The NZ Games Festival board of directors select and lead the committee each year. As the beloved parents of NZGF, they are responsible for critical festival decisions and overseeing production.

claire barilla

conference director

Returning for her 3rd year on the NZGF Directors Board, Claire is responsible for managing our flagship event and old namesake, the Play by Play Conference. Claire is the Producer at Studio Mayday in Wellington, previously working at PikPok and Loveshack. A regular advocate for diversity and inclusivity, Claire and the developer events organisers strive towards creating fun and welcoming spaces for all developers. <3

alex woodward

chief pr officer

Returning to the NZGF Committee for a third year, Alex has worn a number of different hats throughout his time with the festival. Starting as a social media manager, Alex picked up the coordination of NZGF-branded events in 2020 and has taken on the role as Chief PR Officer for 2021.

Alex works by day as a freelance games writer and marketing content creator, then by night feeds his ever-growing dice collection so he can eventually release an army of Tarrasques upon his D&D groups.

navi brouwer

committee director

This is Navi’s 5th year as a part of the NZ Games Festival/Play by Play crew and she’s delighted to be a part of the fun once again. She has also had the pleasure of organising Global Game Jam Wellington, KiwiJam, and Kiwi Game Starter and is helping with Game Developers of Wellington. Navi began this wild ride after leaving Vancouver, Canada and starting as a QA Tester at PikPok. She jumped next to Dinosaur Polo Club as a Producer and is now a Project Manager with Weta Digital. She’d like to give a thankful shout-out to her supportive family, James and Mochi.

jess woodward

creative director

Having been involved with the festival since 2017, this year Jess has taken the wheel as Creative Director. With 8 years of advertising experience as a creative, designer, mac op and team leader, Jess is no stranger to this line of work. A strong believer in marrying creativity with context, past attendees may remember her for her 2017 Play by Play presentation “Type Talks: What your game’s branding is saying for you”.

Some of her proudest gaming achievements include showing up two hours late to a date with her now-husband because she was too engrossed in Virtue’s Last Reward, and winning a PS4 on launch by professing her undying love for Final Fantasy IX.

In her spare time, Jess plays mum to two cats, mains a cleric and a tinkerer in two seperate DnD campaigns with her brother Alex, and sings like everyone’s listening.

chantelle cole

sponsorship director

Chantelle is the Studio Director at Dinosaur Polo Club, the Wellington-based indie studio behind the award-winning subway game, Mini Metro, and Apple Arcade launch title, Mini Motorways.

Previously working in the music industry, Chantelle is no stranger to events. She genuinely loves connecting with people to build strong, rewarding relationships, and was responsible for managing sponsor relationships and coordinating nationwide events as the Partnerships Executive of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. 


lucy weekley

treasurer/venues manager

Lucy is returning to NZGF for a second year after volunteering during 2017 (and falling in love with Wellington in the process — she was Seattle-based when she first attended Play By Play!). In the intervening years she has served on the New Zealand Game Developers Association board, and organized NZGDC, NZ’s largest game industry event. 

Lucy is celebrating a decade in the game and tech industry in 2020, having worked in Quality Assurance on many notable franchises and projects. She is currently a QA Analyst at Weta Workshop’s Interactive division. You can catch her around Wellington with her very popular dog, Beatrix.

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    NoneThe Guest PlateThe Student’s SliceThe Tactile Taste: Excellence in Physical GamesThe Composed Segment: Excellence in AudioThe Decorative Piece: Excellence in Visual ArtThe Perfect Recipe: Excellence in DesignThe Poetic Serving: Excellence in NarrativeSlice of Heaven: Grand Prize