Coronado has long embraced its Mayberry-by-the-sea cadence of life, a vibe that carries over into the culture and events hosted on the island, including the Coronado Island Film Festival (CIFF). Celebrating the sixth year, the festival is Nov. 10-14, 2021. The much anticipated in-person event will screen close to 100 films, including shorts, documentaries, studio and independent features, emerging student films and a slate of internationally lauded films. A select number of films and the Shorts Fest (13 tracks) will also be available on demand. The festival is a fusion of red carpet moments blended with the charm and low-key elegance that Coronado is known for.

Though still young in festival-years the festival has attracted industry luminaries and top industry leaders to host panels, workshops and be honored at the annual Leonard Maltin Celebrity Tribute, hosted in the iconic Crown Room at Hotel Del Coronado. The festival is honored to announce this year’s Tribute Award honorees: the Leonard Maltin Tribute Award will honor Nancy Utley, whose 21 year legacy and stellar stewardship of Searchlight Pictures resulted in over 38 Oscars and 148 Academy Award nominations, including 2020’s “Nomadland.”

The Festival honored Chloé Zhao with the inaugural Leonard Maltin Tribute Award in 2020. Zhao, “Nomadland’s” director and writer, went on to become the first Asian/Chinese woman to win the Oscar for Best Director. The Artistry in Filmmaking will be presented to Mayes Rubeo for costume design. Her work earned her an Oscar nomination for “JoJo Rabbit,” and most recently an Emmy nomination for Marvel’s “WandaVision.” Other films include “Apocalypto,” “Avatar,” “Thor: Ragnarok,” “Warcraft: The Beginning,” “World War Z,” and “John Carter.” Mayes will also be hosting a MasterLab Workshop on costume design, space is limited for this incredible opportunity. The Cinematography Award will honor Gabriel Beristain, born in Mexico to a legendary theatrical family and whose work has been recognized in Mexico, the U.S., and throughout Europe. Well known in the Marvel Cinematic Universe for his contributions to “Agent Carter” (TV) and “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Iron Man” (all 3) and recently “Black Widow.” He has worked with David Mamet and Guillermo Del Toro.

The festival’s Centerpiece film will be Warner Brothers, “King Richard,” starring Will Smith in a role that he consumes with perfection, as the father and coach of tennis stars Serena and Venus Williams. Focusing on the early years of their lives, training in Compton surrounded by drugs and gang violence, his sheer determination to change the trajectory of their lives was often misunderstood and earned him a controversial reputation in the tennis world. The San Diego premiere, CIFF will screen the international opening night film “The Best Families,” a brilliant comedy, written and directed by Javier Fuentes-León and starring the mercurial Jely Reategui. Other Opening/Closing Night films will be announced shortly.

With an effort to expand the diversity of films and filmmakers, CIFF is proud to host the West Coast/California premieres for several international films, “The Braves” (world premiere at Cannes) and “The Hill Where Lionesses Roar,” the directorial debut of Luàna Bajrami (world premiere at Cannes, winner of the Grand Jury Prize at Calgary International Film Fest). The festival will also screen its most diverse slate of Shorts, with many filmmakers in attendance for Q+As.

Other highlights include BET Originals, “I’m Fine (Thanks for Asking)” starring Kelley Kali, a film that reminds us that people have more going on in their life than imagined, “7 Days,” a COVID rom-com starring Karan Soni and Geraldine Viswanathan, a heartfelt and hilarious take on human intimacy in an age of uncertainty and social transformation, and the documentary feature “Far East, Deep South” about a San Francisco Chinese-American family discovering surprising roots in Mississippi.

It is tradition for the festival to honor veterans with the annual Salute to Veterans performance and musical showcase featuring the Coronado Band, Music Vitale, Keynote guest, Military Chaplain, Veterans, filmmaker, Justin Roberts (“No Greater Love”) and a short film. The event is open to the public but reservations are required. Special engagements include the film “Living Through It” and an expert panel co-hosted with Safe Harbor and filmmaker Daniel Kennedy on suicide prevention and survival. Not to be missed is the 75th anniversary of the retrospective and rare documentary short “Cruise of the Zaca” with Errol Flynn. Film historian Leonard Maltin will be joined by Rory Flynn (Errol’s daughter) and historian, Tim Reid.

For a full slate of films, panels, special events and MasterLab workshops visit the Festival Program Guide on the festival website.

The festival Emerald badge (all-inclusive programming badge - some restrictions apply) are on sale now and allow for early reservations. Individual tickets will open on Thursday, October 14 to the general public.

The latest Festival COVID protocols can be found on the website and are subject to change at any time prior to the festival dates.

(1) comment


Being present on the film festival is the dream for every film maker and TV-star. Personally, being a journalism student, I often

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