Maria Repole supervises all brand marketing and product campaigns supported by print and online advertising, Public Relations, sponsorships, literature, events and trade shows, company web sites and e-commerce initiatives, market research, environmental efforts and corporate social responsibility programs.
In addition to managing Toshiba’s communications team, Repole also collaborates with Tokyo headquarters to maintain a consistent worldwide message and brand image. Her involvement in communications in the consumer electronics industry extends beyond Toshiba; she serves as chair on the Consumer Electronics Association’s communications committee, participates on the Communications Committee with the Hollywood Digital Entertainment Group and is a member of the National Association of Professional Women and Public Relations Society of America.
Bijan Tehrani: How did the idea of this competition come about? What was the motivation of Toshiba do produce this competition?
Maria Repole: Well, there is a little bit of history there. We launched our LCD Regza brand back in 2007. With the competitive environment, we were looking for creative ways to really increase the REGZA brand awareness, as well as the Toshiba brand. We have numerous relationships with consumer groups, but the picture quality of our sets is just as important.
In addition to achieve the best picture quality, very good content is needed. As a company, we make a lot of strides with our studio partners. We have strong relationships with the studio and film community and we are always looking to build upon those relationships.
When we were thinking about a project, and how we can really target the film community, the New York Film Academy was one of the suggestions. Since we are based in New Jersey, and they are in New York, we thought it would be a great way to reach the film community and strengthen our relationship there. It would allow them a creative approach, which follows the Toshiba philosophy of creativity and innovation, to help us create this video that would promote the REGZA brand.
BT: How many entries did you have, and how was the judging process handled?
MR: We had a panel of judges. There were about 30 entries between the alumni and students of the New York Film Academy who participated in the film competition. The winner was determined by a panel of judges based on creativity of the video, use of humor, originality and relevance to the contest theme – “The One to Watch.”
BT: When you talk about building a relationship with the film community, are you targeting mainly the U.S market, or is Toshiba also thinking about the international market?
MR: That’s an interesting question. Currently, with Toshiba being based in New Jersey, we just handle domestic. But I do work with my colleagues worldwide on advertising campaigns. Currently there are no plans, but we could explore that option. Obviously there are some strong industry related organizations in Europe and Asia that we could partner with.
BT: Were you able to see the winning film? Were you one of the judges?
MR: I was not among the judges, but the winning film is currently up on our website. I think it was very creative, and a very creative approach, and we were happy with the outcome.
BT: Do you think that this project, and getting Toshiba closer to the film community, helps the young filmmakers who enter this competition? What was the award?
MR: I believe that it did. It really gave them an opportunity to be creative. We did offer quite a substantial amount of financial support so that they could continue their education. Often when you are in a scholastic academic program, you don’t have the opportunity to partner with a world-class organization like Toshiba. We found this opportunity similar to the great reality TV shows that allow students to really work with companies that are implementing and executing programs. I think that was something that was very attractive to the students, because here they could create something that could actually be used in a real life situation.
BT: Do you have any future plans for any similar competitions?
MR: We are currently studying such plans. We don’t have anything in the works right now, but it is part of our strategic plan for next year.
BT: Is there any place on the Internet where audiences could see the films submitted for the competition?
MR: The winning film is on the Toshiba website, and can be viewed at http://tacp.toshiba.com/regza/commercial.html.
Eddie Mariano (born as Eddie N. Martinez) was born on December 1, 1984 in Miami, Florida to Nelson and Carmelina Martinez. Both parents shared their love for movies with their son and Eddie’s love towards film quickly grew.
After graduating high school, Eddie went on to attend the Manuel Antonio Studio for acting. Shortly thereafter, he attended Miami-Dade College for Film & TV Production, but soon began to work on studio feature film productions that would come into town.
Eddie then moved to Los Angeles, California to attend the New York Film Academy located inside Universal Studio Pictures in Los Angeles, California. He graduated in 2006, with several directing, producing, and writing credits to his name.
Eddie founded Midnyte Projekt Entertainment (an independent film production company) and has won several awards in film festivals as well as in the entertainment industry. Eddie continues his love for film by directing and producing a variety of films, commercials, music videos, and documentaries.
Bijan Tehrani: How and when did you learn about this competition, and what encouraged you to take part in it?
Eddie Mariano: I first heard about it through my school. They always email all of the students and alumni with different information such as feedback on what the students are up to. They sent out an email announcing the One to Watch Competition, asking us to make a short film for Toshiba. I found it pretty interesting and I wanted to do something creative, so I figured I’d give it a shot.
BT: How did you come up with the concept of your piece for the One to Watch?
EM: I came up with a lot of ideas actually. I think with the time and budget I was limited with some of my ideas. I started to realize how a lot of people, especially couples and friends, are always fighting over the remote and about what to watch. It hit me to do a film about a couple seeking therapy because they always want to watch this REGZA TV, because it is such an amazing TV. I was inspired by my own experiences with friends always wanting to take control over what we watch on TV.
BT: How did you get the actors? Are they professional actors or are they amateurs?
EM: They are professionals. I am related to the girl in the video. She is my cousin, and that is her fiancé. The therapist is a good friend of mine.
BT: How long did it take for you to shoot and produce this piece?
EM: Well, the funny thing was that I heard about when the school sent me an email, but I was very busy doing other projects. I went to see when the deadline was on a Tuesday, and I realized that it was on that upcoming Monday. So I pretty much shot the film on Saturday and edited it all night, and then on Sunday I finalized all the details, and turned it in. It was very last minute.
BT: Did you expect to win the award?
EM: Honestly, I was hoping I was going to win, but I wasn’t so sure. A lot of my friends who went to the same school as I did were also entering films and they had more time to work on them, so I don’t think I was really expecting to win.
BT: Do you think now that you have won this award, it will help your future work?
EM: Oh yeah, I really think so. Right now, a lot of the people I have worked with including producers are actually taking me more seriously. They are starting to see that my work is being recognized. So, yes, I do believe it is really helping me out.
BT: What are your plans for future work?
EM: I would like to direct even more. Right now I am working on a couple of scripts and am actually developing a TV show with a couple of my friends. I have really been focusing on developing that and on my writing. I am hoping to actually direct these projects that I am working on.