CORE FESTIVAL TEAM
Rachel Bailit / Host
Rachel Bailit is an Actress and Acting Teacher at The Lee Strasberg Theater and Film Institute.
Rachel’s has two upcoming film projects: “Eight Days in Cabo” with American Idol star Trenyce Cobbins and will film “Everyone Asked About you” this January opposite Veteran actor, John Lacy. Rachel has a successful podcast “Diary of an Actress” with high profile Hollywood guests. Rachel’s other acting credits include Paramount’s “Festival In Cannes” directed by Henry Jaglom. She played alongside Jim Carrey in Ron Howard’s “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas”. Rachel has appeared in many television shows including “The Conan O’Brien Show”, “Desperate Housewives”, “Jon Benjamin Has a Van”, “Tim and Eric’s Awesome Show”, “NYPD Blue” and the role of “Marissa” in “General Hospital”.
Rachel teaches worldwide. This past October she taught a week long Strasberg Masterclass with David Lee Strasberg in Mallorca. She has taught at DreamWorks Animation, Warner Animation Group and The Getty Museum. She brought Method Acting to Boston and continues to teach at Boston Casting.
Rachel specializes in working one on one with public speakers, elected officials and
leaders creating opportunities for genuine communication, effective change, and growth.
She is committed to teaching Veterans as a member of the SAG-AFTRA Military Committee. She also works with Veterans at New politics and Veterans in Media and Entertainment.
Maarten Cornelis / Founder
Maarten Cornelis is an entertainment veteran with experience in the industry stretching over two decades. He is an Actor, Producer, Light Designer, and Director, and has rubbed shoulders with some of the great artists in the world. He is a known Light Design and Producer on Broadway, in NYC, and is a frequent guest Light Designer at the exclusive, Carnegie Hall.
Over the years, Maarten has worked as Technical Director at various venues and has had the honor of designing the lights for numerous live events, working for Francis Ford Coppola, Stephen Rivkin, Lloyd J. Schwartz, Martin Landau, Mark Rydell, Dino De Laurentiis, Ennio Morricone, John Legend, Common, Jerry Seinfeld, and many more.
In 2020, Maarten became a partner at the newly renovated “Park Theatre” in Union City, NJ, where he produces a lot of his own events and theatre productions. He currently has running productions in New York City and Los Angeles – these productions include Frankenstein, Wicked City Blues, King of the Lighthouse, and FunikiJam.
Maarten worked as an Entertainment Specialist for Rocket Video in Los Angeles from 2002 to 2005. Although having studied film at school, it is here that he learned everything about cinema. From the best independent cinema to the experimental, and from the blockbuster to the classic. His job was to work with world famous directors and The Academy and help them with their research on upcoming projects. Ultimately, introducing him to many filmmakers and masterpieces of cinema.
Maarten is a graduate of the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in Los Angeles. He was also the leader of their in-house theatre company “The September Company” from 2002 to 2005.
Kris De Meester / Curator
Kris De Meester is a director, producer, and entrepreneur known for his independent films. He started his career in 1990, taking on different roles with many of the film industry’s finest. Over the decades, he has teamed up with numerous award-winning directors. Such included big names like Lars von Trier, Terence Davies, Thomas Vinterberg, Timo Vuorensola, Wolfgang Becker, Philippe Grandrieux, and Koen Mortier.
With a genuine conviction that environments can affect human behavior, the cinema producer translated his theory into the writing of two feature films. His esteemed direction in both put him in the limelight and accelerated his reputation on the global film scene.
At the same time, Kris also took on roles as a casting director in a number of films. His repertoire includes titles such as "A Quiet Passion", "Ex Drummer", "Ich und Kaminski" and "Un Lac". He was also the casting director for "Nymphomaniac" Volumes I & II. Meanwhile, as a producer, Kris has worked on dozens of award-winning independent films to date. Such include "Little Wing", "Vessels", "Share with me Your Brightest Colors", "Menthol", and "All About the Feathers". I
With time, the director and producer’s acclaimed reputation and deep understanding of cinema steered him to become a film curator in the vibrant film festival landscape. Since 2015, he has taken part as a global curator in many mainstay events such as the Brussels Independent Film Festival, the Venice Film Week, the Hong Kong Arthouse Film Festival, Super Shorts London Film Festival, and the Sydney World Film Festival.