Long Island City man captures cultures on film

Photos courtesy of Roberto Mitrotti


“Human Beings need four things: food, shelter, sex and change. Travel provides the change.”

Roberto Mitrotti makes this observation as he prepares his cameras for his next filming excursion, this time to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, one of the many exciting locations he loves and has filmed often.

He has filmed in over 60 countries, sometimes for governments, sometimes for tourism offices and sometimes for his own company, RPM Media.

Mitrotti, who lives in LIC, admits that sometimes he has seen shocking things in some of the developing nations. Still, he sees the world as a mesmerizing place for nature and culture.

“I have filmed the gathering and mating of 50 million butterflies in the Sierra Madre, hippos frolicking in the early morning sun in Africa and the incredible universe that exists under the ocean, and there is always more to witness,” he said.

Mitrotti was born in Torino, Italy. Painting was his passion then. After winning a Fulbright Scholarship and graduating from Dartmouth, he was offered a job as creative director in a major advertising agency in Athens, Greece. It suited his artistic spirit and allowed him to add a fifth language to the four tongues he already spoke fluently. Painting became a bigger part of his life and he put on exhibitions in Europe, Los Angeles and New York.

As art and fashion go together, Mitrotti opened an upscale fashion business called Madonna, with branches on Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles and in New York, among other cities. He was also the fashion advisor to Michael Mann, creator of the series “Miami Vice” with Don Johnson.

Mitrotti said he “became completely seduced by travel” during this time.

He began discovering new places and cultures and brought the eye of a painter to the video screen to become a filmmaker concentrating on stories about history and people.

At the same time, he became a qualified diver and began filming under the ocean. That eventually became his overriding passion. The clothing stores were sold, and he concentrated on his new career as a travel filmmaker.

“I love filming underwater, a world of total silence and an unbelievable diversity of life,” Mitrotti said. “I have swum with sharks in Polynesia, had all light blocked out by three huge mantra rays swimming towards me, and then over me. I have been chased by a five-foot grouper with very big teeth, which was attracted by the reflection of something I was wearing around my neck. That was disconcerting.”

Mitrotti has made a television series for CBS, “The Compulsive Traveler,” which is the brand name he uses for all his travel filming. His other productions for video distribution include “The Knights of Malta,” “Rock Revolution” and “Where He Walked,” about the travels of Jesus in the holy land. He is currently wrapping up the editing for a series of films about the wine growing regions of Italy commissioned by Italian wine producers.

“It is a labor of love for me,” Mitrotti said.

When asked for travel recommendations, he quickly chose locations that offer “a real travel experience.” These include Morocco (“Marrakesh is magnificent”), Peru (“The food is wonderful and the indigenous people still maintain fantastic traditions”), Kenya (“ A beautiful country and a breathtaking wildlife experience”) and India (“life changing”).

Mitrotti is working on a new feature film called “Fashionista.” He has already made a ten-minute-long promotional video about the project, which he will direct. Much of the shooting was done in Queens and Long Island City.

“There are great locations in Queens and especially Long Island City, and not just shooting the Manhattan skyline,” he said. “Although I am addicted to travel, it is great to live and produce from here, and I intend to stay here. And, of course, it is only 40 minutes from the airport.”



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