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INTERVIEW: Roberto Rizzo On The Inaugural East Hampton TV Festival

T.J. Clemente

"I love East Hampton very much! I love the arts and films; they are my passion," Mr. Rizzo told Hamptons.com. (Photos: Courtesy of the East Hampton TV Festival)

The First Annual East Hampton TV Festival (EHTVF) will take place at Guild Hall in East Hampton on Monday, July 22 and Tuesday, July 23. A festival dedicated to bringing the best TV shows, series, animated films, and documentaries, along with cooking TV programs and feature films, and reality TV shows, giving opportunities to show the best of established directors as well up-coming new talented filmmakers. In a wide-ranging interview with East Hampton TV Festival founder, Roberto Rizzo, the key words were enthusiasm and excitement.

Right off Mr. Rizzo said, "I love East Hampton very much! I love the arts and films; they are my passion."

Mr. Rizzo went on to tell me the story of emigrating to NYC from Italy as an artist and wine salesmen in 1984. In 1985 he visited the Hamptons to sell Italian wine to a marina on Shelter Island and to show his art. He oil paints both landscapes and abstract paintings and they have been shown in both East Hampton galleries and Southampton galleries for decades.

He married artist Caroline Johnson in the early 1990s and together they bought their home in Springs in 2005, where they still live and paint.

His vision for the first East Hampton TV and Arts Festival was born out of what Mr. Rizzo said was "a need, to focus on the TV medium." Moving forward, Mr. Rizzo said, "What I want to do next is to organize workshops about TV, filming for TV series, TV shows, production, writing for TV."

Mr. Rizzo is hoping sponsorships will follow once he establishes a successful pattern with this first festival. Then he hopes to expand the focus.

He relayed, "I am very into women's creativity and perception of the art. In fact, the first day there is a discussion on women, TV and film and also on minorities opportunities in television with a panel of speakers."

Looking ahead, Mr. Rizzo hopes to grow the festival with year round activities. He shared, "For the workshops, I will bring Directors, Producers Writers, and known actors. I am planning to do in this January or February." No firm dates are yet set. Then he added, "Another thing I want to do is to go to the schools in September or October and give assignments to students to create, write and produce a 2 to 5 minute TV show."

He also mentioned how excited he is about a new procedure to rate favorite TV shows on a website to in effect create an East Hampton TV Award Winners list this very summer. There will be Awards for the best shows screened over the two days of the festival.

It will be worthwhile to get over to Guild Hall and be a part of the first East Hampton TV Festival.

Guild Hall is located at 158 Main Street in East Hampton. For more information, visit ehtvf.com.

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