NOVEMBER 8 - 10, 2018

A Message From Founder Lauren Atkins 2016

“I choose to reflect the times and the situations in which I find myself, that’s my duty…how can you be an artist and NOT reflect the times?” ~ Nina Simone

I’ve been haunted by this quote ever since watching the Netflix documentary “What Happened, Miss Simone?” directed by Liz Garbus. Miss Simone was talking about her work and creative contribution during the Civil Rights Movement – leading her to write the controversial song “Mississippi Goddamn.”

As much as I was inspired by the aforementioned quote, my immediate reaction when I heard it was, “What about when the times do not reflect the art?”

N.W.A. sprung onto the scene in the late 80s with a rage, talent and authenticity that was impossible to ignore. They spoke their truth of what was happening in Compton – a reality brought to life over 20 years later in the movie “Straight Outta Compton.” Spike Lee’s “Chi-raq,” while done in the style of a Greek play/musical speaks to what’s happening in Chicago, right now.

Both films were critically acclaimed, both were ignored (among many others) by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences at the 2016 Oscars.
#OscarsSoWhite, once again. Damn.

For last year’s NYC Web Fest, 25% of all submissions received were directed by women. Over 30% were written & produced by women. As a female of color born in Cape Town, I’m truly excited as I expect that number will grow. I’ve created an inclusive festival that serves a community as diverse as the city that hosts it. With web content, the possibilities of self expression are endless and some amazing talent has come through our doors these past 2 years.

For 2016, I’d like to salute the creators who are unafraid to speak their truths and push the envelope. Because in the end, it’s not really about winning an award is it? It’s about giving an artist an opportunity to express herself. Many years ago, someone took a chance on Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, Spike Lee, and of course, Nina Simone.

The rest is History.

Welcome to the Third Annual NYC Web Fest, we are thrilled to have you.

With love and gratitude,