Saturday, July 13, 2024

Coronado Film Festival Announces Head Jurors for Screenwriting Competition

Susan Cartsonis, Suzanne Farwell, Joey Siara.

The Coronado Island Film Festival (CIFF) is has announced head jurors for its inaugural screenwriting competition. Renowned producers Suzanne Farwell and Susan Cartsonis will lead the Narrative Features Category, reviewing the finalists’ scripts and determining the Grand Prize winner. New York based screenwriter Joey Siara will lead the Limited Series category.

Farwell is a longtime collaborator of writer/director Nancy Meyers and is best known for producing movie hits including The Holiday, It’s Complicated, and The Intern. Cartsonis’ top credits include What Women Want and Where the Heart Is. Both women have worked with many of the industry’s most recognized and sought-after talent and together founded Resonate Entertainment in 2016. Siara is a highly respected screenwriter most recently working as a story editor on Peacock’s THE RESORT and as a staff writer on ABC’s EMERGENCE.

“The inclusion of these esteemed and experienced jury members to our distinguished panel of judges further elevates the prestige of our Jury Awards, drawing the highest quality of creative talent submitted to our festival annually,” shares CEO Merridee Book. “We are committed to establishing a robust foundation in this inaugural year to honor, celebrate, and recognize the artistry of exceptional scripts.”

The screenwriting competition kicked off on March 15, 2024 via FilmFreeway with two categories, Features and Limited Series. The top finalists in each category will be announced this September. The finalists will receive two complimentary badges to attend the annual film festival, held November 6-10, 2024, where a jury will announce a Grand Prize cash winner in each category, as well as recognize a second prize at the Jury Awards on November 8. The final deadline to submit a screenplay for consideration is Saturday, July 20.

Suzanne Farwell, courtesy of CIFF.
Longtime collaborator of writer/director Nancy Meyers, Suzanne Farwell has produced some of the most commercially successful comedies in recent history and has worked with many of the industry’s most recognized and sought-after talent.
With early training at The William Morris Agency, Farwell began her production career on the set of Walt Disney Pictures’ remake of The Parent Trap. As President of Waverly Films at Sony Pictures Entertainment, Farwell co-produced the 2003 critically-acclaimed box office success Something’s Gotta Give (starring Academy Award winners Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton) and was Executive Producer on the 2006 worldwide box-office hit The Holiday (starring Academy Award winner Kate Winslet, Academy Award nominee Jude Law and Golden Globe nominees Cameron Diaz and Jack Black) for the studio. In 2009, Farwell went on to executive produce It’s Complicated (starring Academy Award winners Meryl Streep and Steve Martin and Emmy Award winner Alec Baldwin). In 2015, Farwell produced The Intern (starring Academy Award winners Robert DeNiro and Anne Hathaway) for Warner Bros. Pictures.
Farwell produced the 2017 independent feature film Carrie Pilby, starring Bel Powley, Nathan Lane, Gabriel Byrne, Jason Ritter and Vanessa Bayer. Carrie Pilby premiered at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival and was released theatrically by The Orchard and on Netflix in 2017.
In 2016, Farwell founded Resonate Entertainment with Susan Cartsonis and Brent Emery, her producing partners on Carrie Pilby. In 2020, Farwell was Executive Producer on the hit Netflix original film Feel the Beat starring Sofia Carson and on the Disney Channel Original Movie Upside Down Magic, both under the Resonate banner.
She recently produced the final installment of Disney hit musical franchise Zombies 3 which was released on Disney+ in July 2022 as the number one hit movie on the platform. She also recently produced Sitting In Bars With Cake for Amazon starring Yara Shahidi, Odessa A’zion, and Bette Midler, which premiered September 2023, with her Resonate partners.
Susan Cartsonis, courtesy of CIFF.
The Hollywood Reporter named Susan Cartsonis one of the top five grossing producers of the year for What Women Want—the highest grossing romantic comedy of all time at the time of its release starring Academy Award-winners Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt—and Where the Heart Is starring Academy Award-winner Natalie Portman. She has produced recent hits for Netflix including True Spirit, starring Academy Award-winner Anna Paquin. The movies that she’s supervised have amassed more than 1B in theatrical box office worldwide.
Cartsonis was Senior VP of Production 20th Century Fox where she worked for a decade, developing and supervising iconic films including Nell starring Academy Award-winner Jodie Foster, French Kiss starring Academy Award and Tony Award winner Kevin Kline, For the Boys starring Academy Award winner Bette Midler, Dying Young starring Academy Award-winner Julia Roberts, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer which launched a billion dollar television franchise. She also supervised talent deals for Fox such as that of Academy Award winner Peter Farrelly (Green Book, There’s Something About Mary), Academy Award-winner Geena Davis (Thelma & Louise, The Accidental Tourist), Golden Globe Award winner Richard Gere, and Golden Globe Award-winner Johnny Depp.
Cartsonis is a member of the Motion Picture Academy, the Television Academy and the Producer’s Guild. She serves on the board of The Writer’s Lab founded by Meryl Streep, co-funded by Nicole Kidman and Oprah Winfrey. She serves on the board of the non- profit screenwriters’ workshop, Cinestory, and teaches at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts.
She recently produced Sitting In Bars With Cake for Amazon starring Yara Shahidi, Odessa A’zion, and Bette Midler, which premiered September 2023, with her Resonate partners.
Joey Siara, courtesy of CIFF.
Joey Siara is a New York based screenwriter. He was most recently the Story Editor on Peacock’s THE RESORT and before that was the Staff Writer on EMERGENCE on ABC. He has sold an original pilot to Hulu with Goddard Textiles producing and, with his brother, also sold their original feature A COACHELLA STORY to Rivers Edge. He has worked in non-fiction as well on shows for PBS, Discovery, CNN, and most recently co-produced THE POWER OF FILM for TCM on MAX. Joey has a Master’s from Harvard and MFA from UCLA. Before pursuing writing, he spent his twenties in a band. They put out five albums, played hundreds of shows – including sets at Lollapalooza and Coachella – and were featured in several series – from SONS OF ANARCHY to PARENTHOOD.

Managing Editor
Managing Editor
Originally from upstate New York, Dani Schwartz has lived in Coronado since 1996. She is happy to call Coronado home and to have raised her children here. In her free time she enjoys reading, exercising, trying new restaurants, and just walking her dog around the "island." Have news to share? Send tips or story ideas to: [email protected]

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