Thursday, December 2, 2021

It’s Not Too Late to Experience the Coronado Island Film Festival

Guests walked the red carpet at the CIFF Kick-Off Bash.

More than 200 people were ready to celebrate food and films at the Coronado Film Festival (CIFF) 2021 Kick-Off Bash on November 10. The event included Taste of the Festival with culinary samples from more than 17 Coronado restaurants including Bluewater Boathouse, Blue Bridge Hospitality’s Little Frenchie, Mootime Creamery, Stake Chophouse & Bar and The Islander, Brigantine, Clayton’s Coffee Shop, Clayton’s Bakery & Bistro, Feast & Fareway, Garage Buona Forchetta, Miguel’s, Nicky Rottens, Nado Gelato, Peohe’s, Spiros Greek Cafe, Tartine, and Which Wich. Film previews played while guests enjoyed the sultry tunes of the Cool Fever Band, featuring local musician Dave Elhoff.

With eleven venues hosting events this year, CIFF offers a wide array of nearly 100 cinematic options happening through Sunday, November 14. It’s not too late to get tickets, which can be purchased individually.

CIFF President Doug St. Denis commented that with the pandemic, “last year’s film festival was a huge challenge, but we did it. This year we have found that people are ready to see films again and we have a great line-up of films from all over the world.”

The Cool Fever Band played sultry tunes throughout the evening during the Kick-off Bash and Taste of the Festival.

CIFF Executive Director Merridee Book shared that attending CIFF gives you the whole cinematic experience, with the chance to meet filmmakers at panels following the films where you can ask questions and get the inside scoop on movie-making. It’s also gratifying for the filmmakers to receive instant feedback as they watch the audience reaction in real time. Book highlighted that all the films are of stellar caliber, but the international films are some of her favorites, with amazing talent and cinematography. Some movies she highlighted were Far East Deep South, Pig, and Just Hold On, followed by too many others to name here, but the whole festival line-up is definitely worth checking out.

CIFF Board Member Mike Woiwode explained that at the Salute to Veterans event Thursday afternoon, the panel will feature filmmakers and veterans who will discuss how veterans are portrayed in movies and the importance of not just showing soldiers who come back from the war as damaged goods, but also focus on those who come back stronger and go on to achieve great things.

At Taste of the Festival, Marco Zannoni, co-owner of Garage Buona Forchetta, served up delicious meatballs and Italian delicacies.

One of the highlights of CIFF is the Celebrity Tribute at the Hotel del Coronado Crown Room on Friday evening starting at 6 pm. More than 220 people have already signed up and they have room for more. CIFF honors film industry leaders and this year will award the Legacy Award to Ann Blyth, renowned and multi-talented actress, known for her acting and vocal prowess, in the 1940s and 1950s. The Cultural Impact Award belongs to Academy Award-winning actor and social activist Richard Dreyfuss. He has appeared in nearly 180 films for which he has won numerous awards. The Leonard Maltin Tribute Award goes to Nancy Utley, with a 21-year legacy at Searchlight Pictures, resulting in 158 Academy Award nominations. Mayes Rubeo will receive the Artistry in Filmmaking Award – she earned an Oscar nomination for JoJo Rabbit, and an Emmy nomination for Marvel’s WandaVision.  With many other film credits to her name, she will host a MasterLab Workshop on costume design. The Cinematography Award will go to Gabriel Beristain, whose work has been recognized in his home country of Mexico, the U.S., and throughout Europe. He has worked in the Marvel Universe on Agent Carter, Guardians of the Galaxy, the Iron Man movies, and Black Widow. CIFF also hosts the Filmmaker Jury Awards with awards for narrative films, documentaries, shorts, international films, and other outstanding achievement awards.

For more information and the full program guide, visit

A Thanksgiving feast was served by Clayton’s Diner, one of 17 local restaurants serving up food tastings.

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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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