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Do you know your life purpose? Is it to start a family or land your dream job? Perhaps you’ve already attained both these things. If so, what happens when you retire? What’s your purpose then? Vito Pellicano, creator of The Search for Aliveness, is putting together this docu-series to help you answer that question.

Previously, GREY spoke with Chad Gabriel, Tuthill’s Sherpa of Purpose, about hosting The Search for Aliveness. He also helped open up the discussion for mental health awareness in men. But now, as we spoke to Vito, we gained insight on how this project is being produced and ask you to consider that there is more to life than work.

Vito Pellicano Explores The Search for Aliveness

Vito Pellicano creator of The Search for Aliveness. Photo courtesy of Laura Orrico Public Relations

Though he is only a junior filmmaker, Vito Pellicano’s work is far from beginner. Starting off as a programmer and web designer for Tuthill, Vito’s official role now is to communicate the company’s culture through visual means. Whether that is creating a poster or a video, Vito explores ways to help Tuthill tell compelling stories.

He also had a hand 5 years ago in developing Tuthill’s Wake the World movement. Along with Chad, he was placed in charge of coming up with ways to explore aliveness outside Tuthill’s four walls. Because of his past experience creating Bonus Time, a short documentary which highlights a group of veterans expressing themselves through art, Vito was inspired to create The Search for Aliveness.

WATCH: Bonus Time

In order to produce Aliveness, Vito has help from his director of photography, Erica Magda, and Alida Baranowski, who runs logistics. Before traveling to a location, Vito posts casting calls on their official website, then holds phone interviews with each individual that fits the vision of the story. Once they reach their destination, Vito gets half a day to scout with his cinematographer. The latest episode brought the team to Zambia, Africa and casting is still open to everyone worldwide.

Vito Pellicano with school children in Africa. Photo courtesy of Laura Orrico Public Relations

Vito is also in charge of editing every video. Before release, each cut goes through approval phases with Chad, their CEO Tom Carmazzi, and Jay Tuthill the owner. The most remarkable aspect of this documentary is that even though Vito and his production team travel world-wide, the entire project is not-for-profit. What Vito loves most about producing this documentary series is that it gives him the chance to tell compelling short stories without selling a product.

The Pitfalls of Early Retirement

Currently, The Search for Aliveness has released 4 episodes centering on musical influence, purpose, and connection. After speaking with The Ides of March frontman, Jim Peterik, Vito sought out a thought leader to discuss purpose in their third episode.

Tim Kelley, author of True Purpose, spoke with Aliveness about the pitfalls of early retirement. According to Kelley, most men who retire after working non-stop have a higher mortality rate. He also states women are more likely to succumb to “empty nest” syndrome. His reasoning is that while most parents feel that working hard and providing for their children is a fulfilling life, once their children move out or their job ends, they no longer feel like they have a purpose.

A study conducted by Oregon State University found that people who continue working past 65 live longer lives. This 18 year study concluded that healthy adults who retired one year past age 65 had an 11% lower risk of death. Meanwhile, those afflicted with health issues had a 9% lower mortality rate just from working a year longer. This data supports Kelley’s conclusion and begs the question: if people believe work is their life purpose, then does actively pursuing it mean you’ll live longer?

By working hard and having responsibilities, we feel more tethered to the world. This brings us to the next point The Search for Aliveness dares to tackle.


In order to explore connection, Vito brought Chad and the rest of his team to Africa. There, they met with two disabled children, Blessing and Nandila. Nandila was abandoned in a pit as a newborn and was blinded as a result. Though she has had to overcome many hardships, she has since become best friends with Blessing. Having a best friend means she has someone to share her experiences with; it’s what keeps her connected to the world. Both girls want audiences to know that just because they have a disability, it does not mean they have stopped living. They are grateful for what they have and still plan to do good.

For Vito and his team, it was important to tell the story of aliveness from the perspective of a person with a disability because being alive means experiencing both the good and the bad. Showing how two girls can face difficulty, yet still find a connection means purpose can come in many different ways. True purpose is about exploring what makes you feel alive and does not have to be tied your career.

How to Find Your Life Purpose

Tim Kelley (left) discusses finding true purpose with Chad Gabriel

So how do you find your life purpose? Tim Kelley recommends making a list of the biggest moments that have impacted your life. Think about when you felt most fulfilled or inspired. What about them caused you to feel that way? After writing these moments down, try having someone else read them back to you and look for patterns. Whatever you react most strongly to, positive or negative, is the closest to finding your purpose.

Impact so Far

“My purpose is to capture and share the stories of those who have no opportunity to tell it themselves.”

Vito Pellicano
Vito Pellicano on set of The Search for Aliveness. Photo courtesy of Laura Orrico Public Relations

Since the documentary’s release, Vito says he has had many conversations with parents who say this documentary is changing the conversation around the dinner table. People have told him they are more aware of themselves and strive for healthier work/life balances. According to Vito, what makes Aliveness so successful is the help from all the people the team has met on their journey, plus the dedication of every single employee at Tuthill.

Vito is excited about the upcoming release of their next episode in September. In it, his team explores many different forms of energy, including sky-diving. Next year, he hopes to do more traveling and has his heart set on visiting Japan or India. Vito is extremely passionate about sharing this story and is proud of Tuthill for allowing him the chance to tell it.

Have you given thought to your life purpose? Let us know down in the comments.

This article originally published on GREY Journal.