Christine L. Mendoza has been named Executive Director of the Urbanworld Foundation Inc. - AmNews Curtain Raiser


Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Christine L. Mendoza has been named Executive Director of the Urbanworld Foundation Inc.


Christine L. Mendoza has been named Executive Director of the Urbanworld Foundation Inc.  In this newly created role, Mendoza will oversee year-round strategy, operations, and development for the foundation, which includes oversight of the 25-year-old Urbanworld Film Festival that showcases narrative features, documentaries, short films, web originals, spotlight screenings, conversations, and music performances that feature people of color including Black, Indigenous and Latinx artists.


Many successful directors of color made their debut in the industry via Urbanworld including Ava DuVernay (Saturday Night Life 2006/short), Dee Rees (Pariah 2007/short), Ryan Coogler (Locks 2009/short), Tina Mabry (Mississippi Damned 2009/feature) and Blitz “The Ambassador” Bazawule (The Burial of Kojo 2018/feature). 


As previously announced in September, after 18 years with the festival, this year’s 25th anniversary marks the final year for Gabrielle Glore, Festival Director & Head of Programming, who led the search committee along with Stacy SpikesFounder, Urbanworld Film Festival for an executive director and a festival director successor for the organization, who will be announced at a later date.


“We are thrilled to have Christine join the Urbanworld family.  She brings the ideal mix of experience and passion to our team as we continue to expand our reach and impact,” said Spikes.


The Latinx native New Yorker has been championing equity in the arts for over two decades through her work as a filmmaker, educator, administrator, and innovator of programs. Most recently, Mendoza worked as the Director of Education for Film at Lincoln Center which preceded her work as the Director of Development and Programs for the Coalition for Immigrant Freedom.


“The Urbanworld Film Festival has created a point of intersection for diverse audiences and content creators for 25 years and I’m thrilled to continue to build our breadth and depth from the foundation that Stacy Spikes and Gabrielle Glore developed,” said Mendoza.  “When I was a teenage media maker growing up in NYC, I remember when Urbanworld first came on the scene, it was exciting, it was refreshing and it was relevant to people like me. Urbanworld continues to provide authenticity, reach and connection for historically overlooked and extremely talented content creators. I’m committed to moving forward with Urbanworld into the next era of innovation and inclusion.”


Mendoza's work has reverberated throughout her beloved New York but also spans the globe. Since 1999, Mendoza has overseen the creation of over 1,000 short films by young filmmakers in NYC. She has been invited by international governments to work in film and education throughout the world, notably in India, South Africa, Spain, and China. She also developed a partnership with the U.S. State Department working as a Technology Ambassador throughout Latin America. Locally, she developed Latinx-centered educational programming at Film at Lincoln Center, transmedia projects at the Educational Video Center, and an extensive fundraising and development portfolio of organizations throughout NYC.  Mendoza has also helped develop the New York Film Festival and the New Directors/New Films Festival artist, industry, and critics academies for women and people of color working in the film industry.


She is also a board member of the UNESCO-founded organization, The International Center of Films for Children and Young People (CIFEJ), and the Educational Video Center (EVC).


The Urbanworld Film Festival was launched in 1997 by founder Stacy Spikes, co-founder of MoviePass, founder of PreShow Interactive, and a former executive at Miramax and October Films.  With estimated attendance reaching over 15,000 in-person, the five-day festival showcases narrative features, documentaries, short films, web originals, experimental, spotlight screenings and conversations, and music performances. Urbanworld’s 2021 25th Anniversary edition was available as a hybrid festival featuring an in-person footprint in NYC, as well as an online platform showcasing official selection projects and virtual spotlight conversations.  Hollywood studios, networks, and streamers, as well as established and emerging content creators, have consistently chosen Urbanworld to premiere box office hits and award-winning projects.  

Anchored in creativity, culture, and community, Urbanworld is an initiative of the Urbanworld Foundation, which advances the inclusion and impact of diverse content creators through its platforms provided to storytellers from around the world.  The organization’s website is

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