Sarah J. Cornelius has more than ten years of experience in the entertainment industry as an actor in professional theatre, film, television, music, commercials and print. She is a multiple award winner for lead acting at major film festivals. She has also held the positions of producer, writer, composer, and executive assistant.
Sarah is originally from Madison, Wisconsin. From her schooldays in the Midwest to her first years as an adult in New York City, she performed in over 30 plays and musicals, including the title role in Ibsen’s “Hedda Gabler”, Sally Bowles in “Cabaret”, Alice in "Closer", Eliza Doolittle in “My Fair Lady”, Sheila in “A Chorus Line”, the Narrator in “Joseph...", and the title role in “Gigi”.
Ms. Cornelius made her screen debut in the acclaimed short film “Leave You In Me”. Her vulnerably raw work in the film garnered her Best Actress Award wins at the NYC PictureStart Film Festival and LA’s Show Off Your Short Film Festival. She additionally received a Best Actress nomination at The Method Fest in Los Angeles.
When Sarah made the move to Los Angeles, she immediately played primetime network guest star roles on “Ghost Whisperer”, “Monk” and “Mental”. Her national commercials range from "AT&T" to multiple spots for "Dodge". While moving to LA was partially motivated by her acting pursuits, Sarah saw it as an opportunity to explore what it meant to be a creator behind the camera.
Ms. Cornelius met director-producer Rick Rosenthal (HALLOWEEN II, BAD BOYS, TRANSPARENT) as an actor on his set for the FOX drama "Mental" in 2008. As she began independently writing and producing her own original short films and web projects (PAINFULLY PALIN, BEYOND ME), Mr. Rosenthal invited her to collaborate with him in a development capacity. In the fall of 2014, he brought her onboard full-time as Creative Executive and Chief of Staff at his award-winning independent film company Whitewater Films.
While at Whitewater, Ms. Cornelius has comprehensively contributed to development, pre-production, on set and off set administration, post-production, distribution, and festival relations. Sarah has functioned as Executive Assistant on seven feature films and one pilot. The comedy film BAND OF ROBBERS was directed by the Nee Brothers who have gone on to helm the upcoming MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE (planned release,2021). Kerem Sanga’s FIRST GIRL I LOVED was the Sundance 2016 Winner, Best of NEXT. STANDING UP, FALLING DOWN, the Billy Crystal and Ben Schwartz starrer, premiered at Tribeca 2019. And the pilot HALFWAY THERE with a cast including Matthew Lillard, Sarah Shahi, Esai Morales and Blythe Danner won Sundance’s inaugural Episodic Showcase in 2018. In addition to production support, Ms. Cornelius manages Whitewater’s day-to-day operations.
Ms. Cornelius is an avid screenwriting coach and enjoys working with amateur and experienced writers. She has supported the development of many scripts that have gone on to place in major screenplay competitions. Her many return clients value her keen eye for story and structure and her ability to communicate conceptual notes in a direct and effective manner.
As Ms. Cornelius's ambitions as an actor continue to evolve, she is increasingly drawn to producing film and television. She finds both sides of the camera to be rewarding and inspiring. She married her partner, actor and entrepreneur Curt Cornelius in 2016. They share a home with their two dogs, Lola and Edgar.