Executive Director & CEO
Robert Strand is a philanthropist, environmental advocate, filmmaker and the Executive Director & CEO of global non–profit, World Water Film Festival (WWFF). Robert applies his 30-year background as a renowned Creative Brand Strategist and Executive Coach to his passion for water justice, leading him to build this film festival to focus on water. In addition, Robert is a Meisner Acting Technique trained actor and has appeared on film and television.
Marie-Cecile is a Global Licensing, Business Development and Branding expert with 20+ years of experience managing Consumer Products programs for leading Entertainment, Pop Culture, Educational & Sports properties such as the NBA, Marvel, Sesame Workshop and CBS. Trilingual (French, English, Spanish), Marie-Cecile is a creative and strategic problem-solver with the ability to tackle complex issues.
Director of Strategy & Operations
A creative strategist and business operations expert. Zainab has 15+ years of experience consulting branded destinations in the Middle East. Zainab has an MA in strategic communications from Columbia University. She co-founded The Citizen’s Foundation - Young Professionals NYC Chapter and has raised $1M+ for education in Pakistan. She is passionate about bringing attention to issues that impact women and girls around the world.
Talent, Entertainment & Cross Cultural Outreach Director
Keir is a New York-based entrepreneur, businessman and former music executive at Def Jam, Elektra Records and Warner Bros Records. As a panel & showcase coordinator for the SXSW Music Festival in Austin, Texas, he created the first rap/urban music component. He is the founder & Executive Director for the Organization of Black Designers and is a principal in the marketing firm Rhythm Alchemy Creative Consultants.
Director of Programming
Lilly is a Jill-of-all-trades. She can be seen acting in several films such as Electric Jesus and Tapochki, and wrote, directed, and starred in Thumb War! a feature that won awards at the Portland Film Festival, Reedy Reels and West Sound Film Festival in Seattle Washington (where she took best actress). Her recent theatre credits include Annelle (Steel Magnolias) Trouble in Mind (Judy) and Behind the Scenes (Anna).
Screening & Selection Committee
Linda Lilienfeld is a film and picture researcher with 35+ years of experience in history, natural science, and water. She has contributed to the National Gallery of Arts and projects ranging from PBS documentaries to museum exhibits, festivals and books. Linda has created Let’s Talk About Water a project that advocates for climate action and communication through the power of film. She also created Mayors Make Movies.
Director of Global Account Activation & Technical Advisor
Julissa Mackey is an international tech leader who has dedicated her career in engineering to mission-driven organizations in the renewable energy sector in New York City. A strong advocate for the importance of female representation in STEM, Julissa has partnered with organizations such as Power To Fly, focusing on empowering women to pursue, advance, and excel in their technical careers.
Media Relations Director
Valeria is a marketing communications expert with 15+ years of experience. She has built her career working across consumer products, entertainment and technology industries. She is passionate about helping consumers be better and think differently. Her client experience includes work for Beyond Meat, Blue Man Group, Hi-Arts NYC, KASHI, Siggi’s, Volvic, and more.
Director of Educational Outreach
Irene is a Boston University graduate and is the owner of North Star Fitness, in Philadelphia PA. She is a Meisner trained actress and her theatre experience includes co-founding Intrepid Theatre Company. She has many years of experience in building outreach and development, in the worlds of fitness and theatre. Irene is thrilled to assist in bridging creative artists’ efforts to the World Water Short Film Festival’s upcoming projects!
Director of Community Outreach
Guy is an author and experienced senior analyst with a history of working in the patent research industry. He is skilled in entrepreneurship, public speaking, patent law, and biotechnology. Guy loves water. Always has. Guy earned an MS in Biological Oceanography. Bilingual (English & Italian), Guy is excited to bring people together who love water; cool, running water that has not been polluted or over exploited in which you can splash!
An award-winning filmmaker, Cecily Tyler, has 25+ years of experience as a journalist, educator, TV director/producer and filmmaker while supporting leadership, innovation, social impact and community engagement through film, technology and art. She has consulted and project managed in media-capacity building with non-profits, private-sector organizations, and government officials internationally in the U.S.A, Mongolia, Ghana, and The Netherlands.
Derrick has spent the past 25+ years helping organizations release the full potential of their brands. His experience is as extensive as it is diverse, encompassing the disciplines of business strategy, brand strategy, advertising, sales promotion, and public relations. At The Blake Project he manages daily operations and serves as a senior consultant, helping businesses and brands define and articulate what makes them competitive and valuable.
We are a mostly a group of Meisner acting technique trained actors who studied at the Ward Studio, which was founded by Wendy Ward in 1996 in New York City. Wendy’s impact on her students went beyond the classroom and the stage.
Wendy died in 2021 at 61 from cancer, and in her farewell message to her students she stated that her death was not a tragedy; she lived life on her own terms, did what she loved (teaching – all over the world), and created new theatre.
A group of us have been challenging each other to create content – not just for ourselves but also to translate our Meisner work into something with a greater purpose.
We've been inspired to create this film festival and dedicate it to our dear Wendy and the power of turning art into action.