Today we’d like to introduce you to Dr. Tyrha M. Lindsey-Warren.
Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, Dr. Tyrha M. Lindsey-Warren is a Business Entrepreneur, Marketing Executive and Professor, Philanthropist, Artist, and Founder of the Waco Family & Faith International Film Festival. Dr. Lindsey-Warren received her Bachelor of Science in Radio/TV/Film and a Certificate in Musical Theater from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois and her Masters of Business Administration (MBA) degree with a concentration in Marketing from the Peter F. Drucker School of Management at Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, California.
In 2017, she graduated with her PhD in Marketing from Rutgers Business School in New Brunswick, New Jersey and joined the faculty at Baylor University in Waco, Texas as a Clinical Assistant Professor of Marketing where she teaches Advertising and Digital Marketing.
Dr. Lindsey-Warren has over fifteen years of experience working in Marketing and Public Relations in the corporate, health, arts, entertainment and non-profit arenas. She has worked with Quincy Jones*David Salzman Entertainment, NBC, Creative Artists Agency and Edmonds Entertainment, both in the development of television and film ideas and properties. She has assisted in overseeing the production of such programs as MAD TV (FOX), In the House (UPN), Lost on Earth (USA) and VIBE (syndication). Dr. Lindsey-Warren was also the Director of Marketing for the United States Tennis Association and the Associate Director of Public Relations for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Before starting her Ph.D., she was the Director of Public Relations at UniWorld Group, the longest-standing multicultural advertising and communications agency in the U.S.
As an Entrepreneur, Dr. Lindsey-Warren leads her family’s award-winning Marketing/PR consulting company, L.A.I. Communications, which specializes in creating strategic marketing/PR solutions, with a focus on cross-cultural marketing for media companies, corporations, arts organizations, health non-profits and small businesses. Such past and current clients include- ADP, Inc., Nassau University Medical Center, The Kroger Company, National Action Network (Reverend Al Sharpton), Trey McIntyre Project (dance company), American Diabetes Association, Splenda, The Terrie Williams Agency, The John Anson Ford Theater, Lulu Washington Dance Company, Health Alliance, Columbia Pictures, Haitian Americans United for Progress, Highmark Blue Cross*Blue Shield, Hebni Nutrition Consultants, three Colored Girls Productions, Nepperhan Community Center, Holistic Healthcare of Westchester Americans for the Arts, T.D. Jakes’ International Faith & Family Film Festival and the Over-the-Rhine International Film Festival.
Dr. Lindsey-Warren speaks nationally on the topics of cross-cultural marketing, social media, public relations and fundraising. She has done so for Americans for the Arts, Broward County for the Arts and the Junior League, to name a few. Dr. Lindsey-Warren also lectures on Advertising and Promotions, Digital Marketing, Consumer Behavior and Effective Communications. Her research streams are rooted in “health edutainment” for children, emotional contagion/word-of-mouth for millennials, media/advertising, film, and embodied cognition.
Dr. Lindsey-Warren is a published Consumer Behavior Scholar with academic articles that have appeared in the Journal of Advertising Research, the Journal of Cultural and Marketing Strategy, the Journal of Academic Marketing Education, and in the book, “Entertainment Values,” published by Palgrave UK.
Her volunteer board affiliations include currently serving as the Vice-Chair of the Waco Convention and Visitors Bureau Commission for the City of Waco, President of the Marketing Ethnic Faculty Association, Board Member for the Waco Symphony Association, former Board of Director/Treasurer for the leading HIV/AIDS agency for women of color called Iris House (Harlem, New York); and Jazz Forum Arts (Westchester New York). Dr. Lindsey-Warren is a former Board of Directors for the United Way Foundation of Greater Cincinnati, the Tony Award-Winning Crossroads Theatre as well as for the Cincinnati Arts Consortium. She has also worked with the YWCA, New York Chapter of the Coalition of 100 Black Women, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and The LINKS, Inc. on a local and national level.
Honors and awards include the 2018 Certificate of Exceptional Research from the Hankamer School of Business, 2018 Best Paper Award from the Journal of Cultural Marketing Strategy, 2014 American Marketing Association’s Valuing Diversity Scholarship, 2012 Network Journal Magazine’s 40 Under Forty Award, 2009 Leadership Westchester (NY) Fellow from the Volunteer Center of The United Way, 2008 “People To Watch” Award from the YWCA of White Plains/Central Westchester (New York), 2009/2008/2007 Big W Gold Awards for Best Marketing and PR Campaigns from the Advertising Club of Westchester (New York), 2005 Feature in Black Enterprise Magazine, 2004 Cincinnati Herald Nefertiti Award, 2003 Who’s Who in Black Cincinnati, 2002 YWCA Rising Star, National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Summer Fellow, National Coca Cola Scholar, among many others. Dr. Lindsey-Warren is married to Sidney Warren, a successful entrepreneur, and is new to the Waco area.
Given her experience in producing international film festivals across the country since 2013, last year, Dr. Lindsey-Warren wondered if it would be possible to bring an international film festival to Central Texas. This is due to her observations that many Wacoans do not really interact with each other, especially in social and entertainment settings. (Everyone is truly “siloed.”) Therefore, last February 2019, Dr. Lindsey-Warren started creating the Waco Family & Faith International Film Festival with no sponsors or support, just her personal savings.
During the Summer, she began soliciting for sponsorship and support and kept getting doors shut in her face. But, she continued producing the festival and putting down deposits for venues. By November 2019, her first major sponsor, TFNB Bank: Your Bank for Life, confirmed their support. Now, she had the support to bring her full vision to fruition!
This past February 6-8, 2020, Dr. Lindsey-Warren produced the inaugural Waco Family & Faith International Film Festival to sold-out audiences, who were truly diverse, in the Central Texas town. With its mission of being “dedicated to EMPOWERING the creative spirit, SERVING with heart, and CELEBRATING all,” the first-ever festival illuminated every aspect of its mission with an all-encompassing event that featured an international competition of over 60 films that were screened at 11 participating venues, Hollywood studio movie releases presented at the Waco Hippodrome Theatre, Hollywood celebrities, professional education workshops, and community gatherings throughout the town of Waco.
“I was truly over the moon with the tremendous support we received from the Waco community and the filmmakers for our inaugural film festival,” stated Dr. Tyrha M. Lindsey-Warren, Founder of the Waco Family & Faith International Film Festival. “Our film festival was an outstanding first step in our attempt to leverage the power of storytelling to open hearts and minds, while bringing the Waco community together, and ultimately, doing our part to positively impact the film industry by presenting more diverse voices.”
Overall, Dr. Lindsey-Warren and her vision for the Waco Family & Faith International Film Festival is a true testimony of faith and the power of God’s grace.
Has it been a smooth road?
Given her experience in producing international film festivals across the country since 2013, bringing the Waco Family & Faith International Film Festival to life was not a “smooth road.” Last year, Dr. Lindsey-Warren wondered if it would be possible to bring an international film festival to Central Texas. She did her market research as well as interviewed key persons and decided that it was worth a try. During the Summer of 2019, she began soliciting for sponsorship and support and kept getting doors shut in her face. Many said in sponsor meetings that it “sounds like a good idea, but I am not Black.” Or, “I have someone who can help you, but he/she is not Black.” (And, in reality, the film festival embraces diversity and inclusion at all levels.) But, Dr. Lindsey-Warren continued producing the festival and putting down deposits for venues with her own money. By November 2019, her first major sponsor, TFNB Bank: Your Bank for Life, confirmed their support. Now, she had the support to bring her full vision to fruition!
Overall, this was DEFINITELY not a “smooth road” in bringing the 2020 Waco Family & Faith International Film Festival to fruition. It was extremely difficult being new to Waco and having very little support as a proven entity in Waco, despite Dr. Lindsey-Warren’s tremendous experiences working and producing successful events and film festivals in major U.S. markets. Nevertheless, Wacoans did not care about that. She had to overcome racial and cultural barriers as well as other apprehensions and skepticisms in an effort to introduce a brand new event to a community that really does not know much about film festivals.
Please tell us about Waco Family & Faith International Film Festival.
The 2020 Waco Family & Faith International Film Festival is “dedicated to EMPOWERING the creative spirit, SERVING with heart, and CELEBRATING all!” Presented by the GB Lindsey Family Charitable Fund, the Waco Family & Faith International Film Festival is a 501 (c) (3) charitable organization that honors the memory of Gloria J. Lindsey. Mrs. Lindsey was an elementary school educator for over 40 years. In her honor, the Waco Family & Faith International Film Festival passionately supports educational and artistic programs for children and young adults.
The Waco Family & Faith International Film Festival works to be able to make a global impact and change the face of storytelling and the storytellers in the film and entertainment industry. It is also the work of this festival to bring people together from all walks of life and serve them with narratives, community performances, educational workshops, and more, that open hearts and minds as well as feeds the soul.
“Storytelling and imagery through movies truly matter in our society, especially when it comes to positively changing the perspectives (and behaviors) of how we all view each other as fellow human beings on this planet,“ stated Dr. Tyrha M. Lindsey-Warren, Founder and Lead Producer of the Waco Family & Faith International Film Festival. “The inaugural film festival will be a fun event for everyone of all ages. It is also our team’s attempt to leverage the power of storytelling to open hearts and minds, while bringing the Waco community together and ultimately, doing our part to positively impact the film industry by presenting more diverse voices.”
The two-day film festival featured an international competition of over 60 films that were screened at 11 participating venues, Hollywood studio movie releases presented at the Waco Hippodrome Theatre, professional education workshops, and community gatherings throughout the town of Waco, all in the support of honoring the universal themes of family and faith.
According to Variety.com, there are 200 million consumers within the family and faith-based community in the U.S. This consumer market is valued at $2.1 trillion. Moreover, since the beginning of this genre, faith-based movies have amassed over $2 billion dollars. At the close of the submissions phase in September, the Waco Family & Faith International Film Festival received 1,688 film entries from 109 countries and across five continents. Russia, Italy, Denmark, India, New Zealand, Senegal, Korea, Thailand, Puerto Rico, United Arab Emirates, and the Congo are a sampling of the countries who have participating filmmakers. The 2020 Waco Family & Faith International Film Festival will showcase the voices of 70 cinematic storytellers from around the globe, with a large majority of them being women.
“The initial response to this film festival was been overwhelming,” stated Lindsey-Warren. “We have truly been impressed with the high-quality films that have been submitted, both short and feature-length, under the themes of family, faith, freedom, military, veterans and DIY as well as look forward to hosting our filmmakers in Waco.”
The 2020 Waco Family & Faith International Film Festival also launched its inaugural class of “Champions Award” recipients. This honor is dedicated to recognizing individuals and organizations who are exemplars of innovation as well as disruption in the film and entertainment industry. The 2020 “Champions Awards” recipients were- Kevin and Sam Sorbo. Known for his role as “Hercules” in the acclaimed television show, Hercules, the Legendary Journeys, Kevin Sorbo has since starred in numerous films and TV shows including- Two and a Half Men, Psych, Hawaii 5-0, Kull, the Conqueror, Avenging Angel, and Meet the Spartan, to name a few. His well-known faith-based movie, God’s Not Dead, earned over $75 million at the U.S. Box Office. Mr. Sorbo is also a highly sought after film director. Sam Sorbo, Kevin’s wife, is an award-winning actress, having appeared in such films and TV shows as Bonfire of the Vanities, Twenty Bucks, and Chicago Hope. She is also an accomplished film producer, radio host, author, and international model. Mrs. Sorbo has co-written, produced and co-starred in the feature film, Let There Be Light. She has currently produced the feature film, Miracle in East Texas, which is directed by Mr. Sorbo, and due out in 2020. Miracle in East Texas was also appear as the Opening Night feature film at the 2020 Waco Family & Faith International Film Festival.
Additional “Champion Awards” recipients included the former Food Network Star, Gina Neely, and David Littlewood, who is the President and CEO of TFNB Bank: Your Bank for Life. With the former, Ms. Neely is an award-winning TV Host and a New York Times best-selling author. She burst onto the scene in 2008 by starring in the hit show “Down Home with the Neelys”, which became the highest-rated series debut in the history of Food Network’s “In the Kitchen” block. The show immediately connected with viewers nation-wide by showcasing Ms. Neely’s love for family, food and the enjoyment of life.
Regarding Mr. Littlewood of TFNB Bank, he is known as the “driving force” of the financial institution and brings years of banking experience as well as numerous connections to the organization. In the areas of entertainment and the arts, Mr. Littlewood has led the investment of many innovative local projects including the Waco Hippodrome Theatre and the HGTV hit show, “Fixer Upper.”
The 2020 Waco Family & Faith International Film Festival was also supported by a Host Committee that was representative of the Waco community. The 2020 Host Committee members were-
Rosemarie Tatum, Chair of the Host Committee, Waco Family & Faith International Film Festival
Dr. Allison Alford, Hankamer School of Business, Baylor University
Andrea Barefield, Councilmember, City of Waco
Keshia Bridges Miller, Owner, Prosperity Tax Services
Prof. Robert Darden, Pruit Memorial Symposium, Baylor University
Alex Eichenberg, Executive Vice President, Extraco Bank
Matthew Faraci, President, Inspire Buzz
Regina Green, Special Events Consultant
Rev. Dr. Jimmy Hunter, Senior Pastor, Toliver Chapel Missionary Baptist Church
John Kinnard, Councilmember, City of Waco
Jason Lavendar, Senior Vice President, TFNB
Suzanna May, Owner, Z’s at the Curry
Prof. Connie Nichols, Baylor Law School & President, Delta Alpha Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority
Emily Snyder, Chief of Staff, Magnolia
Alfred Solano, President, Cen-Tex Hispanic Chamber
Jim Patton, Retired Administrator, Waco ISD
The sponsors for the 2020 Waco Family & Faith International Film Festival included the festival’s Founding Partner, TFNB Bank: Your Bank for Life. The Gold Star Sponsors were Creative Waco and Z’s at the Curry. The Awards Sponsor is the Magnolia Foundation. The festival’s Community Sponsors are Pruit Memorial Symposium at Baylor University, Hat Creek Burger Company, Cameron Park Zoological & Botanical Society, Delta Alpha Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and Tru Jamaica. The Media Partners are KWTX-TV, Ch. 10 and M&M Broadcasters, LTD.
Ultimately, what sets this film festival apart from others is our community-centric focus of being dedicated to “serving (our community) with heart.” The Waco Family & Faith International Film Festival will continue to give back to the Waco community (and beyond) with grants that support the creative passions of children and young adults as well as produce year-long programming that empowers the community by leveraging the power of storytelling to open hearts and minds. The 2021 Waco Family & Faith International Film Festival will take place February 4-6.
How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
“Given the significant lack of diversity, equity, and inclusion in Hollywood, media and entertainment, I believe film festivals have to have the courage to do what Hollywood refuses to do and truly be representative of the global audience that films have. Therefore, film festivals can be the modern-day “Freedom Fighters” and serve as distribution channels for diverse voices and storytelling. They can also serve as new funding centers for up-n-coming filmmakers. Ultimately, film festivals can also empower and “edutain” their local communities on the entertainment industry as well as leverage the power of storytelling to open hearts and minds so perhaps we can treat each other a little better and love on each other a little better.” – Dr. Tyrha M. Lindsey-Warren.
- Website: https://www.wacofamilyandfaithfilmfestival.com/
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wacofamilyandfaithfilmfestival/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wacofilmfest/?modal=admin_todo_tour
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/WacoFilmFe
Photos courtesy of L.A.I. Communications.
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