Organizers for the Coronado Island Film Festival (CIFF) announced in early summer that, rather than cancel their 2020 festival entirely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they would instead “reframe” their traditional festival into a hybrid version of the annual event. Offering a combination of live and virtual selections, it is with great excitement that CIFF will unveil its programming slate for CIFF 2020 on Thursday, Oct. 8. The festival is set for Nov. 11-15.

“This year may be different for us, with the ever-changing restrictions of the COVID pandemic, but we have not lost our commitment to celebrate the magic of film, and to spotlight the gifted filmmakers who have poured out their creativity, passion, and hearts for all of us to view and enjoy,” exclaimed Executive Director Merridee Book. “We could not be more excited by this year’s films, compelling panels, and special engagements that we have lined-up!”

The hybrid festival will include both virtual and in-person screenings, beginning with a Veteran’s Day kick-off on Wednesday, Nov. 11, featuring a culinary cinema live-stream cooking demonstration with Celebrity Chef Lauren Lawless, who will share “American tapas” and a “Salute to Veterans” virtual film selection, featuring several poignant films, including “My Father’s Brothers,” “Stand Down” and local Coronado student filmmaker Slater Aiello’s short film, “Final Flight.”

On Thursday, Nov. 12 the festival heads to the South Bay Drive-in for the official 2020 Opening Night feature, Searchlight Pictures’ upcoming release, “Nomadland.” Winner of the Golden Lion Award at this year’s Venice Film Festival, it continues to draw critical acclaim. The film overflows with humanity, complexity, and solitude, set amidst the landscape and beauty of the American West. Based on Jessica Bruder’s non-fiction book, “Nomadland: Surviving America in the 21st Century,” the film follows Fern (Frances McDormand), an invented character, on her nomadic journey in 2008 following the economic crash. McDormand, who produced the film, delivers a raw, stubborn and tender performance that will no doubt land her on many award shortlists this year. It is brilliantly directed and written by Chloe Zhao, who paces the film in a subtle, unflinching manner to reveal a side of America that many are not aware exists.

Moving to the beach of the Hotel Del on Friday night, CIFF will host a screening of “A Life of Endless Summers: The Bruce Brown Story.” This beautiful tribute/road trip documentary about iconic filmmaker Bruce Brown (1937-2017), whose legendary 1966 film, “Endless Summer,” created an entire new genre of sports/adventure filmmaking that continues today. Director and Producer Dana Brown, Bruce’s son, will be in attendance with the Brown family for a post Q&A. On Saturday, Nov. 14, the festival will livestream the “2020 Jury Awards” from one of Coronado’s most beautiful historic homes, featuring Honorary Head Juror Leonard Maltin, the esteemed jury teams of notable industry professionals, and the 2020 award recipients. “Honoring the filmmakers this year was a priority - despite COVID, it is core to our mission in recognizing the best in independent filmmaking!” shared Book. Closing out the in-person screenings will be a special CIFF five-year Anniversary screening of the beloved classic, “Some Like It Hot,” filmed at the Hotel Del in 1958.

The online festival will host a curated selection of indie and studio films, shorts, documentaries, filmmaker Q&As, and student films. This year there is a strong emphasis on documentaries covering a myriad of topics and individuals. Even removed from the big screen, this year’s festival is an opportunity to escape to the magical land of movies, giving viewers permission to get emotional, to cheer and clap, to celebrate, and perhaps host a viewing party with family for a shared experience to remember.

Virtual film festival passes and single tickets go on sale Thursday, Oct. 8 and Festival in-person screenings, including Opening Night will go on sale in Mid-October. Films may be viewed over the full five days of the festival at your leisure, and may be watched on ROKU, APPLE TV and several other options listed on our website. The Virtual Access Pass (Best value for all films, shorts tracks, and live stream events) is $125, the ShortsFest Pass (five Shorts tracks) is $40 and single ticket screenings and events start at $15.

CIFF will continue to closely follow and abide by state and county recommendations for the safe navigation of the pandemic, and we ask that festival attendees join us in remaining flexible to possible last minute postponements or changes. We will get through this together! For the most current updates please visit the festival website www.coronadoislandfilmfest.com.

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