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FLEFF Intern Voices

The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival from the interns' point of view

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Posted by Hannah Raskin at 4:26PM   |  Add a comment
Tom Torello

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.

QHow 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.




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