The Arts

From Suffolk Theater to ‘The Voice,’ local alum grabs Emmy

COURTESY PHOTO | Suffolk County Community College’s alumnus, Keith Dinielli wins an Emmy as one of the producers for “The Voice” in the Best Competition Reality Series category.

From shooting a film about downtown Riverhead’s Suffolk Theater to shooting live TV in Hollywood, Suffolk County Community College alumnus Keith Dinielli recently won an Emmy Award as one of the producers for NBC’s “The Voice” in the Best Competition Reality Series category.

In 1990, Mr. Dinielli of Port Jefferson, received his Associate Degree in Radio and Television Production from SCCC. He went on to receive a Bachelor’s Degree from The University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts in 1996, but credits much of his accomplishments to his education at SCCC.

“I can credit the success I have had to hard work, perseverance and to the sound advice I received from my Suffolk County Community College professor, Alan Bernstein,” Mr. Dinielli said in a press release. “In a moment of caring and candor, Professor Bernstein pulled me aside and informed that while I had talent, I wouldn’t be successful unless I could learn to work with people.  It was a life changing moment and a piece of advice that I practice to this day.”

The summer after he received his degree from USC, he returned to Long Island where he co-wrote, produced and directed the feature film, “Changeover”, shot on location in Riverhead. According to, the film, centered around a group of ushers working their last days before the downtown anchor closed its doors in the late 1970s.

The low budget production featured SCCC students in front of and behind the cameras. The film premiered at Theater Three in Port Jefferson in 1998, proving as a jumpstart to Mr. Dinielli’s career.

Since then, he landed production assistant work on several TV shows before a long stint in feature film development, where he worked on the “Fast And Furious” franchise, “SWAT”, “Vantage Point” and “Click.” He also continued to write and direct his own films.

In 2010, Mr. Dinielli took a producer position on a reality show called “Your Own Show” for the fledgling Oprah Winfrey Network, which eventually led to his joining “The Voice” in 2011. The 65th Primetime Emmy Awards was held Sept. 22 at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles.

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