. They wouldn’t have experienced our little corner of the world, and so many people leave just absolutely loving it. It’s great for the community and for the college. The people in India, Mexico or Germany that FLEFF touches, return with the Ithaca name and the Ithaca ideals.
Q. What are you looking most forward to at the festival this year?
A. Parties (laughs) and the silent films and music, but I met some incredible filmmakers and artists at the parties. It’s great to go to a film and then go to a party and talk to the filmmaker directly after.
Friday, March 25, 2011
Blog posting written by Peter Keahey, Film, Photography and Visual Arts, '12, FLEFF Intern, Yellow Springs, Ohio
I recently had the opportunity to have a conversation with former director of marketing for FLEFF, Tom Torello.
Mr. Torello is an Ithaca college, Roy H. Park school alum, who majored in television and radio, and minored in religion and philosophy. He is currently the vice president of University Relations at Pace University. Previously, he was the Executive Director of Marketing for Ithaca Collage. Mr. Torello has over 14 years of marketing experience in higher education, working in numerous positions including Media Planner, Account Executive and Senior Account Manager.
I was able to ask Mr. Torello a few questions about his previous experience with the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival, as well as his experience as a Television Radio student at Ithaca College.
Peter: As a former TVR student, what were your interests at Ithaca?
Tom: I worked in the TV and radio stations. On the radio, I was a DJ on an AM station and hosted my own talk show. On TV, I hosted Panorama and was in the comedy show Nothing Special. I worked the camera or reported the weather or whatever needed to be done. As a weatherman I got some recognition around town. There is an IC TV jacket in the student union that was mine.
Peter: Did you have any interest in marketing at the time?
Tom: No, my goal was to by on-air talent as an anchorman, but when I arrived there were already incredibly talented people and I didn’t have that talent. I had a little interest in ads and decided to go in that direction.
Peter: When did you become involved with FLEFF?
Tom: Patty and Tom brought it to Ithaca and wanted help marketing it; I was in the marketing department. That was 4-5 years ago. Together, we came up with a marketing plan.
Peter: What were your responsibilities with FLEFF?
Tom: We took care of all the brochures, ads, website content, media relations and public relations, basically the branding of the college. For FLEFF, we decided what it should look like, its graphic identity, and how to build an audience. Each year, we had different goals and we built communication strategies specifically for those goals.
Peter: Are you still involved with FLEFF?
Tom: Yes, but not as much. I am on the advisory board. I still keep in touch with Patty and Tom. I give strategic input and this will be my first year attending as a guest.
Peter: How is FLEFF important to Ithaca and to the film community?
Tom: For Ithaca College, FLEFF creates and international presence and reputation, in addition to those already made by their academic programs. In India, FLEFF helps curate a project on water. International films come in through FLEFF. 10,000 people will see FLEFF films.
FLEFF creates an awareness of the city of Ithaca, too. through the film festival.
For the film community, FLEFF is not like Sundance or other festivals with traditional environmental agendas. FLEFF creates a broader awareness of environmental problems and creates more opportunity for film makers.
For example, once I met a couple who made films on polar bears. They had one film that other film festivals turned down because in their film, they said that global warming won’t kill the polar bears--because the change will be so gradual over time---but oil drilling will. Traditional environmentalists don’t want that message in their festivals, but FLEFF doesn’t have that agenda.
Also, FLEFF is incredibly entertaining, a great venue for artists.
Peter: What are you looking forward to at FLEFF this year?
Tom: The silent films and the parties and seeing people from Ithaca: Patty and Tom and other people I’ve connected with through FLEFF. Also, the musicians are amazing!