Christel Cornilsen

Christel Cornilsen is an international filmmaker harnessing the power of storytelling as a tool for social change. Based in LA, the director, writer and producer has worked all over the world as a commercial and documentary filmmaker, focused on socially-conscious, investigative and comedic storytelling. Christel wrote and directed An Idiot’s Guide to Climate Changestarring Hollywood star Rainn Wilson from The Office and climate change activist Greta Thunberg. She also produced and shot for the Emmy-winning US TV show INTERVENTION, focusing on the subject of drug and alcohol addiction. Her work has attracted millions of viewers all over the world, engaging audiences in powerful conversations about some of the most pressing issues facing our planet.

Growing up in Australia is where she first got her love for cinema and dance, which took her to Los Angeles at 21. Far from the hyper-local experiences of her youth, growing up in a small town in Queensland, Christel’s documentary work has taken her to remote social-impact projects all around the world – from the streets of Kolkata to villages in Malawi, and the boardrooms of Washington DC. For over a decade, she has worked on dozens of feature films, documentaries, unscripted TV, music videos, and commercials, for leading institutions and networks such as A&E, Discovery, VICE, Participant, The White House and The Academy of Motion Pictures. She has worked alongside Hollywood stars such as Morgan Freeman and Tom Hanks, as well as legendary directors such as Stephen Spielberg and Tom Shadyac. 

Christel started filming her first documentary at 17 throughout Africa, India and Europe, where she started working with various non-government organisations, focusing on improving the lives of women and children. While studying a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Creative Writing at the University of Technology Sydney, as well as studying International Journalism and Documentary Film at the University of Westminster in London, Christel was awarded the Jo Wilton Memorial Award for Women, recognising her work. 

As a member of the Australian Directors’ Guild, Christel is a rising contemporary female voice in cinema, both directing, shooting, writing and producing much of her documentary work. She believes in pushing the boundaries of cinema and using it to spark conversation that ideally translates into tangible, positive social change. Christel looks forward to bringing her work back home in the near future and being a new voice for Aussie cinema.