Chelsea Film Festival

Women in Focus

Bestia de Cardo - picture courtesy of chelsea film festival

In its third iteration, the Chelsea Film Festival, which showcases movies on global issues by independent filmmakers, will highlight women in film and media. The festival will run from Oct. 15-18.

The festival was created in 2013, shortly after Co-Founder Ingrid Jean-Baptiste, a former child actress and arts reporter from France moved to Chelsea in 2010 and was in a car accident with her mother in her new neighborhood as she started to pursue acting again.

We had this car accident that changed my perspective of my career as an actress, so I had to be quick on my feet and think about something else,” said Jean-Baptiste.

Instead of allowing this incident to derail her love of films, she co-founded the festival with her mother, Sonia Jean-Baptiste.

While I was healing at home and also visiting different doctors, I had the idea of supporting emerging filmmakers and creating and independent film industry community,” says Jean-Baptiste.

Coming from France, and having traveled all around the world, Jean-Baptiste wanted the festival to focus on international themes.

Global issues, is something we wanted to have as a focus because it is a film festival for a purpose. We screen films that have a very important message to share,” says Jean-Baptiste.

Day release- chelsea film festival

Day Release is from Spanish-Australian director Geoffrey Cowper, Bestia de Cardo is from Virginia Sanchez Navarro of the Dominican Republic and Semper Fidel was produced in conjunction with Cuba, the United States, and the United Kingdom by Robert Pietri.

Semper Fidel -courtesy of chelsea film festival

Semper Fidel is about a Cuban-American Marine that goes to Havana after his father’s passing to get in touch with his roots. Bestia de Cardo explores class structures in a small town as a wealthy Dominican woman falls in love with a tailor. Day Release follows a parolee that witnesses an armed robbery.

The films at the festival this year feature women directors, writers, producers and themes.

Having not had a theme before, the mother-daughter duo were quick to come to one this year.

“The past two years was very broad and we had a large section of different themes within the focus of global issues,” said Jean-Baptiste. Needing a different angle, the women decided “to be more specific on what global issues … to focus on and women in film and media,” came to mind she adds.

This year the festival will also incorporate two different programs: The Reel Magic Hour on Saturday, Oct. 17 at the Fashion Institute of Technology, and the Kino & Vino monthly series (except Dec. and Jan.), which will start on Nov. 9th at Bow Tie Cinemas in Chelsea.

The Reel Magic Hour will be a series of panels of industry insiders that will be presented at this year’s festival, which is completely brand new,” says Jean-Baptiste. Even though “that will be specifically focused on finance and distribution, it’s also a big family. A big cinema family,” she adds.

The Kino & Vino a wine mixer and networking opportunity, will have Q&A sessions for the 15 finalists and present the Grand Prix winner of the international competition. The winner will receive a certificate from Panavision covering equipment expenses for his or her next film and a mini raging bull statue similar to the one on Wall Street from the same artist, Arturo Di Modica.

The proceeds of the festival will be going towards the Chelsea Film Institute, a program that will give access to free art classes in dance, acting and directing to teenagers.

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