Nancy Rosenthal

Founder & Executive Director

Filmmaker, passionate conservationist, avid sailor and scuba diver, Nancy Rosenthal made a variety of award-winning films about the natural world for National Geographic before exploring contemporary issues and the performing arts as subjects. The independent feature film Last Dance Nancy worked on was shortlisted for an Academy Award.

Her talent for discovering films that tell powerful stories in new ways, combined with her keen eye for up-and-coming filmmakers, makes her a frequent juror for film festivals around the world. A kindred spirit with all adventurers, Nancy strongly believes in the power of film to engage New Yorkers in exploration, conservation and environmental advocacy, hence the founding of the New York WILD Film Festival.

She is an active member of the Explorers Club, Co-Chairing the Explorers Club Annual Dinner (ECAD) in 2016. She joined a flagged expedition to Papua New Guinea for a documentary film project, HeadHunt Revisited. Nancy is also a proud Trustee of Egan Maritime Institute in Nantucket, MA.

Gillian Coyne

Festival Manager

Gillian is a graduate of King’s College London, where she completed her Master’s dissertation on the effects of film festival digitalization due to the pandemic, particularly regarding issues of accessibility and industry opportunities. Driven by a love of travel and passion for connecting with others, Gillian has worked with migrant communities in Morocco, studied documentary filmmaking in Rwanda during her time as an undergraduate at Bates College, and taught English in Luxembourg through the Fulbright Program.

Gillian has worked for film festivals in Europe, the U.K., and the U.S., and currently serves as an Advisory Board member for the Bates College Film Festival. After many years abroad, she is excited to be back to New York City and bring the 10th annual New York WILD Film Festival to life!

Lilinaz Hakimi

Festival Intern

Lilinaz Hakimi is a current senior in the Columbia University and Sciences Po Dual BA program, obtaining a degree in both Political sciences focused on the MENA and Film & Media studies. With a strong passion for film, she has been active in the world of cinema since a young age. From interning at various international production companies, volunteering and judging at film festivals, to making her very first short film this past year, Lilinaz has been getting a taste of what it means to create and learn in the film industry. Born and raised in Shiraz, Iran, Lilinaz aims to use the power of her lens to shed light on the stories of her people and culture alongside other Middle Eastern countries.

Prior to arriving in New York City, Lilinaz headed various student associations during her time at Sciences Po, notably organizing an on the ground research trip for her fellow students as well as fundraising for refugee legal aid in Greece. Upon graduation she hopes to continue her work at the intersection of film and current events, shedding light on the realities of our world through intimate and honest portrayals.

Darren Peterson

Audio Visual Manager

Sculptor, animator, storyteller and craftsman. Darren is an avid world traveler and lover of the outdoors. He has a deep connection with animals and one day plans to open an animal sanctuary.

He is the co-founder and a senior producer of Aspire Studios, a visual storytelling company. Aspire Studios is proud to represent New York WILD in a range of categories including the festival animations, illustrations, and AV management.

Darren has been with the festival for 9 years. His eye for film and constant problem solving allows him to manage the technical aspects of the festival and ensure that everything runs smoothly. He created the New York WILD logo animation and the 5th anniversary video “Five WILD Years.” For the 10th year, Darren and his team at Aspire created the 10 year festival animation.

Special Thanks to our 2023 WILD Volunteers!

Alina Luo
Giorgio Ghiotto
Hannah Grow

Ignacio Leon
Isabelle Brown
Kara Bartek

Kimberly Cionca
Madison Eastman
Penny Bustamante

Rosie Feerick
Shane Smith
Yingda Wang