We caught up with the extraordinary mother/daughter team behind the amazing Chelsea Film Festival, Ingrid and Sonia Baptiste
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Tell us more about the Chelsea Film Festival and how it all got started!
Strangely enough, the idea of building a platform for emerging filmmakers came out after my mother and I, plus 6 other people were involved in a terrible car accident in my neighborhood in Chelsea, New York. I had 7 broken ribs, my spine was fractured, spleen was bleeding, a concussion and passed out on the scene of the accident. I was basically dead for a few minutes. During my recovery, I had a lot of time to think, a bit like what we are currently living at the present moment with this quarantine, but add the physical pain and emotional trauma to it.
One morning, I had this epiphany, I had this idea, that was bigger than myself, didn't understand the magnitude of what I wanted to do and shared it with my mother, who was taking care of me (while she was also traumatized and injured). She literally said: "My daughter, you're crazy!". I will never forget, but I was able to convince her that was what I wanted to do and had a crystal clear plan in my head! (laughs).
You are quite the mother and daughter team, what is it like working with one another?
It's a dream come true! I am grateful everyday, even though I didn't understand how lucky I was at the beginning, because our working relationship didn't start with the Chelsea Film Festival. It started way back when I was 15 years old and was helping my mom at the advertising agency she was running.
What other projects/businesses are you working on?
We have so many, I am also an actor, my mom is my manager. We're also working on building a movie studio in Martinique, in the French West Indies, where my mother was born. Every year, I come up with a new challenge, otherwise I feel bored for some reason! (laughs)
How have you been curing boredom during this time?
Ha! That's funny you ask, not at all, because my mind races like crazy in a time of "stillness" like what happened with me after my accident. Ideas come to me very easily, then I ponder them and execute them.
What is your favorite activity to do together?
We love traveling together, doing Kundalini yoga or any type of outdoor activity (bike riding, hiking).
Going to the movies of course!
What is the biggest lesson you've learned from each other?
Ingrid: I've learned to be resilient because of her.
Sonia: For me, it's to believe in myself.
Favorite thing about being mother and daughter?
Ingrid: Feeling supported always!
Sonia: To be able to share so many activities we both love!
How did you celebrate Mother's Day?
Mother's Day is June 6th in France, so we plan to celebrate it via FaceTime, I guess (smile).
What events/online activities do you have coming up?
We present a virtual program every Friday at 12pm EST, called CHELSEA FILM FESTIVAL TALKS TV SERIES. It is co-hosted by our friend Emma Bell. We invite Stars & Creators of binge-worthy TV series to speak with our audience about their work. Some of the past shows included: Unorthodox, Orange Is The New Black, Fauda, Grey's Anatomy and next on the list is: Money Heist aka La Casa de Papel on Netflix. Tune in on Friday, May 22nd at 12pm EST to meet the Stars of this hit TV show!
We designed chairs for your friend and new director, Emma Bell, who won at last years Chelsea Film Festival, what did you think of her chairs?
We love them!!!
If you could design your own chair artwork for yourself or the festival or brand, what would you put on it? What tips do you have for others looking to design their own chair?
I would put my mother's name and mine as two separate chairs of course! (laughs).