The Fifth Annual NYC Web West Announces its Jury

The NYC Web Fest (NYCWF) has announced it 2018 jury, 10 industry professionals make up the most international panel to date. Named a “must attend event for creators” by Huffpost, last year the festival moved to a location double the size to accommodate the large crowd. Guests flew in from Argentina, Brazil, Canada and South Africa. Founder Lauren Atkins describes getting to year five has her proudest achievement. “The day before submissions opened, I found out that over 50 percent of start-ups don’t survive to see their fifth anniversary, so it’s a big year for us.”

This year’s panel includes #OscarsSoWhite Hashtag Creator April Reign, What’s Trending Founder Shira Lazar, South African Comedian David Kau, and Jewel’s Catch One director C.Fitz. The Festival takes place November 8–10 in Manhattan, and will now include short films along with web series.

NYCWF has also announced a new programming department, led by Programming Director Lindsay Pugh, founder of Woman In Revolt, an intersectional film and television blog devoted to women behind the camera. Writer & Art Director Andreea Drogeanu has been added as Programming Consultant. Returning from 2017, is Sales Director Sarah Grieco. The location for this year’s festivities is yet to be announced.

In addition to web series, this year’s competition includes pilot episodes, and new for this year, a short film category. Happening November 8–10 in Manhattan, one of NYCWF’s winners will land an exclusive distribution deal with Seed&Spark — A new streaming service that connects audiences to original new voices in indie film via subscription streaming and crowdfunding. Submissions are open until July 31st. For more information, visit

2018 Programming Department

Lindsay Pugh

Lindsay is the founder of Woman in Revolt, an intersectional film and television blog devoted to women behind the camera. WiR is comprised of coverage for events (like the Final Girls Berlin Film Festival), interviews with up-and-coming filmmakers, critical essays, and reviews. When she’s not writing, Lindsay works as a digital strategist for Something Digital, an interactive agency in New York City that specializes in ecommerce, website design, digital marketing, and user experience. Her favorite things include cats (she has three), Halloween, and the Wonder Wheel at Coney Island.

Andreea Drogeanu

Andreea Drogeanu is a writer and Art Director from Bucharest, Romania passionate about films, aesthetics and authentic, layered, compelling visual stories. As a journalist and film critic she wrote for Brio Pop Magazine, Film Reporter, Revista Cultura, Cineuropa, Liternet, TV Mania and Bolero. In 2008 she moved to New York and made several short films using a 16mm Arriflex S camera during a NYU film class. After being in the art department of “Louie” (first season) she worked as Art Director/Production Designer on 30 film projects including 4 feature films. In 2015 she was one of the judges for NYC Midnight short screenplay competition. In the last year she added commercials and music videos to her portfolio.

2018 Jury

Justin R. Ching is an award-winning showrunner who has produced hit series for Amazon, FOX and YouTube. Currently the Supervising Producer on Amazon’s Ritual, Ching began his career with YouTube Originals, launching channels like VICE, AwesomenessTV and Tastemade. He led the FOX/Facebook partnership to produce @TheBuzzer, the comedy series The Fighter & The Kid, as well as the docu-series Z Dream (the highest-rated program on FOX’s SPEED Network). Recently, he was featured in Forbes and named to the Asian American Journalists Association’s list of inspirational figures for Asian Pacific Heritage Month. Through his work and production company, j-school, he aims to empower underrepresented groups to tell their own stories in their own voices.

Alex Cirillo is a Producer and Director, and the Co-Founder of Big Vision Empty Wallet, a film and media incubator for film and series creators, and Big Vision Creative, a production company specializing in feature film and TV series development. Big Vision’s focus is to foster inclusion and develop unexpected content with women, people of color and LGBTQ creators, and has been featured in The Washington Post, OUT Magazine, Slate, IndieWire, Bust Magazine and more.

C. Fitz is a television, film and marketing veteran working in the advertising, social media and filmmaking spaces. Her recent feature documentary, Jewel’s Catch One, is now on Netflix and distributed by Ava DuVernay’s company ARRAY.Jewel’s Catch One explores the legacy of America’s oldest Black-owned disco club as well as the life of businesswoman and activist, Jewel Thais-Williams, who provided safe spaces for LGBTQ, Black and AIDS impacted communities in Los Angeles for four decades. The film includes exclusive interviews with Sharon Stone, Thelma Houston, Evelyn “Champagne” King, Madonna, Sandra Bernhard, Thea Austin, Jenifer Lewis, Representative Maxine Waters and Bonnie Pointer provide testimony in this electric and historically important film narrated by CCH Pounder.

David Kau is a South African born and internationally renowned comedian, actor, director and producer who is best known for setting stages ablaze with this candid ‘telling it like it is’ style of comedy that has endeared him to millions of fans the world over. In August he will celebrate 20 years of comedy with a massive show in Johannesburg presented by Comedy Central & BET. He’s performed with comedian Russell Peters and at the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal.

Nathalie Kohen is an entertainment professional with over eight years of experience in talent, events, and strategic communications. She currently serves as the Talent & Editorial Producer for Marvel Entertainment’s New Media division. Prior, she served as the Talent & Strategic Communications Producer at Broadway Video’s digital studio Above Average. In this role, she oversaw talent deals for editorial and branded programs as well as strategic communications, partnerships and brand awareness.

Shira Lazar is the Co-Founder/CEO and Host of the Emmy Nominated live interactive daily show and millenial media brand, What’s Trending. What’s Trending announced a strategic partnership with Sinclair Broadcasting’s in 2017 to develop original programming, branded entertainment and social video across their platforms including a daily live show,Circa Pop Live! hosted by Shira Lazar. She also recently hosted the weekly podcast with On Tour With Live Nation with Westwood One.

Joanna Pickering is a British actress, writer, producer and activist. She trained in the dramatic arts at The Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute in New York City. She works in television, film, stage and radio, and has made over 20 independent films worldwide — experimental, political, artistic and commercial. She is represented by 3 Arts Entertainment for literary and acting.

April Reign practiced law for nearly twenty years, honing her talent for public speaking and persuasive writing, but it wasn’t until she walked away from her legal practice that she found her true passion. As the Creator of the viral hashtag #OscarsSoWhite, she challenges the lack of representation of marginalized communities in Hollywood and beyond. Reign sustains a movement that has resulted in the most systemic change ever seen in the over 80-year history of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. April is now the Senior Director of Marketing for Fractured Atlas, a nonprofit arts service organization that leverages technology to make the business of art easier for artists and small arts organizations.

Tessa Treanor 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 New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Tessa 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.

Xilla Valentine As one of the most prominent journalists in Hollywood, Xilla Valentine has overcome insurmountable odds to become an essential thought leader. Working as GlobalGrind’s Sr Entertainment editor, his videos have over 200 million views on YouTube, and over 30 million on Facebook. He’s executed countless A-list interviews creating moments that leave a lasting impact on the culture — he is the influencer to the influencers.

The NYC Web Fest has brought together a multifaceted diverse group of people from around the world to showcase the best of the web. Born in Cape Town and raised in Toronto, Lauren Atkins founded NYCWF in 2014, after recognizing there were several festivals showcasing digital series on the west coast, but nothing in New York. “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.” Said Atkins.



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Judith Davis

Judith Davis


A professional writer, content manager, and web producer who has worked for quite a few high profile brands.