About - urbanworld


Our Story

The Urbanworld Film Festival, founded in 1997 by Stacy Spikes, is one of the largest internationally competitive festivals of its kind. Each year, we curate a programming slate that represents the broadest lens of diversity across stories, characters, themes, and cultures. From narrative to documentary content, Urbanworld presents a selection of features, shorts, and episodics from around the world. We fight tirelessly to expand the definition of “urban” beyond ethnicity to include sensibility, culture, and proximity, as we highlight undiscovered storytellers. Having been hailed as “the filmmakers festival” and “the people’s festival,” Urbanworld provides a point of intersection where creators and audiences meet to experience bold and diverse artistic works. We welcome you to the Urbanworld family and encourage you to engage with us during festival season, on social and in-person during our year-round programming.

Our Festival

Urbanworld is a five-day festival, based in New York City, showcasing narrative and documentary features, short films, web originals, music videos, spotlight screenings and conversations, and live staged screenplay readings. Our Urbanworld Innovation track convenes industry experts sharing insights on the evolving landscape of content creation, financing, distribution, and marketing, all through the lens of digital opportunity. Urbanworld Music rounds out the festival, powering the nightlife events with a mix of curated DJs and live performances.

Since inception in 1997, Hollywood studios, indie film distributors, and established and emerging filmmakers have consistently chosen Urbanworld® to premiere box office and award-winning hits, including Soul Food, Best Man, Barber Shop, The Secret Life of Bees, and Selma. Talent walking our red carpet in support of their films and television shows have included the likes of Chadwick Boseman, Jennifer Lopez, Halle Berry, Tom Cruise, Jamie Foxx, Jada Pinkett Smith, Samuel L. Jackson, Kerry Washington, Kate Hudson, Viola Davis, and Rosie Perez, and so many more. Ava DuVernay, David Oyelowo, Queen Latifah, Melvin & Mario Van Peebles, Justin Simien, Gina Prince Bythewood, Larenz Tate, Reginald Hudlin, Kasi Lemmons, and Tyrese Gibson have all served as Festival Ambassadors.

The Urbanworld Film Festival is an initiative of the Urbanworld Foundation Inc., a nonprofit organization that redefines and advances the presence and impact of the multicultural community in cinema and cross-platform media. By implementing year-round initiatives that actively support and develop content creators of color, Urbanworld significantly contributes to the evolution of the media and entertainment landscape and the inclusion that it reflects.


Festival Leadership

Stacy Spikes

Stacy Spikes

Founder | Chairman Emeritus

Gabrielle Glore

Festival Director | Head of Programming

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