NYWIFT Talks with NewFest’s Executive Director David Hatkoff


NewFest gives voice and visibility to all facets of the LGBTQ experience by presenting year-round screenings and events that include New York’s annual LGBTQ Film Festival every October, which began in 1988. In our July 2, 2020 NYWIFT Talks, we joined Executive Director of NewFest David Hatkoff for a Zoom conversation discussing the changes NewFest has made to continue to adapt during this COVID-19 pandemic. Plus, learn how they virtually celebrated the month of Pride! 

This conversation was moderated by NYWIFT Board Member Alex Cirillo.



David Hatkoff joined NewFest as Executive Director in August 2019. He has spent his career amplifying and elevating the mission and programming efforts of non-profit arts organizations, serving for 11 years in a senior leadership role at NYC’s Tony Award-winning Signature Theatre. He was an integral part of Signature’s transition to its permanent home, the 75,000 square foot, Frank Gehry-designed Pershing Square Signature Center, and the growth of the company, which more than tripled its budget, staff and programming during his time with the organization. David studied in the MA program at New York University’s Gallatin School, with a focus in LGTBQ Studies. He has a deep passion for queer culture and a strong desire to create spaces for queer storytelling.


Alex Cirillo (moderator) is a director, producer, and the co-founder of Big Vision Empty Wallet, an inclusion-focused incubator and production company that develops and amplifies unique voices in film and TV. In her 11 years in the industry, she has produced 10 feature films, hundreds of commercials and over 300 live events. Her work has premiered at Sundance, SXSW, Tribeca, Palm Springs and Bentonville film festivals. She serves on the Board of Directors of New York Women in Film & Television, the Advisory Board for the WGA & MOME’s Made in NY Writers Room Fellowship, and the Advisory Board for Catalyst Content Festival. LinkedIn recently featured her in a digital series about inclusion in the film industry, and she has previously been featured by A&E Network and appeared in The Washington Post, IndieWire, OUT Magazine, Slate, Filmmaker Magazine, SXSW Magazine and more. 


Resource Links






NewFest website

Contact: contactus@newfest.org


About NYWIFT Talks

NYWIFT Talks is a new weekly series to bring updated news and vital information about the impact of COVID-19 on the media and entertainment industry. Industry professionals will be in conversation discussing what you need to know about theatrical releases, digital advances, virtual tools, festival opportunities, production updates and more. 


Watch More: NYWIFT Programming Goes Digital