The Coronado Island Film Festival Announces 2023 Program Slate

The Coronado Island Film Festival (CIFF) is kicking off its 8th season, November 8-12, 2023, with a curated a slate of immersive programming including studio and independent films, engaging panels, parties, and the premiere gala event, the Leonard Maltin Industry Tribute Awards Gala, held at Loews Coronado Bay Resort this year.

Red Carpet Films & San Diego Premieres

Join 120+ filmmakers, industry executives and entertainment leaders at the 5-day festival and catch one of the Red Carpet Films and San Diego premieres including the Centerpiece Feature, MAXINE’S BABY: THE TYLER PERRY STORY. A nod to his mother’s love, the Amazon Studios and Bekele Films documentary is a tender and intimate portrait of visionary and innovator Tyler Perry, following his harrowing but faithful road to the top of an industry that didn’t always include him.

One of the featured Closing Night films, COMMON GROUND, narrated by Laura Dern, is a sweeping and uplifting story of the pioneers of the “Regenerative Movement” who are forgoing the toxic seeds and sprays pushed by Big Ag in order to produce tremendous quantities of nutritionally dense food while bringing our entire ecosystem back to life.

Culinary Cinema series

A Culinary Cinema series will be held on Friday, November 10 featuring the documentary feature, SUSAN FENIGER.


Averité style documentary by award-winning filmmaker Liz Lachman as she captures the raw, behind-the-scenes moments and the impactful career of her life partner: iconic culinary artist, author, entrepreneur and James Beard award-winner, Susan Feniger.

Susan has cooked for everyone from Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to Oprah and Lady Gaga. The film features Wolfgang Puck and Bobby Flay. Following the film, there will be a demo and tastings from Susan and her famed restaurant, Border Grill.


A second Culinary event focuses on sustainability with a screening of Shannon Morrell’s compelling short, SPEAR. SPATULA. SUBMARINE. A Q+A discussion will follow the film with Amy Steward, Founder of Emerald Keepers, and Meghan McKee, head chef at the Coronado Yacht Club.

Humanity Stoked

A special Vans and Wahoo’s pre-party with Steven Van Doren, Vans’ Vice President of Marketing and Special Events and son of the Vans’ founder and Wing Lam, Co-Founder of Wahoo’s will be hosted on Sunday, November 12 ahead of the screening of HUMANITY STOKED.

The documentary features Pro Skateboarders Tony Alva, Lizzie Armanto, and San Diegan, Tony Hawk, among others. The film is about the beauty in overcoming fear and other challenges facing humanity as seen by icons of pro skating, science, art, music, activism, and education, all of whom share experiences and perspectives shaped by their love of skateboarding.

A Q&A will follow the film with Director Michael len Cohen, Lizzie Armanto, and Tony Alva focusing on understanding fear, depression, addiction, education, activism, philanthropy, racism, sexism, homophobia, and the environment.

Other featured films include:


Written and directed by Celine Song in her feature directorial debut. Starring Greta Lee, Teo Yoo, and John Magaro, the film follows Nora and Hae Sung, two deeply connected childhood friends who are wrested apart after Nora’s family emigrates from South Korea. Twenty years later, they are reunited for one fateful week as they confront notions of love and destiny.


A film that follows Victoria (Mary Stuart Masterson), a university professor with a grudge against her self-absorbed mother, the famed actress Carmen Crawford (Diane Ladd), for crushing her dreams of becoming a playwright. When Carmen suffers a life-threatening stroke and wakes up thinking she is living 15 years in the past, Victoria is given a unique opportunity to figure out where her life went off track and reconcile her relationship with her mother. Diane Ladd will be in attendance and will participate in a Q&A following the film moderated by Leonard Maltin.


From Director Robin Givens (Riverdale, Batwoman TV Series), set in the competitive world of chess following Nana’s (Academy Award® Winner Mercedes Ruehl) journey in a heartwarming feel-good comedy about reuniting her grandsons and supporting her retirement community.

Other notable independent films screening and San Diego premieres include:


A documentary with intimate access to a charismatic Mattel insider, Beulah Mae Mitchell, delving into the cross section of merchandise and representation as Black women strive to elevate their own voices and stories, refusing to be invisible.


A narrative film that tells the story of a young single-mom finding herself living in her car and struggles to hide her homelessness from her estranged brother and his wife after getting laid off.


A LGBTQ film that follows a Californian backpacker who finds himself entangled in a polyamorous relationship with a gang of young actors who plot to kidnap the US Ambassador to Argentina.


A film based on a young woman who, following a mental breakdown, must return home to Maine for treatment. After she is unwillingly thrust into nature, she finds unexpected solace in the company of a neurotic Park Ranger, who is dealing with issues of his own.


CIFF will host the annual ShortsFest, this year featuring 12 creative, provocative and entertaining shorts tracks. The Shorts kick off on Thursday morning with a LOCAL SPOTLIGHT featuring local personalities, filmmakers, and compelling stories.

Salute to Veterans

Hosted over Veterans Day weekend, it is tradition for the Coronado Island Film Festival to honor our military heroes with an annual Salute to Veterans program. This year, CIFF will host a special presentation screening of THE GIFT, the story of Medal of Honor recipient, Corporal Jason L. Dunham and the Marines of Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines on November 10th. It is a story of courage, sacrifice and love.

Additionally, a profound and moving Vietnam Wings Tribute Sculpture will also be on display throughout the festival weekend in the lobby of the Coronado Performing Arts Center courtesy of CJ Machado/Purple Foxes.

Info and Tickets

For more information and updates on this year’s programing slate, please visit the festival website here.

The All-inclusive Emerald Badge is on sale now and is recommended as the best way to enjoy all the festival offers. Individual tickets for the Industry Tribute Gala are on sale now. Tickets for the general public range from $15 – $295.

About Coronado Island Film Festival

The Coronado Island Film Festival (CIFF) is a 501 (c)(3) charitable corporation in good standing whose mission is to welcome makers and lovers of film from all over the world to the storied seaside village of Coronado, California to celebrate the magical art of visual storytelling. Coronado’s enduring love affair with Hollywood began more than a century ago, Launched in 2016 by Founder and Chair Doug St. Denis and now led by CEO & Artistic Director, Merridee Book, CIFF has quickly established itself as a unique, walkable, destination film festival.

See you there, San Diego!

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Event Details
  • Start Date
    November 8, 2023 5:30 pm
  • End Date
    November 12, 2023 7:00 pm
  • Status
    All done
  • Location
  • Venue
    • Coronado Island
  • Address
    1845 Strand Way, Coronado, CA 92118
  • Tickets
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Event Details
  • Start Date
    November 8, 2023 5:30 pm
  • End Date
    November 12, 2023 7:00 pm
  • Status
    All done
  • Location
  • Venue
    • Coronado Island
  • Address
    1845 Strand Way, Coronado, CA 92118
  • Tickets
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