Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Film Reels Set to Roll at the Coronado Island Film Festival

Gearing up for its sixth anniversary, the Coronado Island Film Festival (CIFF) is set for its opening scene on Wednesday, November 10, with the first event of the five days, Living Through It (Surviving Suicide) showing at 11 am, in the Sacred Heart Parish Hall Theater. The film takes an intimate and personal look into the subject and features survivors of the Coronado Bridge, followed by a panel with filmmaker Daniel Kennedy and Safe Harbor representatives. (This screening is open to the community and badges are not required)

You don’t want to miss the Kick-Off Bash and Taste of the Festival at 5:30 pm on November 10, in the Nautilus Room in the Community Center. The Taste of the Festival features delicacies from more than 17 Coronado culinary venues, as well as a hosted beer and wine garden, an exclusive signature cocktail, and dancing to the Cool Fever Band. Tickets for this must-attend event are $45, which gives attendees the best way to get acquainted with all that the CIFF has to offer. Find tickets and badges, ranging from $15 to $345, available to purchase for all festival screenings and events.

Executive Director Merridee Book has been with CIFF for three years, but this is her first year as artistic and executive director for a full festival, which was hosted on a smaller scale virtually in 2020 due to COVID. She notes that even with their hands tied until June, when they could start booking venues, they have since “hit the ground running and have worked non-stop to make this the best festival ever, with an amazing lineup and caliber of attendees.”

Her team of eight staff members and more than 200 volunteers are working to put on a first class, safe film festival with something for everyone. Attendees will be required to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test when picking up their badges or tickets, and then receive a wristband that is good for the rest of the events.

Some not-to-miss events include the “Salute to Veterans” on Veterans Day, Thursday, November 11, from 1:30 to 3:30 pm, in the Coronado Performing Arts Center (CPAC) main theater (at Coronado High School), complete with music by the 45-piece Coronado Concert Band and Musica Vitale. Keynote speaker Justin Roberts, a veteran military chaplain and filmmaker, will share the sacrifices our soldiers have made on behalf of our nation. (Free and open to the community, but reservations are required as well as masks while in the theater)

On Friday, November 12 at noon in Sacred Heart Parish Hall Theater, The Geena Davis Institute of Gender in Media will present Ageism: “Women Over 50” research and expert panel, moderated by CEO Madeline Di Nonno with Geena Davis live streamed, along with panelists: Former Chair of Searchlight Pictures, Award winning producer Lisa Bruce, Award-winning screenwriter and actor, Jenny Lumet, and Film Director Anna Chi.

Masterlabs are a new addition this year and offer educational insight on a diverse array of subjects in an intimate setting. Costume Design Masterlab with celebrated designer Mayes Rubeo will be held on Saturday, November 13 at noon. Rubeo has designed for a host of movies including Apocalypto, Avatar, Thor, and JoJo Rabbit for which she was Oscar-nominated, and garnered an Emmy nomination for her wardrobe transformation in WandaVision and will share inside details of fashion in the film industry.

From Book, to Script, to Screen is another riveting Masterlab hosted by successful filmmaker and author Amber Edwards and New York Times’ best-selling author, Justin Scott, where the two will share the process of how major Hollywood and streaming studios are picking up the film rights to books for upcoming projects.

There’s so much to discover — like Errol Flynn’s connection to Coronado… Which events will Richard Dreyfuss and other Hollywood celebrities attend? Which countries are showcased? And do any local shorts make the cut? — just to name a few of the interesting happenings of the festival, designed for novice film lovers as well as genuine cinephiles.

Everyone is sure to find something of interest with close to 100 films showcased, often with three to four events going on simultaneously to choose from, including documentaries, student films, animated films, culinary cinema, international films, and classic films. Some films that piqued my interest are: The Best Families, Peace by Chocolate, The Andy Baker Tape, Ingrediente, King Richard, and Cruise of the Zaca, as well as the local shorts and documentary showcases.

Purchase your festival badge or buy single tickets early, as seating is limited. To see the full line up, buy festival badges and tickets, student passes or passes to Leonard Maltin’s Star-studded Celebrity Tribute Dinner at The Del, go to



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Jennifer Velez
Jennifer fell in love with Coronado as a teenager while visiting a college friend. She vowed that someday she would make it her home, and that dream has recently become a reality. Fast forward through completing college with a BA in Journalism, Public Relations and Communications, she then went on to work with a variety of clients. She also taught Journalism and coordinated fundraising for her children’s school, and was a staff writer for San Diego Family Magazine and contributed to other parenting publications. Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to:
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