EXCLUSIVE: Sharese Bullock-Bailey has been appointed as Festival Director and the first-ever Chief Innovation Officer at Urbanworld, which showcases narrative features, documentaries, short films, web originals, spotlight screenings, conversations and music performances that feature storytellers of color, including Black, Indigenous and Latinx artists.
In her new roles, Bullock-Bailey will oversee the brand, lead all key components of annual Festival planning and execution, expand Urbanworld Innovation, drive strategy and optimize assets and experiences, building upon current and potential partnerships as the festival enters its next 25 years.
“We are thrilled to have Sharese Bullock-Bailey join the Urbanworld family as the Festival Director and first-ever Chief Innovation Officer,” said Urbanworld founder Stacy Spikes. “She brings a rare blend of talents, expertise and leadership to our team as we continue to expand our impact in storytelling, technology and game-changing culture.”
“Urbanworld provides a legacy and blueprint for the future of storytelling, technology and community for a global range of artists and brands,” added Bullock-Bailey. “The festival has always been a leader of innovation and inclusion and after 25 years of unmatched impact, I’m thrilled to amplify the reach and impact of the festival for the next 25 years and beyond.”
Bullock-Bailey is an Emmy-nominated producer and strategist who has worked across the media, arts and technology sectors, focusing on impact, philanthropy and talent development. She is the founder of Overstand, a global consultancy which has partnered with Urbanworld Innovation since 2016 in producing the pitch-style funding event know as The Stand. She was most recently the Chief Strategist and Partnership Officer at Ghetto Film School, leading partnerships with Netflix, Stavros Niarchos Foundation, Frieze/Deutsche Bank, the National Football League, Synchrony Bank and Neutrogena Studios, amongst others. Bullock-Bailey also previously served as the director of Tribeca Teaches, overseeing film residencies and education initiatives for the Tribeca Film Institute and Festival from 2014-2017. She is a trustee at The Frick Collection and the Vice Chair of Independent Television Service.
2021 marked the 25th anniversary of the Urbanworld Film Festival and was the last year for Gabrielle Glore, longstanding Festival Director and Head of Programming. Along with Spikes, Glore led the effort to fill Bullock-Bailey’s position. “This is a full circle moment,” said Glore, “as I have personally seen Sharese evolve her role, in both the industry overall and with Urbanworld over the years, as a producer, partner and now as a leader in stewarding the legacy of excellence and innovation.”
Urbanworld is a five-day festival that has long championed BIPOC filmmakers, with notable directors who have shared their early career work there including Ava DuVernay, Ryan Coogler, Dee Rees, Tina Mabry and the award-winning duo of Coodie Simmons and Chike Ozah. The 2022 edition of Urbanworld will be a hybrid festival featuring an in-person footprint in NYC, as well as an global online platform showcasing official selection projects and virtual spotlight conversations. The festival is an initiative of the Urbanworld Foundation, which has historically been supported by Founding Partner HBO/WarnerMedia, advancing the inclusion and impact of diverse content creators through its platforms provided to storytellers from around the world.
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