Friday, April 19, 2024

Coronado Island Film Festival Announces Inaugural Screenwriting Competition

2024 Coronado Island Film Festival flyer that shares date of event November 6-10.

Coronado Island Film Festival (CIFF) strives to elevate their program every year, and 2024 is no exception with the addition of its first Screenwriting Competition: A Celebration of Emerging Cinematic Scribes announced March 8 at a small event at Emerald C Gallery. Merridee Book, CEO and Artistic Director of the Coronado Island Film Festival, kicked of the event announcing, “It is with great pleasure and excitement that tonight we are introducing a groundbreaking initiative to our film festival. This is a celebration of creativity, storytelling and the powerful impact of emerging voices in our cinematic world.”

Merridee Book, CEO and Artistic Director for the Coronado Island Film Festival, announces the new Screenwriting Competition on March 8 at Emerald C Gallery.

Joining Book at the podium was Susan Kidd, an award-winning technology executive and CEO who will sponsor the festival’s launch of the Screenwriter Competition and Crown Award. “Supporting and nurturing emerging talent is crucial for the evolution of any industry and the Coronado Island Film Festival is proud to take a bold step in recognizing the creative brilliance of aspiring screenwriters,” said Kidd. “I am excited to contribute to this endeavor and witness the transformative impact it will have for CIFF and the screenwriters.”

Susan Kidd, sponsor of the Screenwriting competition and Crown Award, talks about the importance of supporting emerging talent.

Kidd has more than 30 years of experience as a leader and innovator in the tech industry and became involved in the entertainment community while her daughter attended Coronado School of the Arts (CoSA). Kidd was an executive producer for a local independent film, Daydream Hotel, that premiered at Coronado’s first film festival in 2016. She is also CIFF’s Celebrity and VIP Concierge. “This competition is not just a contest; it is a platform for the untold stories, the uncharted narratives and the voices waiting to be heard,” said Book. “We are grateful for Susan Kidd’s generous support, which will undoubtedly elevate the impact and reach of the competition.”

The Screenwriting Competition will kick off on March 15 when submissions will be accepted through the Coverfly and FilmFreeway platforms with links on the CIFF Website. According to CIFF, there will be two categories for the competition, acknowledging outstanding work in both Features and Limited Series. The competitions will culminate with the recognition of 10 finalists, five in each category. The finalists will receive two complimentary badges to attend the film festival where the Grand Prize winner in each category will be announced on November 8.

Doug St. Denis, Founder and Chairman of the Board for CIFF. (Photo: CIFF Website)

Founder and Chairman of the Board, Doug St. Denis, sat proudly in the audience as the speakers shared the wonderful work and expansion of the festival since it began in 2016. During her remarks, Kidd addressed St. Denis, saying “Doug, I know you must be so proud to see your vision really come to life, and all the effort and hard work pay off.”

St. Denis has dedicated the Coronado Film Festival to “celebrating the art of cinema and providing a platform for emerging and established filmmakers alike and connecting filmmakers, industry professionals and film enthusiasts from around the world. With a focus on diversity and innovation, the festival showcases a curated selection of films that captivate, inspire and entertain audiences” according to Director of Public Relations Chelsea Van Voorhis.

During audience Q&A, when asked why CIFF decided on adding a screenwriter competition, Book responded, “We found we were getting more screenwriters attending, and as a film festival, part of our mission is to create that platform to share their creativity.”

CIFF staff, board of directors, and media listen to Merridee Book announce the competition at Emerald C Gallery on March 8, 2024.

Helen Kupka capped off the audience discussion saying, “Everyone involved with the festival keeps coming up with innovative and groundbreaking ideas and I really appreciate it. You are doing something that very few other people are doing. Opportunities are so important in this world, especially for creatives. Kudos to you all!”

The Coronado Island Film Festival encourages writers to unleash their creativity and submit their entries. Jury members who will be deciding the winners of the competition will come from the film industry and are currently being recruited to be a part of this event. Submissions will be accepted from screenwriters around the country, and further information on submission, guidelines and key dates can be found at

Flyers for the CIFF Classic Film Series 2024.

Jeannie Groeneveld
Jeannie Groeneveld
Jeannie is a retired Naval Aviator and Public Affairs Officer whose post-Navy career includes freelance writing, PR Consulting and a two year stint as the San Diego Padres Military Affairs Advisor. Having been stationed in various parts of the country including Washington D.C., Florida and Hawaii, Jeannie appreciates how amazing the Coronado community is and loves the experience her children have had growing up here. Jeannie earned her BS in Marine Biology from Auburn University, her MS in Global Leadership from the University of San Diego and her MA in Communication and Media Relations at San Diego State University. A life-long learner and avid traveler Jeannie enjoys writing travel pieces, Navy stories and anything else that will broaden her perspective. When she is not working you will find her watching her boys play sports, walking Odin at dog beach, hiking, playing beach volleyball or spending time with the family.Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to: [email protected]

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