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Alumni Spotlight: Ingrid Jean-Baptiste

It seems like there is nothing Ingrid Jean-Baptiste cannot do. In addition to acting, she is an award-winning producer, founder of the Chelsea Film Festival, activist, and so much more. During quarantine she has taken the time to learn and start teaching Kundalini Yoga, a type of yoga that is beneficial for your health and allows you to focus your mind for acting. “When you are doing it,” said Ingrid, “you don’t realize how much it helps your health and frees your mind.”

Chelsea Film Festival

Ingrid Jean Baptiste at making an announcement at the Chelsea Film Festival

The Chelsea Film Festival, founded in 2013, has grown significantly in the last eight years. “It really has been steady growth, organic growth.” Last year, the festival boasted 100 films from 25 different countries. For Ingrid, the 2019 festival was actually one of the proudest moments of her career so far. With a panel of judges that included Matt Dillon, she said she “was very proud” at how the festival turned out. “There were so many artists who came to share their stories… and powerful films raising awareness about different subject matter”

In 2016, Ingrid received the WOW Award for International Women’s Empowerment for her work as founder and producer of the festival. Throughout the festival, Ingrid works hard to inspire and uplift the women around her and other women filmmakers. “Our voices should be heard. We should have our stories so more people can identify themselves [on screen]… It is important to have that viability.”

Ingrid was also honored with an Audience Award of the French Citizen Living Abroad at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2017. She was one of five French Citizens honored that year for being “ambassadors of France abroad.”

Just being myself… being a female of color producing a film festival. That representation matters… Being the founder and director of an organization like the Chelsea Film Festival inspires people and helps them understand, yes it is possible.

Ingrid Jean-Baptiste on how she empowers women

“Strasberg Changed My Life”

Ingrid’s training at the Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute has helped her significantly in her acting career and personal life. “The training is so deep, so ingrained in you when you do the 2 year program like I did.”

“The training [at Strasberg] gives you the ability to believe in yourself and not be scared to make mistakes… Strasberg changed my life.”

Ingrid Jean-Baptiste on Method Acting training at LSTFI

In 2018, Ingrid had a leading role in the short film Goyave (French for Guava). Ingrid toured “with the film to many different film festivals across the world,” including the FESPACO Festival in Burkina Faso, Africa, Sonoma International Film Festival (Best Short Film Nominee), and, of course, Ingrid’s very own Chelsea Film Festival (Best Cinematography Winner). Even though the story was unique to Martinique, a region of France in the Caribbean Islands, “it was a story that resonated with many stories that happened in different countries.” Be on the lookout for Goyave and Ingrid’s other recent film, Instinct Animal, on streaming platforms in the near future!

As a multi-talented artist, Ingrid encourages others in the performance industry to discover talents outside of acting. “It is key” she says,”actually, to explore different creative fields… it could be screenwriting, it could be painting, it could be editing!”