Coney Island Film Festival is the most exciting cinematic event to
hit Coney since Feltman's Restaurant introduced outdoor movies as
a novelty nearly a century ago. The sideshow is an inspiring setting
for an eclectic and extraordinary selection of quality films. Kudos
to Rob Leddy."
Denson, Author Coney Island: Lost and Found
Without a doubt The Coney Island Film Festival has the greatest location in the world. It also gives out the best trophy I've ever received.
Darren Aronofsky (Director Black Swan, The Wrestler, Requiem for a Dream, Pi)
The beach, the
boardwalk, great stars, great movies, great filmmakers...the Coney
Island Film Festival has everything that Cannes has, plus Nathan's
Barry Strugatz, (Director The Transformation Writer: Married to the Mob)
Coney Island Film Festival named one of the "25 Coolest Film Festivals" and "25 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee" by MovieMaker Magazine!
Coney Island Film Festival, Filmmaker Wall of Fame!
Comments from filmmakers who participated in the 2013 festival:
We had the World Premiere of one of our shorts in the Adults Only program. I found the programming at the Coney Island Film Festival to be adventurous, engaging, and professionally rigorous in their selections, while also maintaining a creative spirit that can only be captured in the wild and funky landscape of Coney Island. The comedy shorts program was one of the best I've ever seen. Films I produced have screened at various festivals across the U.S. and this was the first time that I really felt I was truly a part of the community and that was mostly due to Rob's constant communication and the philosophy that all of the filmmakers in the festival were created equal. All in all, it was a very pleasant experience and even if I didn't have a film screening at the festival I would want to attend again! Lauren Rayner, Producer, The Days God Slept
Thanks again for making us a part of the festival. I came away hugely impressed with what you guys pulled off, especially in light of what you had to overcome this particular year to make the festival happen. Being in the festival, getting the opening night slot, and winning an award, have combined to give my film a nice boost. We have distributors interested and things are looking up. I look forward to supporting the festival, promoting the festival, and hopefully participating in the festival in the years ahead. Dan Wechsler, More Than The Rainbow
I’ll say without hesitation that the Coney Island Film Festival is my favorite fest out there. I say this not only as a filmmaker, but as a fan of independent film who’s been attending the festival for years. Coney Island is truly a place where you can find excellent films that you won’t see anywhere else. There’s no step-and-repeat, there are no reserved seats in the theater. It’s all about the films. It’s so inspiring to come to Coney Island and see real films by real people. None of the New York Festivals support filmmakers like Coney Island does, and that means something. I’m so proud to have premiered my film at Coney Island this year, not to mention taking home “Best Feature”! Eric Branco, Stay Cold, Stay Hungry.
This was my first time to Coney Island and the film festival is amazing! We were thrilled to have our film, "The Jules Verne Project", screen there this year and experience first hand how the folks at Coney Island USA embrace the word "festival". They create an unique atmosphere for audience and filmmakers that is part joyous welcome, part serious film line-up, part side-show, and ALL heart. They are so down to earth and treat the filmmakers like you've been a part of the family for years. Definitely, the most fun I've ever had a festival. To me, this is what filmmaking is all about - coming together with an audience to tell your story, have a good time, and inspire one another. And I can't believe we had strongmen on stage after our screening, that will never ever happen at another festival. Can't wait to go back! Lisa Stock - The Jules Verne Project
The Coney Island Film Festival is a fantastic ride. From the opening night screener to the afterparty with the world famous sideshow through all the great films being shown up until the awards at the bumper cars disco its a unique pleasure to be included in this wild weekend romp. The festival was meticulously organized and they made everyone feel very welcome from the filmmakers to the spectators to the riff raff. You are not going to get this experience anywhere else! - Natalie Berning, filmmaker, Breathe
The Coney Island Film Festival features more sold-out shows and unique attractions than any other festival that I have ever participated in. In addition to the thrill of screening our film, I had a blast riding the wonder wheel and bumper cars, watching a performer eat an entire pack of cigarettes, tipping a burlesque dancer, and even taking a shot of whiskey out of a man's nose! Proud and honored that such a cool event hosted the world premiere of a short film that is very dear to my heart. Thanks for everything. - Claire Ensslin, writer/director 'Pedestrian'
It was really important to me that Sea Pig be accepted into the Coney Island Film Festival. The Sideshow has been a favorite place of mine since I first got to New York. And I have said many times that Coney Island is my favorite place in the entire world. The Festival itself has an energy that I haven't found from any of the others. It's fresh and the people (audiences and filmmakers) are filled with curiosity, excitement and gratitude. I truly felt welcomed into the community, into the family of the Sideshow and the Film Festival. And so from here on out, I pledge my loyalty to the Coney Island Film Festival. I'm excited to see where it goes and I'm excited to be part of it. Andrew Gilchrist, Sea Pig
The Coney Island Film Fest is more than just sitting around and watching films - it's an event; an experience. The location is without comparison, the people are incredible, and it helps that there's a beach just outside for a post-show round of champagne. - Christopher Michael Beer, Writer / Director 'Wren'
Born and bred in Coney Island, it was a great honor and pleasure to screen my film in my hometown. The organizers work hard to put together a fun, exciting, and enjoyable film festival with lots of talent on display. The Coney Island Film Festival is second to none -- three fun-filled days of amazing films, lots of beer, and networking! Geoffrey Guerrero, J - 1
Thank YOU Coney Island, for one of the most fun festivals we have been apart of - you are such a fun, organized, passionate group of people and just generally good hosts. We loved the venue as well and the beautiful day we got on Sunday. One of my actors told me it was his favorite venue thus far. Tawny Foskett and the Girls Who Smoke crew.
Coney Island was the perfect place for the New York City premiere of "World Circus" and I was thrilled to be able to attend in the unique setting, surrounded by the rich history of New York, circus, and sideshows. Coney Island Film Festival does what any good film festival does - but puts a quirky unique twist on it (parties with Burlesque dancers, and awards with bumper cars)! Angela Snow, World Circus
Wow what a Fest! The city's best! Didn't even have time to walk on the boardwalk (did manage to down a couple of hotdogs however). And, to top things off, an award that's also an original artwork. Thank you all! Harriet Feigenbaum - Coney Island Sinking
I had an amazing experience at Coney Island Film Fest. With great programing and such an enthusiastic crowd, it's easy to see why it's touted as one of the top 25 coolest festivals out there! It was my favorite festival experience thus far (by far). Wes Simpkins, Abyssus Abyssum Invocat
The Coney Island Film Festival was a fun time with great people and great films. The opening night events included a very enjoyable, live burlesque show. This being Coney Island, the awards ceremony took place at one of the bumper car concessions. Following the awards we all got to ride the bumper cars.
How many film festivals do that? Seth Shire, Mad Santa
The Coney Island Film Festival was my very first film festival experience and it definitely did NOT disappoint! From the caliber of films featured to the awesome Coney Island backdrop, I am humbled to be part of such a great event! I hope to be there again next year! Macho Miranda, Scorned as She.
From the weird nose whiskey to wonderful burlesque and bumper cars, nothing says super strange celebration of indie entertainment like the Coney Coney Island filmfest. Long live. M Clarissa, A Devil's Wrap in Coney Island.
It was an honor to sell out before anyone else did plus it was only us on the slot. it was an honor for Dick Zigun "mayor of Coney Island " Coney Island USA's founder to proclaim us as his favorite film on his opening speech. We brought the Warriors back to Coney Island and they shined before a packed house once again. Our bikers road across the screen and we got a glimpse of our future. Eric Spade Rivas - Vamp Bikers
Woman Who Hates Plants and the Coney Island Museum are one hell of a perfect match. Morgan Miller, Woman Who Hates Plants
It makes us so proud that our film could premier at the Coney Island Film Festival, in our hometown, New York City. The festival was a bizarre and wonderful experience. We will be back. Jeff Bernier, Luz Mob - Huerfano
Comments from filmmakers who participated in the 2012 festival:
I've been to many festivals though our US Premiere night with Teller's
Play Dead at Coney Island felt more like 'family' than any other. From
the grand opening night reception to all the groovy cats in the lobby
bar to the excellent burlesque and side show, our night at Coney
Island will resonate to the grave... and beyond! Thank you, Coney
Island Film Festival! You're the best! Shade Rupe - Play Dead
I had a great time at the Coney Island Film Festival. It was definitely one of the best film festivals I’ve been to. The films shown were excellent and the energy of the entire event was simply amazing! I’m very happy I had the opportunity to screen my horror short there. The festival draws a huge crowd and you can tell a lot of work goes into it. This is definitely a festival all filmmakers should try to screen at. Writer/Director Thomas Norman - Just Like You…
I had such a great time meeting other filmmakers and sharing the excitement for the screening of our films. Everything went extremely well, and the parties were always the best. I never thought nose whiskey could be so good. Thanks everyone for your hard work to make this festival like a family experience, and to the filmmakers for making some awesome movies! Michael Lamarra - Logan's Power
The Coney Island Film Festival has the craziest parties, the coolest films, and the best vibe. It's a voodoo blend of everything that makes Coney Island itself so amazing and it's just so damn fun. Run, do not walk, to the next edition. Greg Hanson - Meat Me in Plainville
I've been fortunate enough to have screened at the Coney Island Film Festival three times. Hands down it's one of my favorites, the parties and screen venues are great and unlike most of the film festivals I've screened at or attended and this includes Tribecca and Sundance you don't have to heavily promote your film to family and friends to get a decent audience. Every screening I've been to there has a packed house full of an enthusiastic and upbeat crowd. For any filmmaker looking to get a sincere audience reaction to their film this is the place to screen! Mark Cabaroy - Everything you always wanted to know about bagels but were afraid to ask
The Coney Island Film Fest is freakishly fun -- fabulous films, friendly folks and so much more! Why aren't bumper cars 'n beer mandatory at every festival? Brilliant! It's the most fun I've had with my clothes on (while others danced around me without them - Skeeball Burlesque rocks!) Thanks for an incredible experience not to mention the awesome swag bag o' goodies (everybody needs to ride the Cyclone and the Wonderwheel). Gooba gabba - it was an honor to be "one of us" with you again! Devi Snively - Last Seen on Dolores Street
I don't think I've ever had such an incredible weekend. Coney Island Film Festival REALLY knows how to throw a party. And sure, its nice to win an award for my animation, but it means so much more coming from CIFF and the community it was created for. I'm honored. Everyone involved was wonderful, generous, and we had a hell of a time! Thanks Rob and co. (forever a Coney girl), Jodie Rae Plaut - Out To Sea
I had the great fortune of being selected to screen "Vinny Vino" at the 10th annual CIFF and now thrilled to back with "This is Only a Test". Both films were completely different from one another, which prove to me one thing - Mr. Rob Leddy and Co. really has an open mind at programming. If you're a filmmaker with an original vision who likes to take chances, submit your next film to Coney Island! In addition, CI invented Cool, so no need for pretentiousness like a lot of other film festivals. It’s a really fun, one-of-a-kind festival for your family and friends to attend. Bill Sorice, writer-director, This Is Only a Test - Best Experimental Film
Much like Coney Island itself, the festival in it's 12 year already has developed a rich history and dedicated community of amazing performers, artists and film lovers who put on a simply wonderful homegrown festival that show cases both the work of filmmakers and the beauty of the boardwalk. I was honored to screen "Things I Don't Understand" which was shot in Coney Island there and had an amazing time, met amazing people, and drank whiskey out of a human beings nose... no, seriously. Great people and great festival!
David Spaltro, writer-director "Things I Don't Understand" Best Feature 2012
Coney Island is one of the coolest & most unique film festivals around. Rob Leddy and his staff put together one of the greatest film festivals in the world. Thank you for allowing us to screen another film of ours for the second consecutive year. CIFF you are amazing thank you for the awesome line up films each year that inspire me as a Director. Julia Suo - 528 New York
Attending the Coney Island Film Festival was an amazing experience and I strongly recommend it to all filmmakers and film lovers in general. Danny Garcia - The Rise and Fall of The Clash
Coney Island is a real-life opera made up of off-centered Americana...past and present. The Coney Island Film Festival is its aria. But, it not only pays homage to its home, it also celebrates the art of independent filmmaking. Quite simply, the lineup, artistry and quality of films were impeccable. And, the opening night bash should be added to everyone's bucket list. Joel Johnstone - The Pilgrim & the Private Eye
When I was 10 years old I went to Coney Island with family and friends to enjoy it's rich atmosphere of side shows, bumper cars, amazing rides and Nathans hot dogs. Thank you Coney Island Film Festival for bringing me back to that time and for letting be a part of your truly creative Festival with a feel that only Coney Island can do. Mario Corry - Manipulation
The Coney Island Film Festival has to be the only festival on the planet that combines a Carney freakshow aesthetic with a weekend of great films. It's a hell of a lot of fun for filmmakers and cinephiles alike and most certainly the coolest place on Earth to hold a film festival.
Erik Pagan - Faith
Screening "Helping: with Travis" at The Coney Island Film Festival this year (2012) was a real treat. The audience was totally tuned-in and quick to respond with laughter and chatter (about the film) during and after the screening. Very festive and joyous vibe overall and there's a great raw and gritty charm that surrounds Coney Island that I find invigorating !! Carey Burtt - Helping With Travis
The Coney Island Film Festival is such a welcoming and loving festival, with an incredibly supportive audience and a wonderful atmosphere. I am so honored to have had my film The Wheels screen at this festival.
Jack Kyser - The Wheels
It's hard to put it all into a tiny paragraph how I felt about being at the festival and winning - but I will say this there is no other place in the world that I can imagine would be as fun. You have all of the rides, all of the music, all of the candy, all the food and all of the most talented beautiful exotic pretty crazy performances going on at the same time-I'd imagine the only thing that would be more amazing would be to see when the Phantom of the Opera arrives at our shores- and joins tHe party -thank u coney. Eric Rivas - Lost in Coney Island
Coney Island Film Festival is truly out of this world!!! you get to watch very creative & unusual films, have awesome drinks from there in-house bar, steps away from the screenings, see their museum, take a walk to the boardwalk, check out the beach, ride some rides, play some games, meet some unique personalties that come out from all walks of life, eat some authentic delicious food that Coney Island is famous for & so much more of the mysterious and wild that you will find out for yourself each trip out there.. . Thank you so much Rob & everyone at the Coney Island Film Festival for letting me be a part of this legacy of the weird, magical & beyond* Brian Torres Korlofsky - Dame Lo
Thank you Coney Island for including Mission of Mermaids in a magical festival that celebrates the colorful history of this remarkable place. We had an amazing time being part of the Mermaid Parade and now we are thrilled to add the CIFF to our story. We got to take in the Ocean view from the Wonder Wheel and as half fish & half human we felt incredibly welcomed! Susan Rockefeller - Mission of Mermaids
Because of its burlesque connections, the Coney Island Film Festival was the perfect venue for Bettie Page Reveals All. We had a great time at the screening. Everyone enjoyed the Q&A and hung out afterwards to chat about all things Bettie. We saw some great films, got to know new filmmakers and went crazy on the bumper cars. We saw old friends and made new ones. It was a blast. Mark Mori - Bettie Page Reveals All
It was an honor to have my movie included in the 2012 CI Film Festival alongside such great films. When I started making it, I never thought it would go that far. This was an experience I'll never forget, and I am looking forward to collaborating with some of the filmmakers and artists I met at the festival and seeing what kind of insane brilliance we can come up with! Thank you! Jay Singer - Gotta Love Coney Island
Thank you everyone at Coney Island USA , Dick Zigun, Rob Leddy and all who made the 2012 Coney Island Film Festival happen. l savored every minute in this hyperreall landscape of artists, filmmakers, film goers, lovers of Coney Island and the people who live and work here. Seeing films in the retro settings of Sideshows by the Seashore Theater and the Coney Island Museum is to experience a blast from the past. After the unique Festival Awards, hand painted by Marie Roberts, are given out, all filmmakers and their friends are treated with rides on the "Eldorado Bump Your Ass Off " cars! A BIG FINISH! Lou Dembrow - The Wonder Wheel
The Coney Island Film Festival is one of the coolest, most unique festivals you can attend. Great parties, great films, lots of drinks and, best of all, plenty of weirdos. - Tom Bond, writer/director, The Left Hook
This was our first festival and we had a great time. We saw some great movies and met some great filmmakers. We'll definitely be back next year. Joey Finnegan and Anthony Violante - Derelict
Another fantastic year at the Coney Island Film Festival. The twelth installment of this festival marks my fourth time visiting and my third year as an accepted filmmaker. Rob puts on a hell of a show and I feel lucky to have been a part of it. Kevin Lonano - Blue Sheep Suit
Comments from filmmakers who participated in the 2011 festival:
Coney Island is one of the coolest places to screen; it feels unique and special and almost like you're part of this grand American tradition. It's one for the history books.
Jeff Krulik, Heavy Metal Picnic
Great films, good food, cool crowd, fun atmosphere, plus a nightly burlesque show and a performance by a fire-eating woman... it's easy to see why the Coney Island Film Festival has such an excellent reputation! This is truly one of the most filmmaker-friendly festivals I've ever attended. My thanks to Rob Leddy and all the staff and volunteers. I had a blast at the 11th annual festival in 2011, and I'll definitely be back to celebrate next year.
Charles Q. Drexler, director/actor/writer of Street Pillow or, The Sidewalk Sleep
By the time the festival ended, we really were dizzy with pleasure, though winding up on the Wonder Wheel might have had something to do with it. This was by far the hippest, most cutting-edge and creative film festival we’ve attended, with a quality of submissions that speaks well for the programming dept. And to top it off with winning the award for Best Documentary Short over beers at Ruby’s Bar — man, it don’t get no better than that, as they say somewhere where grammar doesn’t matter.
Allen J. Sheinman and Collette Stallone, co-stars of “Two’s a Crowd.”
The Coney Island Film Festival is rich with all the things one would want from a film festival: enthusiastic crowds, wonderful staff, wild parties, and people hammering nails into their faces. A truly one-of-a-kind festival experience that is crucial for all freaks, weirdos, and the generally left-of-center. I happily put myself into all of those categories.
Greg Hanson - Good Taste
Coney Island is without a doubt one of the most unique film festivals in the world. Not only was the atmosphere intimate, the staff courteous and enthusiastic, but where else can you share shots of nose whiskey with fellow cinephiles, sword swallowers, and contortionists? I kept thinking of the famous line from Tod Browning's cult classic: "One of us. One of us. We will make you one of us." Well, mission accomplished. Filmmakers and sideshow performers alike, we were all united in our freakdom.
Marc Masciandaro - Impostor
Great films. Great parties. Great people. Coney Island Film Festival definitely lives up to its rep as the coolest film festival in the world. I'm in love. Can't wait for next year...
Brian O'Hare - The Virgin Forest
Coney Island Film Festival was friendly, fun and magical. I met a really vibrant group of filmmakers and have to thank Rob and his team for selecting such a unique and memorable bunch of films for 2011. An honour to screen at, a treat to attend! Thank you.
Silvana Jakich - Tom and Sabrina Divorce
What a pleasure to be back at Coney Island for another fest, and what a joy to hear that the operation is expanding. Coney Island is truly not to be missed, whether you're a filmmaker or just looking to check out the indie scene; every year I see films that share perspectives I never thought about before, and every year I learn a little more about the culture and heritage of this very special part of my favorite city. All this and sword swallowers too.
Adam Bertocci - Ronan and Alyssa are about to break up.
There's something magical about being in Coney Island, and to have a film screen there is truly unique. Plus, where else can you attend a party that includes sword swallowing and burlesque acts? Thanks to Rob and everyone for a great experience.
Kristen Lauth Shaeffer - Mercury in Tuna
I'd say any festival the opens a program with a country music video, screens a film about childhood constipation and ends with the death of Michael Jackson must be doing something right.
Gregory Loser - Death of a Popstar
Once again Rob Leddy and his team put on the greatest show in NYC. I am always excited and honored to screen at the Coney Island Film Festival.
Brian Lonano - Martian Precursor
Coney Island, home of the brave, home of the freaks, home of a lot love. Thank you again for having us and for all the dedication in putting this years event together. Growing up here in Coney Island I cant tell you how exciting it was to show my short film at the festival to an awesome audience. To top it all off win Best Experimental. Everyone who put this festival together, performed in it or attended were all on the same page. Its definitely a unique and raw experience hard to find. Brooklyn Represent!
Meat & Love. Director: Melanie Abramov DAME FACTORY
The decor and ambience of the Coney Island Museum is such a pitch
perfect match for the gritty aesthetic of Vacuum Attraction.
One can't ask for a better screening venue.
I can't thank you and your staff enough for a truly memorable weekend of great films, great hospitality and the great history of Coney Island. I knew when I attended the festival in 2010 that I would have to come back, hopefully, this time with a film of my own. I will always be grateful for Just Noodlin having its World Premier at the Coney Island Film Festival. It is one of great honors in my lifetime and I hope to be back again next year.
April James - Just Noodlin
If you have a story to tell, CIFF is the place to share it.
Enthusiastic crowds, approachable & sincere movie makers,...Not to be missed!
Howie Alex - Neptune Jam
The Internets Celebrities - Dallas Penn, Rafi Kam and I - had a great time at the festival. From the opening night party to the aquarium to our screening on Sunday, everything was really sweet and framed by one of the best locations for a festival there is. I loved meeting the passionate audience members and seeing the other movies - especially the Coney Island documenting ones that we screened with. There's such a rich history in Coney. You could make 1000 movies about the area and never run out of fascinating subjects. You run a helluva festival. I'm really happy we could be a part of it. Thanks for everything.
Casimir NozkowskI - IC Waters
Thanks so much for including Three Things in this year's presentation of the Coney Island Film Festival. We were thrilled to be a part of it. The Coney Island Film Festival was thoughtfully programmed and included dozens of excellent films. We so proud to find ourselves in such good company. It was a film festival that takes full advantage of it's unique geography and makes for a truly memorable weekend in New York City.
Matt Amenta - Three Things
Coney Island was the first festival I chose to attend, and I believe the festival I'm attending this week will be considerably more uptight. I may have spoiled myself. Thanks to Rob and the staff for allowing me to be part of the show. Floyd the Android fit in well there.
Jonathan Lyons - Floyd the Android
It was a great honor not only to debut my animation in the Coney Island Film Festival, but to participate in my first film festival ever, right here in my borough of Brooklyn! The audience and staff made me feel welcome, it was like sharing with family.
William Levin, "He Shoots, He Scores"
"Oh boy, oh joy!" To Rob Leddy, Dick Zigun & all those who worked so hard for the 11th Annual Film Festival at Coney Island USA, Thank you for creating this perfect venue to bring the "SAND IN YOUR SHOES", people together, AGAIN! We were all floating in a sea of smiles, enjoying the ocean views from the SS RUBY"S Captain's poop deck! First class, of course!!
Lou Dembrow - John Dorman, the Candy Man
Thanks again for showing Place Stamp Here at the 2011 Coney Island Film Festival. Unfortunately we were out of town for the screenings, but we WERE able to make the opening night party, which was unbelievable! We've never been to any film festival like this one - it truly captured the essence of Coney Island with an outstanding performance by the burlesque ladies, sword swallowers, and fire dancers at the freak show! It was so fun to be a part of and we hope to return next year to experience the festival in full. Well done guys! Joy and Noelle of Twins Are Weird - Directors/Animators - Film: Place Stamp Here
"Coney Island Film Festival ... anytime! Human Slingshot ... never again. That's all that needs to be said." Peter Killy, Writer-Producer The Robber Barons of Wall Street.
Comments from filmmakers who participated in the 2010 festival:
So how good can an independent film festival really be? The fabulous Coney Island Film Festival shows the way. I could not have asked for a better venue, atmosphere, and vibe than what the Coney Island Film Fest provided to the NY premiere of my directorial debut, 'Final Weapon'. For a film that featured an appearance and music by Lou Reed, who accompanied me to the event, we found the highly attentive staff, wonderful vintage theater, and fabulous personality gave Final Weapon as much star power as we and our guests brought to the fest. It was one of the best days ever - finished off with a great time at the original Nathan's restaurant just minutes away, munching on hot dogs with festival honoree, film director Darren Aronofsky and his fiance, Oscar winner, Rachel Weisz. From the terrific choice of films, attentive staff, inspired film makers, and industry attendees, fest director Rob Leddy is on to something big. The Coney Island Film Festival has a very bright future - one that I would be honored to be part of again.
Stephan Berwick Writer/Director, 'Final Weapon'
Without question the most unique film festival I have ever attended. a non stop bombardment of entertainment set against a fun and historical back round like Coney Island. The organization would Rival any festival anywhere, Rob Leddy, cares about films and film makers and strives to make it fun for us all.. I mean where else can you see amazing films, make great contacts win an award AND ride the bumper cars ??
Vincent Petrosini, Producer, "Flowers for Norma"
Coney Island Film Festival is the coolest festivals that I ever have attended . It captures the real spirit of Coney Island. Three days of unconditional fun and the pleasure of being in the company of other filmmakers with full house screenings. Thanks to Rob Leddy, the genius behind it, and his dedicated staff.
Jayan Cherian, Director, Shape of the Shapeless.
Dear Rob and the gang at THE CONEY ISLAND FILM FEST: So as a first time film maker y'all couldn't have made it easier or more fun to be a part of one of the coolest film festivals around. What a blast to be on home turf, with local artists and have our New York premiere! On hallowed ground no less! WOW! A week later and I'm still high on the great vibe that is Coney Island USA. Everyone from the tireless Rob Leddy, programmer extraordinaire to the very encouraging Mayor of Coney Island Mr. Dick Z. whose words of inspiration ring in my racing head tonite "if you make quality films on a small level now, you will make quality films on a larger level later", Eric our Q and A maestro keeping the dialogue moving, Joe and Dennis the projectionistas, (a nod to Joe for taking such care with our instructions, thanks!) Aleksha and Alfonso who took their job of welcoming wagon to the next level, making me feel all warm and fuzzy, everyone brought it home! Thank you! And wait! There's more! Our film LOOP-DA-LOOP AND GIUSEPPE was honored with the Best Silent Film award.Come on ! Are you kiddin me! Talk about icing on the cake! What a whole and exciting experience. and then we even got a giftbag! With a poster! and a pin! ...and some more fun stuff! So salami baloney!!! Kudos to you! Thank you again and again and again. We hope to come back next year!
Noel Robichaux, screenwriter, producer, and LOOP-DA-LOOP of LOOP-DA-LOOP AND GIUSEPPE
What a fantastic cinematic experience the Coney Island Film Festival is. The warm, enthusiastic audience, the excellent selections of films and the magical Sideshows by the Seashore Theater creates an amazing and unique atmosphere. It takes one back to the magical origins of cinema that was born at the carnivals, circuses and amusement parks. Darren Aronofsky’s masterpiece, Requiem for a Dream was an outstanding and holistic event as a great deal of the film was shot ‘just around the corner’ in Coney Island. Coney Island and New York City deserves such a wonderful film festival.
Tal S. Shamir, New York Trilogy
The Coney Island Film Festival is a truly remarkable event that can be simply described with only one word - fun. I've never been to a festival that encapsulates all that is great about it's location the way this one does. The seaside venue in this historic neighborhood filled with mementos of the area's rich past and present, surround the participants in Coney Island culture. This, along with the great people and amazing films make this an unique event that is not to be missed.
James Felix McKenney, Writer - Director SATAN HATES YOU
The Coney Island FIlm Festival was a truly unique experience. Where else can one enjoy remarkable films as a main course and a "burlesque goddess" as the appetizer? Oh, and let's not forget the bumper cars on award nights. Slamming!
James McSherry/"Poetry Man"
CIFF isn't just a film festival, it's an experience. Film-makers are given red carpet treatment while being welcomed into the quirky, hilarious, adventurous family of Coney Island itself. Rob and the CIFF staff / volunteers are warm and well-organized, personable and passionate. CIFF was truly a gem of a place to have our NYC premiere. What an amazing ride. Thank you!
Kari Morris - Executive Producer/Writer of "Two"
For me Coney Island is a magical place, I become excited every time I get off the train and walk onto Surf Avenue. I think a lot about the history of Coney Island, and am very proud to be a part of it. I once read that in the very early days of silent film, more films were made in Coney Island than anywhere else in the world. The Coney Island Film Festival is truly a festival for film-makers. This may sound strange, but it’s true. They do a superb job of screening the films, and throw a great party! The festival is supportive of artists and has been extremely supportive of me over the years. For this, I am very grateful and would like to sincerely thank Rob Leddy, Dick Zigun and everyone connected with the festival. Happy Anniversary, and here’s to the next 10 years!
Gary Beeber Producer/Director, “Dirty Martini and the New Burlesque” Winner, “Best Documentary Feature” 2010.
It was an honor that my short film, VINNY VINO had its New York Premiere at the 10th annual Coney Island Film Festival. Cool, diverse and a great support system for indie filmmakers with their own true voice. I'm a native New Yorker and Coney Island is a Real New York Film Festival. A huge thanks to Festival/Program director, Rob Leddy & Coney Island USA! Bill Sorice, writer/director/producer - VINNY VINO
Thanks again for a great time at this years CIFF. It's always a blast to head out to BK's most insane town to see some amazing films. Rob is the man when it comes to picking films that reflect the FREAKS OF THE WORLD UNITE spirit that Coney Island (and the CIFF) is. Already working on my submission for next year.
Randy Scott Slavin - "This Town" Gambit
Toronto has the celebrities, Cannes has the prestige, Sundance has the mountains, but only Coney has the freaks. Thanks for an amazing fest in an unpretentious and utterly unique setting. Parking Space truly felt at home here.
David Bitton - Parking Space
It was a thrill to see our short film on the big screen in Coney Island. The Coney Island Film Festival has a great audience and eclectic line up - at what other New York film fest can you see films and then go have drinks outside by the beach?
Michael Erland Walsh, director of AMANT DE CHAUSSURE (SHOE LOVER)
Simply put, the CIFF is unlike any other fest in the world, truely a one-of-a-kind event. Unique films, unique audiences, unique location and PASTIES!!! What's not to love!?
Eric Krasner - Bobby Visits The Library
If Federico Fellini were alive, and he had to organize a festival, it would probably resemble the Coney Island Film Festival. I mean, where else could the great Maestro find a voluptuously shaped reptilian tongued snake charmer to serve you a Brooklyn brewed beer during the opening festivities?
Leo Curbelo - Utopia Lies at the Horizon
The Coney Island Film Festival is as inspiring, strange and beautiful as that small corner of New York that hosts it. Among a world of festivals that tend to aspire simply towards indifference, the CIFF stands as tall as Coney Islands majestic Parachute Launch acting as a beacon for all those who want more from their festival experience....And yes, there are always the delicious hot dogs to go along with it.
Tom Justino - With Anchovies...Without Mamma
Our short film "Jules and Candy" enjoyed a world premiere at the Coney Island Film Festival and we couldn't have been more thrilled! From the opening night antics to the warm camaraderie of fellow filmmakers, this was a ground breaking moment in our lives. Thank you so much for honoring us with acceptance and we look forward to returning in the future (either as viewers or hopefully, participants). Keep this great ball rolling!
Joseph Quirk - Jules and Candy
This year's 2010 Coney Island Film Festival definitely stepped it up many notches. My film partner Rachele and I cleared our calenders months prior to make it to all 3 nights and we are so glad that we did. The opening night welcomed us to a beautiful red carpet and big rotating lights that we saw 1/2 a mile away driving up. It felt bigger and more epic than ever and we were highly into that. We noticed familiar faces working the bar/venue, great drinks and food and a memorable burlesque sideshow, japanese pole dancing plus much more! The film selections were great and very diverse. I always love the range of work CIFF brings to the screen and this year particularly felt more bad ass and passionate, maybe because most of the filmmakers were there and had great things to say. There was no better way to end the 3 day extravaganza that to be in the presence of Darren Aronofsky and Lou Reed. Rachele and I hit the boardwalk for tacos after seeing "Requiem for a Dream" on the big screen. 10 years well deserved to CIFF and Rob Leddy.
Mike Rizzo - Bay Rizz: The Man For You
To be a part of the 10th Annual Coney Island Film Festival was a great honor for me and my brother. To have our short film be amongst some fantastic shorts and features humbles me a great deal. I was so happy to attend the opening party and meet such wonderful filmmakers, volunteers and film buffs. Rob Leddy and his crew should be proud of themselves! Rest assured, my team and I already have a new film and are ready to submit to Coney Island 2011. Here's to another 10 years of success at Coney Island!
Brian Lonano - 8bit GHOST HOP!
On Coney Island the lights are bright on, the motors are humming, people are buzzing, the ticket master shouting. My favorite ride is taking place again- Coney Island Film Festival!
Signe Baumane - Birth
Up, down, & sideways,...The hottest, coolest, most rockin' film fest in existence!
Howie Alex - My Own Private March
Thanks so much for having ministry in this year's festival, it was the perfect place for me to have the first screening of this film in so many ways. suffice to say, it was meant to be and i couldn't be more pleased with how everything went. and the opening night party was amazing, especially angelica the fire eating hottie. best of luck with the festival in the future, i'm sure it will continue to grow.
Dennis W. Ho - Ministry in the Subway
Coney Island Film Festival is always guaranteed to be an exciting, eccentric, weekend. From the opening party, complete with classic sideshow acts & special guests to the closing ceremonies at El Dorado, CIFF never disappoints. I hope we have an opportunity to return again in the future. Hats off to Rob Leddy and the organizers of the 2010 festival. This was Coney’s best year yet!
Rachele Richards - Bay Rizz: The Man For You
It was one of the best curated festival I have ever screened a movie in. All of the movies, "A Fools Idea - What is Clown?" was showcased with worked really well as a collection of shorts.
Brian A. Bernhard - A Fools Idea - What is Clown?
Comments from filmmakers who participated in the 2009 festival:
What can I say? I can say a lot actually! "ATTACKAZOIDS, DEPLOY!!" had a proper NY premiere; a sold out show, playing with an amazing line up of films and the awesome backdrop that is Coney Island. To date, it has become my favorite film festival experience as a filmmaker and a film goer. Congrats to the amazingly professional Rob Leddy and his staff for putting on a fantastic festival. My hope is to continue invading Coney Island with more ATTACKAZOID films. Brian Lonano,
The Coney Island Film Festival supports filmmakers in a way that no
other festival can boast. With a unique venue and an incredibly hard
working staff, the CIFF puts together an amazing weekend of shorts and
features, side show and burlesque, and of course, an awards ceremony
second to none, housed at the Eldorado Bumper Cars. With a sold out
show, my short film, 'Silent Film Star vs The Undead' premiered at the
festival, leaving unforgettable memories to all those who attended.
And you won't meet anyone nicer than Festival Director Rob Leddy, a
man who cares as much about your film as you do! I hope to go again so
very very soon.
Michael Benni Pierce, director, Silent Film Star vs The Undead
Where else would we have gotten a sold-out house for our short film? So many times I've attended screenings of one of my shorts where the empty seats outnumbered the patrons. At Coney Island, many of the screenings were either near full or completely sold-out with even more people sneaking in to stand by the door. And they were actual film fans not just other filmmakers or festival volunteers. By far, the best festival house I've ever experienced. Throw in the opening night party, the awards ceremony with bumper cars, and the general chill atmosphere, and Coney Island was an awesome place to mingle and meet other filmmakers without any of the pretension. Thank you Rob and all of the festival staff for the perfect New York premiere!
It was a great pleasure to be a part of this special and unique festival. It's a truly New York experience to come down to Coney Island, take in the sights, eat some famous hotdogs and see some very entertaining films. In terms of sheer enjoyment, this festival can't be beat. From the opening night sideshow and party to the enthusiastic audiences to the super cool poster and bumper car award ceremony - Coney Island is a gem of a festival that's not to be missed. - Kristen Gray-Rockmaker, The Babysitter
As a director, the Coney Island Film Festival was an amazing opportunity to share your work with fellow filmmakers and fans in a fun and festive environment....Seeing my film shown at the Coney Island Freak Show space was a moment I will never forget....I was proud to be a part of a festival that was so well thought out and programmed I can't wait for next year as a filmmaker and a fan myself.... Jonny Von Golden, Director, Paper Dolls Live in Glass Houses and Real Gone
"This was the most fun festival I've ever been to - and a kick-off party Friday night unlike any other. Where else are you going to have fire eating and swordswallowing with your festival? Be there or be square!" Costa Mantis, Flying Pumpkins
I just wanted to take a moment to say thank you for having me and my film
(X-mess Detritus) in the festival! I had a great time and I have to say
that I have never been to a festival that had so many of the filmmakers in
attendance! At the end of the horror shorts block when Rob asked the
filmmakers in attendance to take the stage, I was completely blown away by
how many of them were there. It was truly a pleasure to get to meet some
of my colleagues who had made these amazing films. I tip my hat to Rob
Leddy and the staff of The Coney Island film festival for creating an
event that is really as much for the filmmakers as it is for the attending
public. And the fact that it takes place in Coney Island, a place that is
in danger of losing it's left-of-center, wonderfully freakish nature to
gentrification, is more reason to applaud your efforts. I hope to see you
all again next year! Voltaire X-mess Detritus
We are so proud to have been a part of the Coney Island Film Festival! Thank you Rob for such a fun opening Party. It was quite an experience to watch so many amazing films in such an incredible atmosphere! The sound & projection were top notch!! Also we couldn't ask for a better audience - it was filled with enthusiastic movie lovers. We can't wait to go back next year!
Stacey Goldschmidt & Ray Borchers - PALMFLOWER
The Coney Island Film Festival was a great time! Thanks for your
appreciation of our short "The Institute of Seance" -- we're quite
honored that you selected it as best silent film. I've been to many
film fests but I was impressed by the level of fun and energy at CIFF.
Showing our film to the enthusiastic audience in such a storied venue,
I felt connected to the long history of sensational showmanship that
only Coney Island provides!
The Institute of Seance
I had been anticipating this year's Coney Island Film Festival ever since last year's event and for good reason. Thanks to Rob Leddy and his staff, this extremely well-organized festival has once again proved to be an experience that's special to me as both a filmmaker and moviegoer. My film's New York premiere was a success and as soon as the night was over, all I could think about was how much I look forward to next year's event, whether I'm there with a film or not. - Rafael De Leon Jr., Wilted
The Coney Island Film Festival allows filmmakers of all stripes to
collect and share their work in the center of one of America's great
treasures - Coney Island! It was an honor to participate; Rob and the
entire festival created a warm, welcoming, sometimes freaky, always
thrilling environment in which to meet fellow artists and entertainers. Greg Kotis - "Bad Day at Red Hook"
A lot of times people talk about the frills and more unique aspects of
the Coney Island Festival, don't get me wrong I love burlesque, but
just as sensational as the opening night entertainment is the quality
of work put on display each Fall. The Coney Island Film Festival
is not only one of the most innovative and supportive festivals out
there but it also has grown to become the CBGB's of independent film,
it's the place innovative filmmakers want to go and come back to. Ramen Cromwell (Best Made in Coney Island 2007, "Damaged" Official Selection 2009)
We could not have imagined, much less chosen, a better place for the Brooklyn premiere of "Brooklyn Force" than the Coney Island Film Festival. From the astonishing opening night party to the last bittersweet bumps on the El Dorado track, the entire weekend not only showed but instilled a deep love of Coney Island's history and spirit, reflected in both the fiercely independent film selections and the next-door-neighbor friendliness and generosity of the staff. It's a rare film festival where you find yourself just as excited to attend the day after your own screening as you were on the day of. Every night on the subway ride home across the river I'd look out at the light on the two bridges flanking me, cast an eye back at Brooklyn and reflect on what a special place I was coming away from. I'm already planning to come back next year — as a filmmaker if I get in, as an attendee come hell or high water. Adam Bertocci, Brooklyn Force
Coney Island was a great experience from a filmmaker's perspective. The networking opportunities and the great turnout of crowds for the films made really worth making the road trip from Michigan. The Q&A at the end was very appreciated as well, it's nice when the filmmakers are recognized after screenings. Plus Coney Island Beer and Nathan's hotdogs can't be beat! Thanks and we'll definitely be submitting again!" - Mike Madigan, Dealbreaker
Thanks to everyone involved with the Coney Island Film Festival. We were blown away by the dedication of the staff, the care they took with the projection, and the respect they paid to the films. We were also very impressed with the quality of the selections. Some incredible films there! We had a wonderful time and look forward to attending in the future.
CIFF is full tilt, all-out, nonstop, comin' at you, story telling.
A dream festival for movie makers & movie watchers.
Can't wait to be back. Howie Alex - Who Shot Coney Island?
The Coney Island Film Festival far surpassed all our expectations - and we expected a really good time. The locale, people and films created an unparalleled entertaining event. Thanks Rob, and the staff, volunteers and performers for all of the hard work put into making the CIFF something truly momentous. Our one regret was that the new espresso machine wasn't set up yet.
Roy Kohn & Kate, Finding Meeky
No doubt, the most unique festival around!
Chris Cassidy, Fight Day
The Coney Island Film Festival is always an amazing time. I always feel
right at home and always so much to do and see. This year's films had a
lot of diversity and great things to say and the people i met were very
passionate and serious filmmakers. I look forward to this every year. A
big thanks to Rob for putting this together and also for his keen tip off
sense regarding Strongman's public stunt (i had a front row seat cause of
the Leddy). Amazing!" -Mike Rizzo, Bay Rizz "Rescue"
I want to thank everyone involved in making the Coney Island Film
Festival possible. Just by speaking with Rob Leddy and the staff, I
can tell they not only care about truly independent films but also the
community of filmmakers. It was an honor for 8 Days Later to be a part
of this festival and I hope to be back!
Jun Naito, 8 Days Later
To Rob and the CIFF gang, thanks for hosting us at the 2009 Coney Island Film Festival. It was a perfect venue for our crazy scary movie, and the crowd was really into it. You've got a great thing going - Congratulations!
Brad Rubenstein - RED HOOK
It was a total film geek's treat to screen in Coney Island. Walking
on Surf Avenue to my screening, I couldn't help but think of the
iconic films that had been shot there. It inspired me to make plans
for a Coney Island film of my own one day. J.P. Chan, I DON'T SLEEP I DREAM
The Coney Island film Festival was an great festival to be apart of. The area is so rich with history and style, and the films are an eclectic mix that made me really proud to be apart of the festival. I definitely felt like my weird film fit in there. I'll be sure to attend and ride bumper cars next year! Jake Armstrong
The Terrible Thing of Alpha-9!
First of all, thank you so much for all your hard work. I thought the fest went off without a hitch. You and your staff are a well-oiled machine.There's something magical about Coney Island. It has the old fashion charm of a time forgotten. There's a certain nostalgia that comes from sitting on the boardwalk and drinking Brooklyn brewed beer. Brooklyn is my home and there is a certain peace of mind I find every time I'm on the Coney Island shore. I thought the group of films was wonderfully ecclectic. My Brooklyn- made film was right at home. This fest is a gem, and I hope to go every year. Jason Godbey, Director of Small Time
Thank you so much for all your hard work, dedication, and twisted mind. I enjoyed the opening night party as well as the actual screening. I managed to get friends to come who normally wouldn't venture out as far, and all thanked me for the adventure. L. Gabrielle Penabaz - Cesar Salad
Comments from filmmakers who participated in the 2008 festival:
What a magical weekend...and we're not just talking about the fire-eaters and sword swallowers. Rob Leddy went above and beyond...again...to not only put together a diverse program of terrific films, but to give the filmmakers an unforgettable experience.
Chris Fox Gilson and Carolyn Travis - Airplay
A true pleasure Rob! The Coney Island Film Festival is a rare gem... tasteful, refined, and completely debauched. BRAVO! Looking forward to seeing you next year!
Randy Scott Slavin - Temporarily In Love
The Coney Island Film Festival has the best opening party (fire eaters! burlesque dancers! man hammering nail into head!), the best ending party (bumper cars!!) and in between tons of fabulous movies. What a perfect weekend!
Alexis Neophytides - Coney Island's For The Birds
I would first like to thank Rob Leddy, for a wonderful job with the festival. From opening night, booze, burlesque and sideshows, till the closing ceremony, bumper cars, everything was true to the Coney Island spirit. The Coney Island Film Festival is truly good until the last drop! 125 films with a beach and boardwalk right down the street... I mean what more can you ask for in a festival? Thank you to everyone involved with the magical weekend!
Peter LiPera - Save Coney Island
It is a pleasure and honor to have appeared in the 8th annual Coney Island Film Festival and to have been so well received by the magical community of this iconic neighborhood. The Best Feature Award for LUCKY DAYS from the people who have devoted themselves to Coney Island is a potent reminder of our efforts to preserve a slice of historical Coney Island in our fictional film. Thanks for maintaining an amazing place where people from all walks of life can go for an unforgettable time. Keep up the good work. Sincerely, Angelica Torn, Tony Torn and Luke Zarzecki
From the opening night ceremonies featuring burlesque, magic, sword swallowers, and fire eaters, to then letting each and every filmmaker come on stage for an intro and a few words, to the free beer, wine, and buffet, Rob knows how to make everyone feel at home while at the CIFF. 3 days of great films in a setting where everyone was mingling and getting to know each other, was followed by free rides on the bumper cars, and an award's ceremony which made everyone feel like a winner. What other fest does this? 125 films, all ran smoothly, all screened on time, and on a brand new projector! Even before the festival started, Rob was in constant contact, making us feel like a part of the "Coney Island USA" family. Incredible way to close the summer! My only complaint is that I'll hafta wait an entire year before the next CIFF. Big Thank You to Rob Leddy! Oh yeah, and a Big Fuck You to Joe Sitt. Hopefully people will read this in five or ten years and wonder who this Joe Sitt guy was!
Johnny Salvatore - Sodom By The Sea
It was such an honor and a blast to be part of the Coney Island Film Festival! We attended six different programs, and in those, we saw some of the best films we've seen all year- which just made us even prouder to be included in the festival. The opening night party was so much fun; it really set the tone for things to come. And we wondered, Do they really hold the awards ceremony in the bumper cars?! Of course, they do! We walked away with a rush of happy adrenaline and the overall feeling that the CIFF really does everything with the filmmakers in mind- from the incredibly well-run screenings to the incredibly fun parties. Many thanks to Rob Leddy and his fantastic crew for everything!
Michelle Brundige + Jack de Sousa = Grizlet -
The CIFF, like everything in Coney Island, is an unique experience that stands on its own, completely different from anything else. In this era of corporate greed and brainwashing entertainment, the CIFF is an authentic community building event. In an era where the words "independent film" have become a hollow marketing buzz word, the Coney Island Film Festival presents an honest alternative of works made from the heart. Besides, how else can you get to share the stage with the world's-cutest
sword swallower?? Thank you Coney!
Marcos Meconi - Carlos Catani
Since I was three years old up until a week before its closing, Astroland was both a comfort zone and fantasy realm for me. As a New Yorker, this was my Disney World. So to be inspired to include elements of it in my directorial debut "Shore Thing" and then to have its world premiere screened at "The Coney Island Film Festival" is a privilege. I want to thank the entire staff of this year's event for their utmost dedication, professionalism, and respect. I especially want to thank Rob Leddy, who is a rockstar in my (and alot of other poeple's eyes).Anthony Lovari - Shore Thing
The opportunity for my film to have its world premiere at the Coney Island Film Festival was one that I will not forget. I have to commend Rob Leddy and his staff for conducting such a fun and unique event. Not only are the projection and sound excellent, the audiences are upbeat and full of energy. What more can you ask for in a film festival?"
Rafael De Leon Jr. - Family Affair
The Coney Island Film Festival was great. The mix of the opening night party, with its burlesque and side shows, and the films and candid interviews of the filmmakers made for a unique and warm experience. A weekend that I will savor for a long time. I would love to participate again in the future.
It makes me want to make more films!
David Kramer - Age Old Story
The Coney Island Film Festival Rocks!!! As an Independent Filmmaker, I couldn't think of anywhere better than Coney Island (among the freaks and weirdos) to have my movie make it's worldwide debut! As I was watching the sword swallower, fire-breather, and burlesque dancers, I thought to myself, "this is the stuff of legends" (or at least stuff to impress the grandkids with). Can't wait to check it out next year!Douglas Hosdale - Walking Shadow
that was amazing! I walked though the rain, on really empty and splashy Surf Avenue, thinking - no way anyone will be at the screening,
not even dogs would brave this muddy sticky gloomy evening,
but here i was! - entering full to capacity theater, seeing an
enthusiastic crowd cheering each film, and and all of us having the
Oh, my, if this is not a filmmakers paradise, what else is?
Signe Baumane - Teat Beat Of Sex, Episodes 8,9,10,11
As a kid my father use to take me to Coney Island, so to come back
years later and participate in the great history that surrounds it
was a thrill of a lifetime.
Thank you Rob for a truly great festival. The audiences were packed
and the reception to the the filmmakers was by far TOP NOTCH! The
party was off the chain fun!.. I look forward to submitting my next
film and returning for more fun. VERY COOL!
Jason Sokoloff (JSOK) - Treasure Of Riverside Park
We couldn't have asked for a better screening. We were
psyched to see The Brooklyn Way on a big screen with such an
enthusiastic audience. But we were even more psyched to see so many
great films in one of the hippest venues around. Long live the Coney
Island Film Festival!
Matt Ginsburg - The Brooklyn Way
I've been lucky enough to be a featured actor in a CIFF-recognized film two years in a row. Each time, I've enjoyed myself immensely and have been overwhelmed by the professionalism, warm hospitality and spectacular celebration of freakishness that is Coney Island. Please keep it alive! I want to come back!"
Holly Lynn Ellis - ATTACKAZOIDS!
The Coney Island Film Festival is, hands down, the most fun I've ever had at a festival. Besides programming a lot of strong, diverse films, they really went the extra mile to provide a great atmosphere for filmmakers to meet, and the gritty energy of Brooklyn filled every moment. Plus the annual audience-participation screening of The Warriors is something everyone should see at least once in their life!
Daniel McKleinfeld - Security & Fee
Dude you really know how to throw a fucking party! Thank you once again.
I'm sure your praises will be pouring in, but i really cant stress enough what a great event the CIFF is year after year, and how much I appreciate the effort you and all your support staff put into making it a wonderfully unique event. I hope it goes on forever. Hope to see you again next year, and the following....etc. etc. etc.Josh Smith - Hell Bent On It
It was really an honor to be included with such an eclectic group of films and talented filmmakers. There really is something for everyone at this festival. I enjoyed spending the day at Coney Island and of course eating a Nathan's hot dog. The festival crew made it all so easy and ejoyable, thanks.
Bobby Cassidy - Brooklyn Baseball
Leddyyy...The Coney Island Film Festival keeps getting bigger and more fun every year. The building looks beautiful! Great job to you and your crew again. Looking forward to next year!
Chris DePierro - Actor - Coney Island Saved Me!
Year after year, the Coney Island Film Festival has been a great time
at the movies. The creativity, the diversity and the heart that gets
poured into this festival is incredible. This festival helped me get
some folks out to Coney who had never been, but they will definitely
be back! The acts, the location, the whole experience sets this
festival apart, and gives us all even more reason to treasure Coney
Ben Jurin - Even
Rob, this was by far the best program any film I've made has played in. You picked a great group films and should be proud. What else can I say about the environment of the festival that hasn't already be said. Coney Island was the perfect place to premiere my film and I couldn't have been happier with the experience. Thanks Rob!
Terrence Smith- The Walking Corpse
CIFF is an ALL-OUT rush! Non-stop "off the hook" story telling,
enthusiastic audiences, plus The Side Show staff and Rob Leddy's crew, make
this festival a moviemaker's dreamland. Can't wait to be back.
Howie Alex - January First
It was a tremendous honor for us to return to our BK roots and be screened by a packed house amongst work of such high caliber from all over the world. An amazing creative energy encompassed Coney Island for those three, very rainy yet well attended days. We're concerned about Mr. Vomit of the freakshow, was he was able to safely remove the rusty 4 inch nail from his skull?
Rich Adler & Jen Piazza - A Mermaid Cycle
This has been a truly unique and atmospheric film festival. It had a cool, retro ambiance surrounding the entire affair missing from the usually cold & corporate festival circuit. This was my first time at Coney Island & I only ever remember it from the old cartoon "The Perils of Penelope Pitstop" in which the villian's henchman, in every episode, longed to go to Coney Island! I see what they meant! I had a blast!
Nathan Schiff - Abracadaver!
It was a great pleasure to participate at Coney Island Festival. There was something for everyone to see. The location was absolutely fabulous and the crowd was fun and cheerful. I loved it and hope to participate again. Big thanks to Rob and the team for doing such a great job at putting it all together.
Yuliya Lanina - Mishka
The charm of Coney Island, with a line-up of great films and terrific Opening night party, the Coney Island Film Festival was quite an experience. It’s an honor to be have been a part of it.
Jack Bank – Gangster’s Crib
The Coney Island Film Fest is so much more than the sum of it beautiful parts (i.e., Coney Island itself, the community of filmmakers, the vitaityl of NY culture and indy film). Bringing together the joy of storytelling through film with the fun of being a viewer; it stands out as one of the last grassroots efforts that in a sea of meaningless commercial festivals.
Ilise "The Lady Aye" Carter - Mermaids of New York: The Brooklyn Babydoll
Upon entering the doorway of the Sideshow Theater, one cannot help but notice the unique flair of the Coney Island Film Festival. There's something very charming and enchanting about a venue which has maintained its original artistic vision despite the evident changes in the area. This is a great change of pace and a lovely reminder why film festivals exist in the first place.
Nicholas Economides - One Little Step
The atmosphere that surrounds the Coney Island Film Festival is like no other. There is something in the air, in the freakshows, coming off the wonderwheel, or the beach next door. Seeing people walking around with Warriors vests, and having a bar right there. Its all incredible. The reaction to my movie "EAT ME" was one of the best yet. The Q & A's are always fun, and the vibe is just like no other. I feel like its okay to be a complete freak at the fest. Thanks again for showing my films two years in a row.
Victor Bonacore - EAT ME
Thank you so much for finding my long lost film. As a working fimmaker for over 40 years I am so proud to have been a part of this years festival. The time that I had over the weekend was tremendously entertaining in both the social events and the wide range of wonderful films from a group of very talented people. It was indeed a potpourri of Coney Island.....only 45 minutes from Broadway and although it is only truely alive for 4 months a year the efforts of so many such as yourself will hopefully help to keep this magical tip on the southeastern corner of Long Island alive and kicking for many years to come.Franklin Feinberg - Coney
Once again, a fantastic event, Rob. One of the few gems left in NY! The film selection was seamless and the overall atmosphere fun and energetic. Looking forward to the next one.
Simona Prives - Dishwashers
Booze, burlesque, wall to wall Zombie films, Nathan's hot dogs, what else do you want from a film festival?!!!!
Robert E. Moore - Detachment
From the moment I stepped into the Freak Bar I felt like I belonged. Thanks for helping me get my story out to a great audience. My film couldn't have screened at a better place.
Eric Maryea - Counting Waves
Coney Island has been a very special place for me, so glad I had the opportunity to be apart of such a wonderful film festival.
Derek Garcia - Brooklyn is Everything
The Coney Island Film Festival is celebrated every year in true Coney Island fashion making it one of the most unique film festivals in the world. Is there any other film festival that has sword swallowers and fire eaters? I
don't think so! Rob Leddy and the CIUSA crew do a fantastic job in running such a smooth event. I'm looking forward to next year!
Evan Kleinman - Made in Coney Island
Comments from filmmakers who participated in the 2007 festival:
From a filmmaker's perspective, Rob Leddy and his staff were fantastic to
work with for a perfectly wonderful outcome. Words like professionalism, comprehensiveness, and caring come to mind first
while good communications and happy demeanors are close seconds. My
family, friends and colleagues who came out to experience the
festival and/or the party had a very positive and memorable
experience. What a wonderful venue for filmmakers to participate in
and what an authentic slice of the real New York City that not many
get to experience and enjoy. I will surely participate again in the
Mike Edwards - Coney Island Cyclone
I'd like to sincerely thank Rob Leddy and The Coney Island Film Festival, for being so incredibly supportive of me as an artist and as a film-maker. Iıve been on the festival circuit for a little over a year now, and have had the privilege of screening at many festivals throughout the country. In my opinion, The Coney Island Film Festival is absolutely one of the best. At this festival they have big, loud, enthusiastic audiences, and this is what rings my bell as an independent film-maker. They also have a FANTASTIC opening night party complete with sword swallowing, burlesque, fire-eating, open bar and plenty of good food. Basically, itıs a lot of fun for everyone.
Gary Beeber - Director/Producer, BALLY-MASTER, Best Documentary Short-2007
We were honored that our film premiered at the Coney Island Film Festival. Rob, Val and the rest of the Coney Island crew are an amazing group of people. Our premiere was a ton of fun and we can't thank you all enough for making it a memorable experience.
Katherine Foronjy -
Mathematically Alive - A Story of Fandom
I just wanted to let you know that I had a great time at the festival yesterday. Holding the awards ceremony in a bumper car venue was sheer BRILLIANCE! I had such a great time. Thanks for everything.
John Kinhart - Blood, Boobs & Beast
Thank you and the festival crew for awarding Nature of the Beast best short at this year's Coney Island Film Festival. I've come to Coney Island many, many times over the years in search of strange characters and inspiration, and to be part of the collective spirit of this place is a special honor. Thank you so much for defending the authentic, phantasmagoric, DIY spirit of Coney Island with your festival.
Nate Pommer - Nature of the Beast
Just wanted to thank you again for all your hard work and great organization
of the festival. Kim Coates and I really appreciate your support of King Of Sorrow as does
Damian Lee and we really were pleased with the audience we had and their
enthusiasm for the film.
Lara Daans - King Of Sorrow
The Coney Island Film festival is, appropriately, like nothing else. The staff is world class; friendly, professional, and clearly dedicated to making the participants feel as important as we think we are. It caters to creating opportunities for networking between directors and provides great access for audience participation as well. Somewhere between the Snake Dancer at the opening party and the Bumper Cars at the closing ceremonies you know you're not in "Kansas" anymore, this is Coney Island.
Ramen Cromwell - Coney Island
Coney Island is the perfect venue for a film festival and my little movie fit right in! Rob and his staff did a fantastic job with a great turnout. This will be one of the great stops along the circuit. The films chosen fit the surroundings and take you to another place. Holding a film festival in Coney Island is truly brilliant and I will always be proud to have screened there. Thank You for adding TAKE OUT to the other tremendous films. It was truly a different and fantastic experience. Jon Budine - Take Out
As a returning filmmaker, I was able to really appreciate all that the festival has to offer. I screened "Team Queen" at Coney Island last year and was so taken by the location that I ended up returning to shoot "Eternal Flame" there soon after. Thus I found myself doubly blessed. Not only was Coney Island a great place to shoot, but it was the perfect place to have our New York premiere. Even though Coney Island as a location may be changing, the film festival is still going strong! The filmmakers are treated well, the screenings are packed, the parties are always a blast and it is one of the most unique venues I have ever screened at. Where else can you find a sword swallower, snake dancer, fire eater and amazing films all under one roof? I hope I am invited back soon because the festival just keeps getting better and better every year!
-Leah Meyerhoff, Eternal Flame
Thanx again for chosing "KEEP IT CLEAN" to be part of the Coney Island
Film festival - I was very pleased by the packed house and the applause.
The sound and colors were good - all in all a very pleasant experience -
your staff is great and you are a wonderful host and to drive a bumper car
at the closing night was marvatastic.
Sena - Keep it Clean
Thank you so much for including me in the festival. It was wonderful.The quality of the films and the people made it an experience I'll
never forget. I was very proud to be there amoungst such great filmmakers. And the bumper car award ceremony was truly inspired and
fabulous fun. Again, thank you for including my film in the program.
Raiya Corsiglia - Blue Dreams Downtown
My directorial debut had its world premiere at the 2007 Coney Island Film Festival and I can't think of a place I'd rather have had it or a place I'd rather debut my next film. The organizers have managed to create a neighborhood festival with this odd blend of romance and vice just like Coney Island itself. I was honored to be included in the short film group I was, because the other films in the session were amazing. I was humbled to be included among them. I've been to many other festivals as a producer and as a guest and never have I been to one like this between the opening night party completely void of people trying to be filmmaker-cool to the closing awards ceremony at the bumper cars! Drinking beer all afternoon on the boardwalk wasn't so bad either!
Stephen Lyman - As a Cloud
First, Congrats to all the winners of the various awards and to all the filmmakers who had their films screened at this year's Coney Island Film Festival!
Once again, the variety of films screened at this years CIFF was amazing. Horror, comedy, fantasy, drama and the coolest documentaries. It had it all.
Rob Leddy, Val Killmore, Dennis Catalfumo, David Gratt, Mayor Dick D. Zigun, Jodi Taylor, Norman Blake and everyone at the CIFF made this year's festival the most successful one to date and were always around to assist. Thanks for all your hard work that made it possible.
From the opening night party to the closing night awards, CIFF was full of talent and surprises. The Great Fredini, Insectavora, Serpentina, Donnie Vomit and all the other freaks and burlesque stars made the party unbelievable. The room was packed. And where else can someone win an award while sitting in a bumper car and then have all the attendees celebrate by bump, bump, bumping their asses off in a battle royal bumper car race? Only In Coney Island USA! Thanks to the El Dorado!
Also, a special thanks to our former Mayor's wife for calling Mayor Zigun before every screening to make sure that all cell phones were off. What a woman?! Submit in '08!
Chris DePierro -
This was my very first film festival and it was an incredible rush to
be surrounded by people laughing and responding to images in my film.
Having my film seen by an audience of others who also love Coney
Island was a dream come true. My 12 year old daughter and I really enjoyed the kid-friendly Program
#1 and then had the whole Coney Island experience from skeeball to
hotdogs.Thanks for keeping this festival going.
Marcia Bricker Halperin "Adventures on a Tzitza String"
Thanks so much for including my short film, Messenger, in the lineup of this year’s Coney Island Film Festival. It was so gratifying to watch the audience’s reaction to it — I couldn’t have been more pleased. This was my first time in Coney Island, too, and it certainly lives up to its storied reputation! Thanks again for everything.
Mark Scalese - Messenger
The Coney Island Film Festival was a pleasure to take part in! The enthusiasm of the filmmakers and the viewers was infectious and the setting, Sideshows by the Seashore, was fabulously surreal and immensely fun.
Lauryn Siegel - A Triplet Affair
We must say that it truly was an honor to have the world premiere of
Robert German's "Open Wide" muisc video be an official selection of
the CIFF. Thank you all for a great festival, we at Bizarre FARM
Productions had a wonderful time.
Rob Martin - Open Wide
Thanks so much for letting me be a part of the 2007 Coney Island Film Festival. It was by far unlike any festival I have experienced. The opening night party was incredible and the venues were great. I had a blast!
Chris Carboni - Mirror Madness
As an actress, film maker and 06' winner being able to participate once again in 2007 Coney Island Film Festival has been a thrilling ride! !Having grown up in Brooklyn, Coney Island has always been a compelling location that has roots in my earliest memories.
The Coney Island Film festival has presented the diverse and wonderful people of Brooklyn and other places with an opportunity to showcase their work to an open-minded insightful audience. Rob Leddy and the whole Coney Island crew, thanks a bunch!
Amanda Jencsik - Freak Dream
We were given the freedom to make it more than a screening. It was an
event, and it was all we could have hoped for in our premiere.
Joseph Coburn - Mathematically Alive - A Story of Fandom
Amazing festival, was really a good time. Thanks for having my film play!
Victor Bonacore - Pretty
Comments from filmmakers who participated in the 2006 festival:
What a cool film festival. I loved being at Coney Island, the venue is beautiful, the people were cool the projection was awesome and the sound was perfect. This was the best "Surf Gang" has sounded yet at a festival; better than the big ass Loew's on 34th St! I brought a friend from Australia for her birthday and she said it was the best birthday she ever had. I really enjoyed the selection of films, too. thanks so much. -Katrina del Mar Director/Producer "Surf Gang"
EVERYONE running this festival and performers helping out were incredibly nice and accessible. The films were fantastic and everything seamlessly ran on schedule. Projection was marvelous for everyone no sound or picture problems or blackouts etc. or tapes eaten or fires breaking out from the projectors, and most importantly, no bombs or incendiary devices went off! Between the screenings, Nathan's hotdogs and glorious weather to walk past rides and the beach along the boardwalk from Coney Island to Brighton Beach and back, it was truly a unique film festival experience!!!! Jill Wisoff - Creating Karma
Coney Island Film Festival's opening night party is the most fun you'll ever have at any film festival-imaginative burlesque shows, awesome circus sideshow acts and an open bar. While the festival circuit today is steadily changing for the worse as many organizers are whoring themselves out to the "independent" studio pictures with big stars and even bigger budgets, CIFF offers a selection of truly independent films presented in the most unique location in the world. If you are looking for down to earth people who love film, this is a place for you. Boris Gavrilovic "My Life as an Underdog"
The standard thank you to Rob, Laurie and the Coney Island Film Festival is not good enough. I brought my wife, some friends, and Kamikaze (the star of our film) for the opening night party and the Film Festival. It was one of the best weekends Iıve ever had, it was SO MUCH FUN! The party was FANTASTIC! We are all still thinking about the whipped cream and chocolate sauce! All joking aside, the performers were truly great, every one of them a true artist! For me, the best thing about being a film-maker is having an audience. The Coney Island Film Festival provided one of the best audiences Iıve ever had, we also made a lot of new friends. Gary Beeber Messenger Winner, Best Documentary Short, 2006
This is the only worthwhile film festival in the greater New York area. I was thrilled to have my film premiere at CIFF beyond any other festival in the city. Having been born and raised in Brooklyn - CIFF is a completely necesary institution for the true New Yorker - keep it going. See you when i'm famous Ronni Raygun Thomas - Dawn of the Flies
This festival is truly representative of the creative energy and spirit of New York City in a setting that took me back to the birthplace of the wild side of American entertainment. Everybody was so cool to us and it was great meeting the other filmmakers and staff. The opening night party was a total gas with outlandish performances that set the perfect tone for the rest of the festival. Thank you for having us, it was like a cinematic ride on the Cyclone. Mike Davis - Pervert
Coney Island holds a fond place in my heart, not only because it is part of the greatest city in the world, but also because it is the birthplace of American entertainment and showmanship. I was truly honored to have my documentary "American Carny" premier in a place steeped in the rich history of sideshow and carny arts. The Coney Island Film Festival is a continuation of that marvelous heritage and hopefully it will keep the tradition alive for generations to come". - Nick Basile - American Carny: True Tales from the Circus Sideshow
With pretentious arthouse circle-jerk snobbiness at a minimum and all-out insane fun movies & attractions at a maximum, the Coney Island Film Fest sets the bar for what a great film fest should be. It's been a pleasure to be part of it so thank you for including my film and I'll definitely submit another one next year! Dima Otvertchenko "The Guide Still Standing"
CIFF is full tilt. From start to finish, auteurism has a home! Howie Alex - The Falcons are 3
We were so honored to have our film, YELLOW BELLY, screen at Coney Island this year! It's the perfect venue for a film festival--You can ride the Cyclone, Shoot the Freak, and then go to your screening in a totally supportive, enthusiastic, and innovative environment. -Jessie Hutcheson and Lisa M. Perry, Sloane Road Productions
A bonanza of burlesque. A carnival of cinema. Fire breathers, freaks, and films. I couldn't have asked for a better venue to show "Team Queen." Thanks for everything! Leah Meyerhoff - Team Queen
It went too quickly... The 2006 Coney Island Film Festival went too quickly. It's hard to describe the sense of coolness you feel when being around all the creative people at legendary Coney Island. There is a family atmosphere, yet the sense of "the parents are out, let's party". The variety of films screened was unbelievable. The anticipation of what type of film you were going to see next was very exciting. Rob, Laurie, Val, Dennis, Clinton, Dottie, Dick, Jodi and Norman were always around and very friendly. Big congrats to them! The opening night party with The Great Fredini and all the fun, amazing acts was a once in lifetime experience. Thanks to everyone who had anything to do with the CIFF and next year won't come soon enough. The biggest NY secret is out. CIFF is where it's at. Submit in '07! Amanda Jencsik and Chris DePierro - I Wonder
The Coney Island Film Festival has a unique vibe. From the opening night party featuring sword swallowers, fire eaters, and a burlesque show, I had a great time. All of the events were unique and entertaining including the screening of my feature "Pisser" as well as some of the other screenings, including the hillarious film "Pervert" and a showing of the "Warriors". It just doesn't get any better. Matt Chertkoff - Pisser
I didn't grow up in Coney Island (but very far away, across the ocean), nor ever lived there, but Coney Island has always been in myself, without knowing it. I guess it represents to me the whole (and romantic) idea of an America that does not exist anywhere else anymore, but in this little neighborhood where anything can happen if it is passionate enough. I have only been in Coney Island a few times, but every single one of them has been special and unforgettable: it was the first time when I shot my movie - and I think my alien felt finally happy at an ease. I also got married in Coney Island when City Hall in Manhattan closed after 9/11; and last, to receive this Award. The Coney Island Film Festival is the concentrated gem of Coney Island. It is the first American festival I submitted my movie to, and I couldn't have chosen a better one, I mean, what other festival in the world would have possibly honored us with such an unique opening party? Watch out Cannes! I'd like to dearly thank Laurie, Rob and the rest of the staff, as well as the performers, the filmmakers, the audience and the people of Coney Island that make dreams out of life. Bombonia, Best Experimental 2006 for "I Live In Brooklyn".
Thank you so much for including my film, "Zombie-American," in this year's festival. The Coney Island Film Festival is everything you would expect from such an event in such a place: wild, woolly, weird and a lot of fun! And don't get me started on the opening night party... Nick Poppy - Zombie-American
The Coney Island Film Festival was a wild ride through the world of burlesque performance, mildly pornographic cinema, and questionable taste. And I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. A totally unique and exciting film festival that is sure to thrill for years to come. Soren Bailey Co-Director - The Threat From Behind
Comments from filmmakers who participated in the 2005 festival:
Coney Island was easily my favorite film festival. Rob puts on a great show and is helping preserve a place with a rare and eclectic history.The atmosphere was laid back and unpretentious, yet totally professional. The film projection and sound was excellent.Thanks for the opportunity to show our movie! Rachel Smith - Tin Town
Kick-ass films, wierd-ass freaks, juicy-ass dogs, hot-ass women! Never before have I experienced a festival so fun, so debauched, so filthy, yet with such a high level of professionalism maintained. Rob Leddy is a fucking 'Warrior' in his own right! Rory Kindersley - Hot Lunch
The Coney Island Film Festival was extremely well organized with a friendly staff, very cool venues and excellent projection/sound. As a first time film maker, I was a bit nervous about having my movie screened but the CIFF turned out to be a completely pleasurable experience. I hope all film festivals are like this. And after the screening, my wife and I went out to the batting cage and took some swings. It doesn't get any better than that.Thanks for all your hard work! Kazumi Umeda - Soothsayer
Coney Island Film Festival is the best place for truly independent and innovative works of all genres. It was an honor to have my film 'Santos and the Romantics' screened at CIFF. As well as to see all the great films you have programmed. For the filmmakers, if you're to submit your film to only one festival this is the one. Thank you for all your incredible work!!! -Dmitriy Khavin (Odessa, USSR) Santos and the Romantics
The Coney Island Film Festival was a blast. The opening party was packed with filmmakers and the type of sideshow entertainment you can only get at Coney Island. Technically, the projection and sound was top notch. Thanks for making our first festival a memorable one. Mike Doto - Peace
Thanks again for showing our little Burning Man Film. Coney Island is a
perfect setting for such unique subject matter, as the two are both so
unusually daring and outrageous. Your film festival was the best we've ever
been to, hands down. There is a feeling of community among the filmmakers,
the party was entertaining, exciting and comfortable at the same time. Kudos
for the professional and flawless presentation of all the films. You guys
really know how to put on a film festival!
Thanks, Bill & Ashly -
Coney Island Film Festival is a wonderful place to screen your film for
intelligent audiences with eclectic tastes. Go there and experience Coney
Island at its most carnivalesque.
Ari Krepostman - Producer Coney Island 1945 and Ed's Trip
The Coney Island Film Festival is an incredible experience, a true gem
of an event that carries all the irreverence and character of the
boardwalk into its screenings. Rob and Laurie make you feel right at
home in the middle of a sidesplitting sideshow and burlesque, and
provide an uplifting and unique atmosphere to screen films. Until next
year, cheers and thank you for an amazing festival!
Daniel Wasserman -
The Coney Island Film Festival was the most fun that I have had at any
Film Fest. Rob and his staff put together an awesome venue for this
historic place. I felt at ease being a part of CIFF which was not my
experience in other festivals. It's great to just be able to have your
film viewed and also enjoy other filmmakers work without feeling the pressures and politics that most festivals tend to burden you with. Whether
I have another production worthy enough to make the CIFF next year or not,
I will still be there to support.Thanks Rob and the CIFF Staff.
Luis A. Lopez
- Extreme Skipping
I truly enjoyed the quirky, offbeat quality of the Coney Island Film
Festival as a venue to screen my film as part of a cohesive and
entertaining program which was well-attended and received. Overall, a
positive experience and the opening night extravaganza is a must.. I
didn't know such things were humanly possible!!
Nina Chernik -Clean
I was very happy to enter the Coney Island Film Festival. And at the end of the 3 days of the festival I left happy. It is a festival with big people, great people, good people. They treat you well and it feels like a big family, they make feel that you belong there. I was lucky to show my short film "The Last Laugh" along with great short pieces and I saw many other more of great, great quality. Again I want to thank all people for making one of my best experiences in a festival so far. And woooow the show they put on the opening night... WOW, it is so entertaining and shocking. Great!!!
Ricardo Urroz - The Last Laugh
Being chosen for the Coney Island film festival was a great honor for me. Knowing how many entries they receive each year, being one of the films chosen was exciting. The atmosphere of Coney Island lends itself to the film festival and our films shine even more! Their projection system was superior as well as the sound system and Rob puts on a great show. Thanks Rob and staff, we'll be back next year!
Lance J. Reha - Director -Fear of Dying
The Coney Island Film Festival will always be one of the high points of my journey as a screenwriter and a great inspiration as well. Rob Leddy and the gang are a class act and run a fantastic show. I am truly honored to know them and to have been a part of it all."
BEN FIORE (Screenwriter, "Fear of Dying" 2005)
The Coney Island Film Festival is really a unique event -- the setting,
the folks, the films. The projection was extremely
professional -- not
always the case at film festivals!
Suzanne Wasserman - Brooklyn Among The Ruins
The Coney Island Film Festival is a wonderful experience. It rocks. It was
quite an honor to see my short film in a program full of excellent works from
talented filmmakers. Professionally run, enthusiastic atmosphere - you guys
made me want to go out and shoot some more. Thanks for a fantastic festival,
and I'm looking forward to next year!
Omar Solis - Circus Bloody Valentine
There was no better place to screen my film other than the Coney Island Film Festival. To watch the film sitting next to Mae Timpano, surrounded by Coney Island aficionados and film lovers of all sorts was the ultimate experience. The Film was home at last!
Thanks for making it possible.
Lila Place - Under The Rollercoaster
Can't be described in a few words. Coney Island Film Festival is a total
new experience full of different colors of arts, dreams and future of
promising filmmakers. Cozy and friendly environment united all the people
with laughs and applause. It is definately a big plus to have ocean breeze
and hot dogs nearby. I would say it was not just a film festival but a real
festival of films with good people.
Su Hyun Kim - Nowhere, Somewhere ... Perfection
Really, what other festival has an opening party featuring a girl
mixing a martini with only her breasts? The Coney Island Film Fest
is truly one of the rare, hidden gems of the festival circuit. Thanks,
Rob and Laurie, for finding the perfect combination of bizarre and
beautiful, between the wacky side show performances (i still can't
figure out where she keeps the olives) to some of the best indie
films Hollywood is too scared to screen.
Michael Medaglia - Kids Of Widney High "Pretty Girls"
Like the Cyclone roller coaster, the Coney Island Film Festival is a
fun, wild, cool ride.
Barry Strugatz - From Other Worlds
Where else can you enjoy quality films, take a whirl on the Wonder Wheel, stroll the famed boardwalk and gulp down a few--OK, more than a few, but who's counting--Nathan's Famous hot dogs? It was only my second time to Coney Island. My friends and I had a great time. Thank you for selecting my film. Plan to make the opening party next year."---Kelvin C. Bias, Photographic Memory
I spent a lot of time filming my way around Coney Island so I was thrilled
when my first film entitled "Happy Ride, Coney Island" was selected to be
shown at the festival.
The festival was a great experience for me. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting
other filmmakers, as well as various artists associated in one way or
another with Coney Island. The opening night party was outstanding! The
performers (who gave their all) were from the Coney Island Circus Sideshow
and Burlesque at the Beach.Rob and Laurie, thanks so much, I had a blast!
Gary Beeber - Happy Ride, Coney Island
Rob and Laurie - Thank you! Coney Island Film Fest was by far the best
invitation I had the honor to extend to my friends and family from opening
night fire eating festivities, to our screening, to the other extraordinary
films that were part of 2005, and of course to partake in eating way too
much at famous Nathans. Being honored with "Best of Festival" was simply the
cherry on top. I hope to see you all next year and for many years to come.
Hats off to your fabulous event! - Cecily Tyler, Producer, Hot Lunch
This was my second time included in the festival and it is great to see it
growing. It is inspiring to be around people so committed to independent
film. Another great reason to visit Coney Island. Thanks for all the hard
Phil Allocco - The Mirror
I have been a fortumate participant in four of the five Coney Island Film
festivals. I look forward every year to see if my video has been accepted,
for it means a day on the boardwalk, viewing indie films in an extemely
unique venue, and meeting some very interesting, friendly, and creative
people. The atmosphere and history of Coney Island is like nowhere else,
and the folks at Coney Island USA and the film festival are keeping these
memories alive. Not in a scrap book or on a shelf on the wall, but with year
round activities culminating for me in the weekend long film festival. The
expansion to two screening rooms and the great tech support have made it
even better. Thanks Coney Island for including me in
all the fun.
Bob Mataranglo - Somethin's Fishy in Coney Island
This is a very unique, edgy, at times quirky, and fun experience. Rob and Laurie have created a film festival that not only pays tribute to Coney Island, but also leads itself in the future of Coney's rich history. I met a lot of cool filmmakers and everyone was very nice. I am very glad that I was there. Dongchan Lee - Little Monkey Love
The Coney Island Film Fest offers the best location of
any NYC area film festival,and an opening night gala that can't be beat. What
can compare with a film festival by the ocean, freakshows, and partying in
the peoples playground?
Thanks for all your efforts putting this
event together so sucessfully again this year.
Robert Lyons - Cyclone Wedding
The Coney Island Film Festival continues to evolve as thriving, top-shelf film festival, yet stays true to its exuberant, carnivalrous roots. Rob and Laurie should be commended for producing another treat for participants and audience members alike.
Josh Smith - Pandi
I really feel like a filmmaker after participating in the Coney Island Film Festival. It's filled with eclectic films, friendly people and an authentic circus sideshow. This festival was an action packed, freak infested, jolly ol' good time!
Alan Weintraub - Remnants
Coney Island Film Festival was the most unique and artistic film
festival at which my film has screened to date!
Aloura Charles - La Magique Noire
Comments from filmmakers who participated in the 2004 festival:
"Every bit as unique, edgy, festive and fun as the historic park it so lovingly represents. It was an experience I was honored to have, and will never forget. Rob
and Laurie have created a film festival that not only pays tribute to Coney Island,
but secures itself in Coney’s rich history." - Josh Smith, A Feast of Souls
"Many thanks to you, Laurie and your staff for a very enjoyable and wonderful experience at the Coney Island Film Festival. It's always inspiring to be part of a
festival which supports the independent film community. And I'm quite honored to
have received the 1st Best "Made In Coney Island" Tillie Award. Much respect and see
you next year!" - Phil Roc, Avenue X
"The Coney Island Film Festival is hands down the most fun festival I've been to in
America. From the girl stripping in a bubble at the opening night party, Nathan's
Famous hotdogs on the boardwalk, to the fantastic projection, organization and
enthusiastic audiences, this relaxed atmosphere was the perfect venue for showing my
craziest project yet. And the festival's close proximity to the best rollercoaster
in the world doesn't hurt either. Thanks for the great experience!" - Doug Karr, The
"Rob and Laurie Leddy's Coney Island Film Festival brought to me a lone touch of
dignity and heart so dearly lacking in the evil world of show biz. Their festival is
the last bastion of everything beautifully uncouth and perverse, and it was an honor
for me to screen my "Action Woman" there. I met wonderfully talented filmmakers,
enjoyed award-winning films, and got to party with legendary Coney Island sideshow
performers all in one weekend. Thank's Rob and Laurie - The Blair Witch guys were
right - I'll be back!" - Carol Chiodini, Action Woman
“The Coney Island Film Festival is a very special place—where else would you see a
tattooed man lying on a bed of nails at the opening night party! Not only is it a
completely different kind of festival, we were truly impressed by the films we saw
there and so happy to be in such amazing company.” - Lisa Perry & Jessie Hutchenson,
On The Cliffs
"What a blast! The gritty, fun, fantastical film festival of Coney Island is one of
a kind! On behalf of Coney Island the film & everyone at Headball Films, an enormous
thank you. Can't wait until next year!"
- Chance Pinnell, Coney Island
The Coney Island Film Festival was the most fun I've ever had at a film festival.
Seriously, it was super fun. The films that were in the same program as mine were
excellent and I am proud that my film played with them. Count me in next year
whether I have a film in
it or not!! - Ashira Siegel, Even The Girls!
from filmmakers who participated in the 2003 festival:
is what a festival should be! Kick ass shorts in an old sideshow. And
that was easily the best festival party I have ever been to. Right on.
Rich Ragsdale Into Something Rich & Strange
We had a great time at the party--that band is excellent. And at our screening:
You guys really had your technical shit together. That was SOOO appreciated.
The colors looked great in the projection, excellent sound, and a very
enthusiastic packed house! Thanks for an awesome venue!
Paul Gutrecht The Vest
was a true blast! What a fun world you transported us all into with your
hospitality and surreal aesthetics. Kudos, my friend. The audiences were
appreciative, and the opening night party shall be forever etched into
my memory. Thank you, from Daed and myself, and everyone on the R&H
Staff. Someday we might let them out to, themselves, attend. Hope to see
Jerry Rapp Let's Meet Those People & Is It Time To Swap?
Having worked a few festivals and seen plenty of substandard projection,
I was apprehensive about my film's debut at Coney Island. I had nothing
to fear. The picture was sharp, bright and the sound was awesome! A first
rate job all around. Great fest, we had a great time.
Steven Warrington Murder Act One
loved everything about the Coney Island Short Film Festival! From the
location and history (my first time in Coney Island and I took lots of
photos), to the setting: I loved the fact that it is a sideshow and had
bleacher seating. Gave it a really relaxed, friendly atmosphere. The sound
and screen were great and the artwork added a nice touch. Had a very nice
time there. Congrats and best of luck with the future festivals.
Fulvio Cecere The Regular Guy
The Coney Island Festival is full of character and charm. The audience
is sitting close together--so you get a contagious audience response to
the films. One person laughs and it spreads. People are quiet at a serious
moment...and the whole place fills with solemnity. You can really feel
the emotional pulse of the audience. Thanks so much for everything. It
was a great event.
Gina Levy Foo Foo Dust
The Coney Island Short Film Festival is one of the most professionally
run film festivals we have taken part in. Great atmosphere, good visuals
and sound, free popcorn and reasonably priced beer. We will definitely
be back for next years shows.
Robert Kleinschmidt & Tracy Waaka Feast of Fools
for the opportunity to again be part of the Coney Island Short Film Festival.
Each year the crowd gets bigger and the films get better. And this year
the technical improvements really enhanced the viewing experience. You
have a great venue for your festival, steeped in history and wonderfully
quirky all by itself. In between film segments its great to experience
the boardwalk and the beach, not to mention the extraordinary ethic diversity
found there. I almost forgot the FREE POPCORN! Hope to see you next year.
Bob Mataranglo Sister Windy: Revisionist Art History
It was exciting to play our film at such a historic venue. We felt right
at home amongst all the freaks. I was really impressed with the projection
system. I hope to see you next year!
Garret Savage For Food
Thanks for having my piece in your festival I was in very good company
and am still a little ramped after hearing the audience reaction. I had
a great time and felt that you, your wife and everyone on the staff were
gracious and supportive and that the presentation of the works was top
Frank Harding Kraqhaus Jeans-Plumber's Pants
I was proud to have my short animation "Food Chain". I really
had a great time at the Coney Island Short Film Festival!
Hyunjoung Kim Food Chain
On behalf of myself and Lake Films, I'd like to thank Rob Leddy and the
gang at the Coney Island Short Film Festival for a wonderful and enjoyable
time. Rob & Company are a class act and they put together a great
show with an awesome picture and sound system. A terrific time was had
by all and our film "SLEDGE" looked awesome on the big screen!
I urge everyone in the indie film world to support the Coney Island Short
Film Festival and their fabulous work. With respect and appreciation,
Ben Fiore Sledge
Just wanted to drop by and tell you thank you! Thank you for putting on
an awesome show for us independent filmmakers.
Lance J. Reha Sledge
Thank you so much for the enthusiastic and warm welcome you have given
to all the attending filmmakers and for your truly idealistic and well
organised festival. It was a great experience and you are doing great
work with the festival.
Hannes Rall The Erl-King
Just wanted to thank you for a great festival, it was a lot of fun and
a great venue. I have to say, you guys had a great set-up, very professional
:) Hope to see you next year...
Sin Silva Anomalous Humanite
for a wonderful film festival. WE truly appreciated being part of it,
the quality of those films that we saw were really quite good and in the
spirit of low budget independent film. And we know that all of the filmmakers
appreciate having an audience. We have been to larger and more expensive
festivals that have several venues and the risk in that is less of an
audience, or having to make a choice of one film over another, which we
don't particularly care for. Coney Island was small enough, yet adequate
enough for everyone to view all of the films without having to make a
choice. From a technical standpoint, you are running an excellent festival.
Anyway, thanks for a wonderful time, we wish you and all of the filmmakers
great success, and hope to see you next year.
Grace & Jillian E. Peters Deja Vu
Thank you as well for a wonderful party and a great venue to screen the
films. We loved the shorts in our section, especially the animated ones.
Cameron Yates & Charlie Olsky American Audtion
Thanks for giving me the chance to be part of such an eclectic festival.
I had a great time!
Rachel Crouthamel Faking It
guys I had a blast at your festival, very well done !!! Keep up the spirit!
Bill Breithaupt Aqua Burn
Thank you for the opportunity to participate in the Coney Island Short
Film Festival. Kudos to you and your staff for putting together such an
excellent program of quality short films. A memorable experience that
only Coney Island could have provided. Just want to note the fantastic
job by your technical department, the projection was clear and sharp,
the sound was clean and bright. The projection and sound quality is always
BIG a worry for me. Thank you for putting my mind at ease early. See you
Tim Gregoire Bread & Circus
Thank you so much for making my first film festival such an amazing experience!
I met so many great people at the party and had a great time. Balloons,
magic and burlesque!!??--No other festival can compare to Coney. I was
really impressed with the films I saw, love the venue and can't wait for
Lilly Scourtis Devil Woman from Outer Space
Thanks so much for running a terrific festival. We had a great time at
the opening night party-- magic tricks? burlesque? beer?- who could ask
for anything more? At the screenings, the projection quality was top notch,
and the audience seemed to have a great time. Festivals like Coney Island
make you feel damn proud to be an independent filmmaker. Can't wait for
Stefanie Koseff Poor Man's Mermaid
Comments from filmmakers who participated in the 2002 festival:
"The Coney Island Short Film Festival celebrates the hidden New York
that drew people to this city in the first place. It's destined to become
a big festival,
without losing the charm that accompanies eating a bag of popcorn and
watching great shorts in the dark."
Bernardo Ruiz - Night Magic
"The quality of the films was fantastic - miles beyond what most
young festivals are offering - even beyond most long running ones. I was
proud to be a part of it."
Alex R. Johnson - Thanksgiving
"Rob... just a note to say thanks... So, thanks for running a truly
professional festival. Me and my entourage thought the whole package was
great. Mind-bending movies. A belly full of Nathan's hotdogs. And a Cyclone
ride that knocked a couple of my fillings out. Perfect."
Michael Nigro - Creative Process 473
"I had a wonderful time at the festival. The organizers, as well
as the fellow filmmakers, created an atmosphere that was supportive, appreciative,
and fun. What a great showcase for creative and unique shorts that might
otherwise go unnoticed - and all for a good cause."
Scott Patch - The Boogeyman’s Birthday
"Great job, Rob! What a wonderful festival. We were proud to be a
part of it! You really did a great job. All of the people I've spoken
with who attended the Festival were very impressed at how well it was
organized and presented. Once again, it was a true pleasure working with
you. You are such a unique and wonderful combination of professionalism
Victoria McGinnis - The Skell
"The Coney Island Short Film Festival embodies the true spirit of
independent film with a classic New York setting, visceral and gritty
films, and cold beer served in the lobby. What better a place for a bunch
of freaks like us to have our movie screened than in an actual freakshow?"
Luke S. Goljan - Suspension of Disbelief
"Rob, on behalf of the cast & crew of 'That Brief Moment' and
all our family and friends who attended this year's festival, thank you
for including us in the second annual Coney Island Short Film Festival.
Your staff was professional and courteous yet still managed to bring a
level of fun and freshness to a process that is often stodgy and frankly
full of itself. The Sideshow Theater was just the right size,
helping to pull the audience together so they could share the experience...
After all, that's what cinema is all about... I hope we get the opportunity
to share in your festival in the future as it expands and grows into one
of the best."
Geoffrey Felder - That Brief Moment
"I've seen my film a million times by the time it screens at a festival
so what i'm more interested in is the other films it's playing with. Rob
and his staff at the Coney Island Short Film Festival screened some great,
interesting and entertaining
films I probably would'nt have seen including "Locked" and "Thanksgiving."
It makes me look forward to next year..."
Steve Herold - Asburied
"Quite a different Festival! ....... There is only one place in the
world you can see the most eclectic group of Films, eat the best Hot Dog
in the world, smell the Ocean and see a sword swallower all in one afternoon!"
Chris Cassidy - Vic Thrill: Nobody's Watching the Radar
"Thanks for making me part of the CISFF 2002. I attended two screening
sessions and enjoyed ALL the films presented. I was very proud to have
my short "Rasbury" included with such high quality work. Your
programing choices were terrific. Looking forward to next year."
Bob Mataranglo - Rasbury
"Rob, I just wanted to thank you for the opportunity to participate
in the festival and show "Three Chord Slam". It was a great
event and we all had a wonderful time! Good luck with everything!"
Simona Prives - Three Chord Slam
"I had a great time. I thought it was a very good selection of films
that brought out the bizarre spirit of Coney Island."
Rosario Garcia-Montero - Locked
"Thanks for everything. I had a great time. Why would anyone want
to go to the Oscars when they can go to The Coney Island Short Film Fest?"
Chris Peters - The World Famous Pontani Sisters
"Coney Island is a great venue to show your work and see what else
is out there. I loved the free popcorn and cheap beer. Thank you to all
at the Coney Island Short Film Festival!"
Alan Steiner - Scary Face
Comments from filmmakers who participated in the 2001 festival:
"It was an honor to be included in this historic event." - Nick
"The beach, the boardwalk, great stars, great movies, great filmmakers...the
Coney Island Short Film Festival has everything that Cannes has, plus
Nathan's hotdogs!" - Barry Strugatz
"A great collection of films. I was proud to be a part of it."
- Maddy Lederman
"The Coney Island Short Film Festival is a great place to see fun,
offbeat films in one of the coolest venues around. And they treat filmmakers
well! I will definitely be back next year." - Lucy Weismann
"Rob Leddy and the staff were awesome, they really seemed to care
about the filmmakers and the films they were showing. I saw a lot of great
stuff and I'll definetely be back next year." - Myles Reiff
"I don't know why a film festival was never held in Coney Island
prior to The Coney Island Short Film Festival. It's a fantastic fest held
in a spectactular setting. I can't think of a better place to have your
short film screened then on the same stage where the Coney Island Freak
Show is held. It's the only place in New York where time stands still."
- Joe LaPenna
"Our film, The Lonely, had a great premiere last year.The CISFF team
had their shit together from the start. It makes you wanna freaky deaky."
- Mark Doyle, Film Festival Today
"Thanks for putting together the Coney Island Short Film Festival.
It was a real treat to screen there." - Daniel Maldonado
On September 22, 2001,
we defeated terrorism on Coney Island and we had a great time. - Adrian
enjoyed the festival and running around Coney Island afterwards."
- Doug Darnell