The Sixth Annual NYC Web Fest Has Announced Its Dates And Jury For 2019

The sixth annual NYC Web Fest (NYCWF) is one of the most exciting events that appear annually at the end of the year. Today, they have announced that they’re bringing the festival forward by a month as well as their nine industry professional jurors. This year, it will take place on October 4-6, with Founder Lauren Atkins documenting the experience on a new IGTV series.

Every year, this event gets bigger and bigger, with last year seeing some incredible attendees including former Grey’s Anatomy star Kate Walsh, and Best Actress winner Sachi Parker, daughter of Hollywood legend Shirley MacLaine. Guests flew in from across the United States, Canada, Australia, the UK and more.

The programming department will see the founder of Woman In Revolt – an intersectional film and television blog devoted to women behind the camera, Lindsay Pugh as Programming Director; Writer & Art Director, Andreea Drogeanu, will return as Programming Consultant, both for the second year in a row; whereas newcomer, Liv Martens who is a Web Developer, will also act as Programming Consultant.

New for this year, is Lauren Atkins starring in her own docu-series, which will be titled Being Blackcatbaby – which is a nod to her twitter handle  – showcasing a behind-the-scenes look at the preparations for the NYCWF. “I wanted to give people a behind-the-scenes view of what putting this festival together is like, ” Lauren Atkins said. “New York may be the greatest city in the world, but it’s a hustle, and it’s never easy – or boring.” It will be available to watch at the end of June on the festival’s Instagram page and will feature original music by South African musician Lyla Illing.

Just like last year, the festival will include web series, pilot episodes, and short films. Submissions are open until July 31, 2019, and more details can be found on the NYC Web Fest’s website.

Here Are The 2019 NYC Web Fest Jurors

  • Valerie Complex – Film Critic
  • Alexander Hodge – Actor/Writer
  • Jason Lee – Associate Editor at Bossip
  • Natasha Negovanlis – Actress, Writer
  • Yolanda Sangweni – Digital Content Strategist
  • Evan Shapiro – President, National Lampoon
  • Kathleen Simmonds – Actress/Producer
  • Sherrod Small – Comedian/Writer/Producer
  • Tessa Treanor – Producer

Valerie Complex

She is a military veteran, screenwriter, entertainment journalist, and film critic who has written for the likes of The Nerdist, The Mary Sue, IGN, The Hollywood Reporter, Harpers Bazaar, and many others. She is approved on Rotten Tomatoes and is a lover of Japanese animation, comics and all things film. She is also passionate about diversity across all entertainment mediums.

Alexander Hodge

He is an Australian actor and writer of Singaporean & Irish heritage. Growing up, he played a handful of sports and martial arts practices before pursuing rugby, full-time. After a career-ending knee injury, Alexander Hodge landed at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Since graduating from AADA’s conservatory program, he has worked on many projects across theatre, television & film. Last year, Alexander Hodge could be seen as the recurring character of Andrew in season 3 of HBO’s Insecure. Alexander was a member of ABC’s 2017 Talent Showcase, and has appeared in ABC’s Modern Family, NBC’s Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, CBS’s Bull, HBO’s High Maintenance, and the feature film Abe (Sundance 2019).

Alexander Hodge from HBO's Insecure
Alexander Hodge from HBO’s Insecure

Jason “Jah” Lee

He is the Associate Editor at Bossip.com, the internet’s premier destination for African-American pop culture, entertainment, and politically-aware commentary. Jason Lee started as a freelancer for Bossip in 2011 and was quickly hired as a full-time writer/editor a few months later. His work at Bossip has been featured on several media outlets including, The New York Times, WIRED, BET, Fader, and Buzzfeed AM2DM. Additionally, he’s worked on both television and radio as part of the original cast of Bossip On We TV season 1 and a member of the Ed Lover Morning Show on Atlanta’s Boom 102.9.

As an Atlanta resident, Jason Lee is a life-long hip-hop culture connoisseur from one of the most influential cities in the world where film and TV have now become staples. He brings his years of experience in the entertainment industry and critical fan eye to the table as a judge for the 2019 NYC Web Fest.

Natasha Negovanlis

She is a Canadian Screen Award-winning actress, best known for playing the titular role in the digital phenomenon Carmilla. Since her portrayal of the “broody lesbian vampire”, she has amassed a global fan base on social media, where she is admired for her support of LGBTQ visibility and mental health awareness. Before working in film and television, Natasha Negovanlis studied performance voice at McGill University. Since then, she has had numerous roles in features and series, including guest starring spots on shows such as Slasher, and leading roles in female-driven films such as Almost Adults and Freelancers Anonymous.

In addition to acting, Natasha co-created, co-wrote, and co-produced the NYC Web Fest award-winning comedy series CLAIREvoyant with creative partner Annie Briggs. When she isn’t “breaking the Internet” she loves travelling to meet fans and hanging out with her adopted rescue dog.

Yolanda Sangweni

She is a South-African born writer, digital content strategist, podcast host, and culture curator. She is the founder of AFRIPOP, a website covering global African youth culture and was most recently the Digital Content Director at ESSENCE where she co-created and co-hosted the Webby-nominated “Yes, Girl” podcast. She is also the founder of African Women Create, a quarterly celebration and gathering of African women in the creative arts.

Evan Shapiro

He is a producer, executive, and co-creator. He has run IFC, Sundance Channel, Pivot, and Seeso. Some series that he has produced or created over 150 television series include PortlandiaTake My WifePlease Like MeDinner For Five, and Brick City. He has also delved into documentaries, including This Film Is Not Yet Rated and At The Death House Door. He most recently executive produced the comedy special Funny Women of A Certain Age for Showtime, and Trump Bites, the Webby Award winner for Best Animated Series. He recently became the president of National Lampoon, a Comedy Studio for Live Performance, Film, TV, Social and Audio, which has also acquired his eshapTV which includes the comedy, Bartlett.

Kathleen Simmonds

She is an Australian actress, producer and reformed corporate lawyer based in New York. She holds a Masters of Fine Arts from the Actors Studio Drama School and is a Lifetime Member of The Actors Studio. Her New York theatre repertoire includes an off-Broadway debut as Lorna in Golden Boy directed by Aaron Latham. She sits on the Board of The Drilling Company in New York and as a core Drilling Company member, she has held the leading roles of Olivia in Twelfth Night and Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream for Shakespeare in Bryant Park. Her latest work can be seen in the new Refinery29 and Kate Spade online series Coat Check. Before leaving Australia, she appeared in a recurring role on the primetime TV show The Strip.

As a filmmaker, Kathleen Simmonds is focused on films which have women’s issues and women’s stories at their centre. In 2018, she attended the 90th Oscars with a short film on diversity in Hollywood. Her producer credits also include Line Producer, Associate Producer, and Casting Director for Break Thru Films on documentary features and mini-series for Netflix, HBO, Amazon, and Sundance AMC. Her latest passion project, Woe Is She, is a dark comedy web series (which she produced and stars in). The aim for the series’ all-female production and creative team is to destigmatize depression by showing it in the ways they have personally experienced it. The series is set for release in 2019. She also travels internationally conducting acting workshops at academic institutions and seminars on the “business of acting and filmmaking”.

Sherrod Small

He is a comedian, writer, producer, actor, radio host and all-around performer; born and raised by his mother and two sisters in Brooklyn, NYC. He is consistently connecting with audiences everywhere through his witty commentary, quick improvisation and his views on politics, culture, and everyday life.

He has appeared in numerous popular series and is one of the most recognizable talking heads in America. You may have seen him all over VH1’s Best Week Ever and I Love… series, guest hosting on ABC’s Good Morning America & NBC’s TODAY, and as a frequent guest on FOX’s Red Eye, as well as Travel Channel’s Men Vs Food and Street Cred. Most recently Sherrod Small starred in A&E’s Black & White which he produced and created with fellow comedian Christian Finnegan, as well as wrote and starred as Malcolm in Tyler Perry’s Are We There Yet? He has also performed on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Comedy Central’s Premium Blend, and NBC’s Showtime at the Apollo. He also wrote & performed on Comedy Central’s Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn, and was featured in Jerry Seinfeld’s film Comedian.

Sherrod Small is also one of the most popular Radio voices today. You can currently listen to Sherrod weekly on on his acclaimed “Racewars” podcast co-starring Kurt Metzger.

Tessa Treanor

She is a creative producer involved in all stages of production from development to post, with narrative projects that range from quirky comedies to character-driven dramas. Originally from the UK, she graduated from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Tessa Treanor was a producer on the New York Times profiled web series SRSLY which was an Official Honoree at The 18th Annual Webby Awards, and she produced Life, After which screened at the NYC Web Fest and Brooklyn Web Fest. She produced the short film Drifters, which won a Special Jury Award for Narrative Shorts at the New Orleans Film Festival and won Best Experimental Short at the Aesthetica Short Film Festival.

Tessa Treanor also produces and post-produces commercial content at ad agencies and production companies including the award-winning m ss ng p eces, with projects for clients including Microsoft and Google. She is currently in development on the feature film, Scattering Jake. She has been a judge of short films and web series for festivals internationally.

Natasha Negovanlis Lauren Atkins at the 2018 NYC Web Fest
Natasha Negovanlis Lauren Atkins at the 2018 NYC Web Fest

Submissions For The NYC Web Fest Are Open Now

You can submit your web series, pilot episode, and/or short film to NYC Web Fest now; you have until July 31, 2019, which is when submissions close. The NYCWF was founded by Lauren Atkins in 2014, after recognising there were several festivals showcasing digital series on the west coast, but nothing in New York.

Lauren Atkins said about the NYCWF: “Our goal is to make this festival the premier home for digital producers on an international level. An organic space where creators can showcase their talent, network with other artists, and learn from industry insiders.”

The NYC Web Fest 2019 will take place on October 4-6. The venue has yet to be announced. We expect NYC Web Fest 2019 is going to be the best yet and the one festival, this year, you won’t want to miss.

What do you make of the jury announcement for the NYC Web Fest? Let us know on Twitter @CelebMix.

Written by Jonathan Currinn

26-year-old writer, blogger, author, and journalist. Graduated from Staffordshire University in 2015. I write under the name Critic Jonni, on my blog. I also write for Channillo, Outlet Magazine, SPECTRUMM, Fuzzable, Modern Magazine, and Electric Mode. In the past, I have written for Fox & Squirrel Photography and the Daily Star. Follow me on Twitter @CriticJonni