Trish Riley: Spirit of Gainesville nominee

Trish Riley

Published: Monday, September 9, 2013 at 11:28 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, September 9, 2013 at 11:28 a.m.

Trish Riley is the director of Cinema Verde, an annual Environmental Film and Arts Festival, which just completed its 4th year. The festival receives film submissions from around the world and thus gives Gainesville international exposure in the film arena. Further, many directors and producers of the films screened at Cinema Verde come to the screenings, make local connections, and can discuss in detail those issues that are most pertinent to people in Gainesville and the surrounding areas. In addition to the films, the festival provides a forum where the community learns about sustainable businesses, local artists and nonprofit environmental organizations.


Category: Community Service

About Trish Riley

Occupation: Environmental journalist and author; Director of Cinema Verde

Years in Gainesville: 6

Children: Bud Berning, a musician known as Skyrider who plays around the world and lives in Denver, and Rachel Rector, just named one of Portland, Oregon’s top 3 emerging fashion designers

Trish started the festival because she believed it would be an excellent way to educate the community about critical issues that are and will be affecting their quality of life and it would be an excellent way to enhance the culture of North Central Florida. The festival's focus is not just protecting the environment but also promoting sustainable practices, thus the benefits accrue to individuals as well as all the sectors of the community at large, from nonprofits to businesses. The festival has the potential to make a tremendous economic impact on our region, as do other well-established film festivals around the world.

Starting with her own personal funds and the assistance of the Hippodrome just for the first year, Trish dedicates a significant amount of her time to the festival -- there is no time clock. She recruits interns and 2 or 3 professional part time staff that she pays with grant money as it becomes available. As a point of comparison, The Wild and Scenic Film Festival in California has a large paid staff and hundreds of volunteers.

As an annual event, Cinema Verde has grown each year and will continue to grow drawing from grants, sponsors, volunteers, and Trish's continued personal efforts. Trish has a strong vision for building Cinema Verde Environmental Film and Arts Festival to meet her goal of helping to educate the public about environmental issues in order to build a sustainable future that will lead to happier and healthier lives for all.

Trish Riley is well qualified as Director of the Festival as she has been an environmental journalist for 20 years. Her work has been published in major newspapers, national and international magazines and custom publications. She is the author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Greening Your Business (with Heather Gadonniex, Alpha Books/Penguin 2009), The Complete Idiot's Guide to Green Living (Alpha Books 2007), and Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Miami & the Florida Keys: A Complete Guide. She is a past board member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors, a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists and an honorary member of Golden Key International Honour Society. She is also the publisher of, an environmental news resource to help build sustainable communities. As the owner of a small sustainable business, Trish is also a business member of Green America, a non-profit organization that supports sustainable businesses.

Nominated by Lynn Dirk

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