Coronado Island Film Festival Details Coalescing For November 8-11, 2019 Event - Coronado Eagle & Journal | Coronado News | Coronado Island News: Coronado City News

Coronado Island Film Festival Details Coalescing For November 8-11, 2019 Event

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Posted: Friday, September 6, 2019 5:19 pm

Last Friday, as the rest of Coronado eased into the Labor Day Weekend, the better idea was to interview Coronado Island Film Festival (CIFF) Board President Kris Grant and Executive Director Merridee Book regarding plans for the festival, will be held a scant two months from now. Festival details are whirling around, starting to come together and the Fourth Annual CIFF appears to be on the road for the best version of the festival ever.

One significant CIFF change this year requires purchasers of the Crown City pass to reserve spots for certain Festival events. Merridee Book explained the process, “Reservations for the Festival open on a rolling basis, dependent on the pass level purchased. Crown City Passes will be able to begin priority reservations on Oct. 12 thru Oct. 17 for premiere screenings, panels, and Culinary Cinema. Film Buff Pass reservations will open Oct. 18 thru Oct. 23. The festival program is so robust this year with so many compelling films, panels, and special presentations, it will difficult to decide what to attend regardless of your pass.” So the takeaway here is to keep an eye focused on your computer’s inbox to make sure you can register for and attend the events you feel are best for you.

At a CIFF function Saturday, Artistic Director Andy Friedenberg noted that he was headed to the Toronto Film Festival this week, where he will see five films daily for 10 days. One of Friedenberg’s primary responsibilities is to find films to display at the festival and he travels to Toronto with a hit list of films he would like to acquire for the CIFF.

An interesting programming note for this year, Friedenberg has compiled a series of his favorite short films, 10 in all, with run times varying from two to 30 minutes. They will be combined into a series under the title of “Andy’s Favorite Shorts,” (the amusing double entendre is not lost on the CIFF hierarchy or me) and will total 104 minutes. The collection represents the best short films Friedenberg has seen over the past 30 years and he will be on hand to introduce them. In addition Friedenberg will provide behind-the-scenes insights into their creation. “Andy’s Favorite Shorts” will be presented Monday, Nov. 11 at the CHS Black Box Theater, starting a 1 p.m.

Friedenberg will be busy during the festival, as on Nov. 8, the first day of the CIFF, he will be conducting a presentation entitled ‘How to Fest.’ Merridee Book said, “That will be held Friday morning at 10 a.m. in the Winn Room of the Coronado Public Library. It’s basically Film Festival 101.” Kris Grant added, “Andy goes to film festivals in Toronto, Cleveland, Palm Springs and he has been to the Berlin Film Festival. And he has taken tours to Palm Springs and Napa. He has a lot of funny stories to tell.”

In the meantime, noted cinema critic and historian Leonard Maltin, who serves as the Honorary Jury President of the CIFF, was at the Telluride Film Festival over the weekend. Maltin has been an important presence at the first three CIFF events, introducing films, interviewing film notables, and appearing on panels. This year at Maltin’s suggestion, the festival is adding the film “Sing Street” to the list of films to be shown at the festival.

Reached by phone in Telluride over the weekend, Maltin said of “Sing Street,” “It’s one of my favorite films of recent vintage. It’s one of the most charming and irresistible films you have never seen. It’s an American release made by John Carney, who made ‘Once’ (2007). He’s an Irish filmmaker and film buffs became aware of him through that movie. Then he made this period piece set in Dublin, that is semi-autobiographical. I have to say, it’s a terrible title. It’s hard to say and you can’t say Sing Street three time fast. Once you see the film, the title makes perfect sense. But you have to get people in the tent first, as Mr. Barnum said. A teenage boy has his dreams set in the 1980’s when music videos were popping on the scene. He uses that device as an opportunity to meet a beautiful girl. Her name is Lucy Boynton and she is making a name for herself in ‘Bohemian Rhapsody.’ ‘Sing Street’ is the living definition of charm. The original songs are catchy and clever. And the leading characters, you will fall in love with them and root for them. What more could you want?”

Maltin discussed the Telluride Festival and a movie that is already generating heavy Oscar buzz from Netflix. “My favorite thing about this festival is you see the movies before anyone has written about them. You go in with a blank slate. I love to see movies that way, where you have no expectations, demands or prejudices and no story points are spoiled for me in the review. I saw “Marriage Story” last night (Saturday), a new film from Noah Baumbach, with Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver, which just blew me away. Driver is a guy filmmakers have embraced, and he is the new bad guy in ‘Star Wars.’ He also does independent films”

As for his role in the 2019 CIFF and his outlook on the festival as a whole, Maltin said, “The thing about the Coronado Island Film Festival is they hit it out of the park in Year One. Everything clicked including the community, the films, and the guests were really good. Things fell into place as they were supposed to, as they don’t often do. I don’t think the CIFF needs to grow. There are a finite number of spaces on the Island to accommodate audiences. They’ll keep their eye on the ball, and if it’s not broke don’t fix it, and the festival ain’t broke. I’ll be the ringmaster you know. I go where I am requested and needed. We’re doing another critics panel and we’ll interview some of our notable guests during the evening tribute. My wife Alice and I will be buzzing around.”

An important element Maltin referenced, the Coronado Community’s buy-in with the CIFF, is reflected in the participants in the “Taste of the Festival” Opening Night Party, sponsored by CalPrivate Bank, the signature sponsor being Douglas Elliman Real Estate. The event is chaired by Carolyn Ayres and will be held Friday night Nov. 8 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Nautilus Room of the Coronado Recreation Center. The band which will perform is Coronado favorite ‘In Midlife Crisis,’ which features Phil Hammett, Sue Shirey, Dan Runyon, Steve Patrick and Rich Gomez.

An impressive list of restaurants and eateries are participating and include: Bistro D’Asia, Bluewater Boathouse, Little Frenchie, Moo Time Creamery, Maretalia Ristorante, The Brigantine, Clayton’s Coffee Shop, Clayton’s Bakery & Bistro, Feast & Fareway at the Coronado Municipal Golf Course, Miguel’s Cocina, Nado Gelato, Peohe’s, Primavera Ristorante, Spiro’s Café, Tartine, and Which Wich Sandwiches.

To purchase passes to the Coronado Film Festival, please go to We’ve touched upon only a few of the programming offerings of the Coronado Island Film Festival. If you enjoy film, there is no better place to be than Coronado over Veterans Day Weekend. Stars who will be in attendance and a list of other presentations and programming will follow, when they are officially confirmed.

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