In the midst of a year that will surely be remembered as one like no other, Coronado Island Film Festival is pleased to add a significant new award to this year’s festival lineup: The Leonard Maltin Tribute Award, the first of which will be presented by Maltin himself during a unique live-stream awards ceremony on Saturday, November 14. This event will be available online and open to worldwide viewership.
The inaugural award will be presented to filmmaker Chloé Zhao for her groundbreaking achievement on Searchlight Pictures’ upcoming feature film, “Nomadland.” Zhao directed, wrote, edited and co-produced the film, which stars Academy-Award-winning actress Frances McDormand in an astonishing performance as a woman in her sixties who, after losing everything in the Great Recession, embarks on a journey in a van through the American West, becoming a modern-day nomad. Most of the people appearing in the film with McDormand are non-actors, real life nomads, who live on the road.
“Nomadland” will be CIFF’s opening night film, set to screen at the South Bay Drive-in Theater in Imperial Beach on Thursday, November 12. Tickets are “per car” and are available now at coronadofilmfest.com. The film had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival, where it won the top honor, the Golden Lion, as well as Toronto Film Festival’s Audience Award.
“The Maltin Award will be our festival’s top award from this year forward, and we wanted it to have a name worthy of the honor,” says festival executive director Merridee Book. “We all agreed it had to be Leonard – he’s been a giant part of our festival since day one. Each year we will select one individual whose cinematic achievement has lifted up and inspired the film industry and world-wide audiences alike,” adds Book.
Leonard Maltin, CIFF’s esteemed Festival Host and Honorary Jury President, is a respected film critic, author and historian who is also recognizable for his thirty-year run on television’s Entertainment Tonight and frequent appearances on Turner Classic Movies. His popular class at the USC School of Cinematic Arts in Los Angeles always has a waiting list. He is a generous and trusted advisor to CIFF and a tireless participant in festival activities. He and his wife Alice have become beloved CIFF friends and “honorary Coronadans.”
The festival’s annual star-studded Leonard Maltin Celebrity Tribute dinner + award presentation, hosted at Hotel del Coronado, the festival presenting sponsor, is the most highly anticipated signature event each year. “Until this year, of course,” says Book; “this year Leonard will be hosting our Jury Awards via live-stream, but we truly cannot wait to return to The Del’s iconic Crown Room that is so fitting for our prestigious awards gala!”
“This year is our fifth anniversary year, with a lot of good momentum and local support going, and it would have broken our hearts to cancel,” adds festival founder Doug St. Denis. “We wanted to honor the valiant filmmakers who found a way to tell their stories against all odds after so much has been cancelled due to COVID.”
CIFF 2020 has entered the virtual world with open, experimental hearts, and they invite you to join in this new and exciting experience. Visit the festival website for virtual access pass and ticket information and for the full program guide.