Tom Trobaugh named president of Polk County Film Initiative board

Published 11:30 am Tuesday, April 11, 2023

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The Polk County Film Initiative (PCFI) is a nonprofit organization that works to bolster independent and major motion picture film production and access to media arts education in Western North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina. Its signature event, Tryon International Film Festival (TRIFF), is both an arts and economic infusion in the region each fall.

With his leadership experience, knowledge of sales and marketing, his passion for the community and willingness to be colorful to get the job done, Tom Trobaugh is now leading PCFI as its new board president.


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“I gratefully accepted the position of president of PCFI in hopes that my 40 years of experience in global sales, marketing and operations will be of assistance in growing PCFI and turning TRIFF into a world class festival. I love movies and I love Tryon. Joining PCFI allows me to be surrounded by like-minded individuals and to be able to enjoy first line movies including world premieres,” Trobaugh says.


“The TRIFF film festival has brought over 4,000 film buffs to downtown Tryon and introduced them to our wonderful town, our friendly outgoing culture, and Mayor Peoples. They don’t call us the friendliest town in the South for nothing,Beau Menetre, PCFI’s co-founder added.


Along with kicking off the work of the new board and guiding the development of the talented Advisory Council of education, film industry, tourism and art partners, Tom has taken to the streets, literally, in his new role.


Tom created PCFI’s first parade float by adorning his car with TRIFF23 artwork by local artist Laurie Sullivan, and driving it in Tryon’s recent St. Patrick’s Day Parade. And just two weeks later he guided the initiative’s successful inaugural disco party event at Upstairs Artspace gallery on March 31.


PCFI was founded in 2013, offering a one-year film-making course, titled the Next Generation Film Project, for youth ages 9-16. Over the past eight years, PCFI has focused on offering its signature event, the Tryon International Film Festival (TRIFF), reaching more than 4,300 people to date. In 2022 alone, 58 countries were represented by the 388 films selected and screened in Tryon, including two world premieres. The weekend event generates over $75,000 for the regional economy.

This year TRIFF will partner with Polk County Schools to engage youth in a Career Day, expand its Education Institute, and add a Vendor Expo to support current and new generations of filmmakers in the region.

The Tryon International Film Festival is offered annually in Tryon. In 2023, the festival will be held from October 6 – 8. Contact Debra Torrence for information about sponsorships, volunteering and more. Visit for festival details.


Submitted by Debra Torrence