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By Georgetta L. Morque

Director, writer, comedian, and actor Matt Porter, who grew up in Rye, returned to the area last week for the screening of his first feature film, “5 DOCTORS”, at the Greenwich International Film Festival. Afterwards, he and his collaborators spoke to an enthusiastic audience about the project.

The comedy is about struggling Los Angeles comedian and hypochondriac Spencer, played by co-writer/co-director Max Azulay, who travels cross-country to his hometown to see all five of his childhood doctors in one day. Porter, co-writer/co-director, plays the role of Jay, a townie who chauffeurs Spencer around. The film, which has a deeper emotional component, reveals the complications of returning home.

Porter’s mother, Gail Topol, an Osborn School teacher, and the mothers of the other filmmakers each play a small part in the movie. Filmed in Hastings-on-Hudson in 2015, “5 DOCTORS” premiered at the Austin Film Festival last fall. Joining Porter and Azulay in the endeavor are Phil Primason, co-writer/executive producer, Joe Greco, producer, Aaron Kogan, executive producer, and Josh Rabinowitz, co-producer, also from Rye. Porter said making the film was like starting a small business really fast. “Every step of the way was a profound learning experience.” Now, the goal is for the film to be released digitally.

Porter was introducted to video production at Rye Middle School where he and his friends, Danny McCabe, Danny Jones, and Rabinowitz, produced “The Danny McCabe Show,” their version of “Saturday Night Live”, at the RyeTV studio. “It was a lot of fun,” recalled Porter. “It was the first time I was given the opportunity to film, edit, and write.” A movie and TV buff, he was immediately hooked.

Porter went on to Fieldston and NYU Tisch School of the Arts where he honed his craft alongside many other talented students. After graduating from NYU in 2010, he taught film at Fieldston. While he loved teaching, and is the son of two teachers — his dad, Lewis Porter, teaches jazz studies at Rutgers University — he decided to take a risk and work independently.

“With the pressure of the real world at your doorstep, you stop making things,” said Porter. So, he returned to filmmaking.

Porter, who lives in New York City, has been writing, directing, and starring in many narrative short films which have cultivated a following online and have since been screened at film festivals across the country. He juggles many projects, including with writer/cartoonist Charlie Hankin the online comedy sketch series, “GOOD COP GREAT COP”, which was selected by the New York Television Festival. The pair has also performed live at various comedy festivals. Porter is the co-star, co-director, and co-writer of the Comedy Central web series “NEW TIMERS”. He’s found that one project leads to another.

“It’s a crazy industry,” said Porter, “but I’m lucky to work with good people and have the ability to take risks and the freedom to fail.”

Photo by Sasha Arutyunova

By Georgetta L. Morque

A familiar face reporting the news on Channel 12 is none other than Richard Giacovas, Rye High School class of 2009 and Iona College class of 2013. In less than three years, he has worked his way up to producer and on-air reporter. His days are fast-paced and action-packed and as Giacovas says, “The news never stops.”

 

His job is also a dream-come-true. “For as long as I can remember, I always wanted to be on TV,” said Giacovas, who recalls watching the 5 o’clock news regularly growing up. It wasn’t until junior year at Rye High that he was able to channel his passion in a video journalism class. After learning the fundamentals of newscasting, Giacovas began delivering the school’s announcements as a morning news anchor.

 

“Richard emerged almost immediately as someone who had been a news anchor in a previous life. He was THAT good,” said Vince Baione, who created and taught the Video Journalism class. “He wasn’t a “student doing the news,” he was an anchor doing his “job”. It comes as no surprise to anyone who saw him that he would end up in broadcasting. He was born with a mike in his hand.” Michael Limone, who also taught the class, agrees. “Richard was amazing to watch each morning. When he was our morning anchor, he set the bar high for the kids who followed him. Everyone wanted to be the next ‘Richard Giacovas’. We are so proud of his success.”

 

As a mass communications major at Iona, Giacovas worked at his craft and was instrumental in building up the college’s TV station. He also interned with WNBC, gaining hands-on experience in writing and editing, as well as the opportunity to sit in on meetings with producers. Aspiring television news journalists typically relocate after college to prove themselves, explained Giacovas, who instead decided to try his luck in New York. Landing at News 12, he paid his dues as a part-time freelance associate producer working the 2:30 to 11:30 a.m. shift, which left little time for sleep. Yet, News 12 was open to Giacovas’s interest in on-air reporting and he got his chance with his first interview with Dr. Susan Blum of the Blum Institute in Rye Brook, which was a success.  

 

Currently he works both behind the scenes producing two back-to-back evening news shows and does his own reporting. Of the challenges and pressures from deadlines and breaking news, Giacovas says he’s versatile and driving him is his passion for the work. He feels blessed by the great people at News 12 who have been mentors. 

 

He’s interviewed celebrities, including Carol Burnett and John Stamos, covered breaking news, including the Memorial Day vintage plane crash in the Hudson River, and has been co-host of New Year’s Eve in White Plains. One story closer to home and to the heart was the last day of the Rye Smoke Shop. Despite his busy schedule, he lends his time and his voice as a lector at Church of the Resurrection, which he has been doing since high school. 

 

Giacovas, the recipient of the 2015 Business Council of Westchester’s Rising Stars 40 Under 40 award, is on his way. 

 

 

By Georgetta L. Morque

Rye skiers visiting Vail might very well come across Kevin Tice, a former resident of nearly 20 years, popular CYO and AAU basketball coach, and Rye YMCA board president. In fact, this winter, several Rye families reunited on the slopes with Kevin and his wife, Jo, their sons, Don and Pete, and daughter, Holly, who now call Vail home.

For the Tices, the move has been a fun transition prompted by an irresistible business opportunity for Kevin, who for the past year-and-a-half has served as president of Apex, an innovative ski boot company. Tice, an avid skier, didn’t mind trading his 25-year career on Wall Street for an entrepreneurial venture under the blue skies of the Colorado mountains.

Three years ago, Tice was introduced to Apex by a former client and became intrigued with the product, which solves the problem for skiers plagued by cold and painful feet. “The traditional alpine ski boot has been the same for the last 40 years,” said Tice who describes typical boots as uncomfortable, cold, hard-to-walk in and often causing blisters and pain. Apex, which was founded ten years ago, offers a different approach with a unique two-piece system that includes an actual walking boot that slips on easily and keeps the feet warm and a second outer shell to use for skiing. Apex boots provide custom-fit liners and an array of technological advancements well suited to the modern ski. It wasn’t long before Tice became an investor in the company.

Currently, 150 retailers nationwide sell Apex boots, which have received rave reviews from customers and the ski industry. REI is one of the largest outlets. Tice finds it challenging to build a brand, although each year 40 or so more retailers come on board. “Brick by brick, it doesn’t happen overnight.” He finds it very rewarding to see someone putting on the boots and smiling ear-to-ear. “People really love the product.”

For the past ten years, the Tices maintained a second home in Vail, which they frequented regularly. Tice is a big fan of Colorado, where he grew up and still has family and friends. He says it’s fantastic in the winter for skiing but even better in the summer with the spectacular settings, cool mountain breezes, 72-degree temperatures, and a wide range of activities from mountain biking to fishing to golf. “You can spend all day outside.”

Kevin and Jo are almost empty nesters. Don just graduated from Syracuse University and plans on applying to medical school; Holly is a junior at Johns Hopkins University; and Pete is college-bound this year. All three attended Rye schools. Jo, a Westchester native and longtime dedicated volunteer with Rye schools and Resurrection’s religious education program, has made new friends in Colorado and is actively involved in Pete’s new high school. Kevin is back to coaching AAU basketball, this time with the Vail Valley Girls’ team.

The Tices haven’t lost their Rye connection. They will be back in town on May 31 when Kevin will receive the Rye YMCA’s Gold Spirit Award.

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Apex president Kevin Tice

On the slopes in Vail