New York Festivals Television & Film Awards Grand Jury 2020 Interview profiles prominent award-winning Broadcast executives from around the globe. As industry leaders, they understand the elements that go into creating compelling award-winning nonfiction content.
2020 NYF TV & Film Awards Grand Jury member Wil Gelner is Chief Creative Officer for ENGINE, a global agency that provides services such as insights, content, distribution and technology to help brands including Red Bull, Nike, Disney, Google, HBO, Vans and Liberty Mutual make connections. Gelner is responsible for providing creative leadership across ENGINE US and driving 360 campaign creative across its wide array of iconic clients. Before joining ENGINE, he was Chief Creative Officer and Managing Partner at 180LA, which he spent 10 years building.
His work has been recognized by Effies, One Show, D&AD, Clios, Art Director’s Club, AICP, Andys and TED. He has won more than 26 Cannes Lions, including a Titanium, 2 Grand Prix and a Grand Prix for Good.
NYF: How do you think being an award winner yourself will help evaluate this year’s submission?
Wil Gelner: I think it’s important. Award shows set the bar for what greatness looks like and move the industry forward. The experience of judging—and winning—gives you clarity about the type of work that was recognized in the past and why it matters, and it shapes your view of what is award-worthy looking ahead.
NYF: Where do you see the industry evolving in the next 5 years?
Wil Gelner: The ad industry is going through nothing less than total upheaval. One side says hard-core, data-driven, optimized digital ads are the answer. Others see that approach as purely tactical—a short-sided and sure-fire way to erode your brand. The next few years will see these two worlds become one.
NYF: What are the biggest challenges facing content creators in today’s world?
Wil Gelner: Mindset and approach. Content has always been the creative’s No. 1 job—it was just in a different form previously and delivered at a different pace and cost. Being able to create great content quickly doesn’t necessarily mean you have to compromise quality. With the right approach, you can do amazing things and even increase the volume.
NYF: What would you love to do as your next project?
Wil Geler: My dream would be to work on a project for a truly brave client with outrageous ambition.