Unlike many prolific Hollywood producers, Mike Tollin doesn't measure success by favorable reviews, sky-high ratings or record-breaking box office takes.
Responsible for such television shows as "One Tree Hill" and "All That," and films like "Varsity Blues" and "Radio," which he also directed, Tollin said, to him, filmmaking is as much about touching lives as selling tickets.
"The criteria I use to judge a project's 'success' include the quality of the journey, the interaction with my collaborators, and the long-term impact of the project beyond its initial commercial reception," Tollin said. "(A film like) 'Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream', in addition to being nominated for an Oscar ... led to the launching of a foundation, which has awarded millions of dollars in scholarship money to needy and deserving children. 'Radio' has resonated with people far and wide and reminded people of the need to treat each other with dignity."
Ten years after capturing the real-life story of James Robert "Radio" Kennedy on film, Tollin is returning to the Lowcountry, where most of the film was shot, to receive the Beaufort International Film Festival's Jean Ribaut Award for Excellence in Filmmaking.
Past recipients have included actor Powers Boothe and novelist Pat Conroy.
Tollin will be on hand Feb. 16 to receive the award and said he is looking forward to returning to the area.
"I felt honored by the award and delighted at the opportunity to return to this part of the country, where some of my favorite experiences in the film business have occurred," Tollin said. "I expect a number of friends from the area and colleagues from 'Radio' to join me, so it will be a very enjoyable reunion."
The festival is also hosting a 10th anniversary screening of "Radio" at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 15, which will be followed by a Q&A with Tollin, Kennedy and Harold Jones, who was portrayed in the film by actor Ed Harris.
Since the release of "Radio," Tollin has stayed busy with dozens of film and television productions, and served as a consulting producer on ESPN's highly acclaimed "30 for 30" documentary series.
Tollin directed "Small Potatoes: Who Killed the USFL," a documentary about the now-defunct United States Football League and said two others are on the way.
"I have two long-form '30 for 30' documentaries in the works -- one about Soviet hockey and another about a group of young men from Inglewood, Calif., who I have chronicled for 20 years," he said.
Despite his success, Tollin said he still has a place in his heart for independent film and believes festivals like the Beaufort International Film Festival provide a much-needed incubator for independent filmmakers.
"These festivals are nurturing and nourishing, and they have inspired me both as a filmmaker and as part of the audience," Tollin said. "They tend to bring together and expand the local film 'community' and celebrate the achievements in a world where getting a project to the big screen often seems like a miracle."
Follow reporter Patrick Donohue at twitter.com/IPBG_Patrick.