Our festival by the sea has gained a reputation for fostering a relaxed atmosphere where filmmakers and industry veterans alike gather to enjoy a jam-packed weekend of great films, parties and amusement park rides. MovieMaker Magazine named us one of the and "25 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee" and "25 Coolest Film Festivals"!

Coney Island's independent spirit and irreverent attitude have helped the fest quickly thrive as something distinct from other NYC events. The opening night celebrations pay tribute to Coney Island's renown carnival history with live performances by sideshow freaks, sword swallowers, fire eaters and stars of the New York City burlesque scene!

Early in 2001, the non-profit arts organization Coney Island USA aligned with indiefilmpage.com founder Rob Leddy to create an annual film festival, to raise funds for the not for profit arts organization, Coney Island USA. That fall, the Coney Island Film Festival became a reality.

The festival is entirely run by film, television and audio/visual professionals, ensuring a high quality standard to the event.

Coney Island's characteristic blend of grit and whimsy has inspired filmmakers for generations. From Thomas Edison's first magical motion pictures of the Steeplechase ride to 2010 Festival Honoree Darren Aronofsky's harrowing masterpiece Requiem for a Dream, Coney has a long and intimate history with American cinema. CIFF represents the latest chapter in that history. The Coney Island Film Festival screens a truly eclectic range of films and, much to the delight of our audience, features a number of "Made in Coney Island" productions each year. Our festival screens films from all genres. We are as diverse as the neighborhood that we represent.

The festival's ties to carny culture are undeniable. The main screening venue is the legendary Sideshows by the Seashore theater, home to America's last authentic 10-in-1 sideshow. Eighteen years ago, the festival expanded to include a second venue, the equally funky and historic Coney Island Museum. Our closing night ceremony takes place at the historic Eldorado Bumper Cars, where once the final award is presented, all in attendance, get to ride the bumper cars for free!

Now in our 22nd year, The Coney Island Film Festival has gained a solid reputation from filmmakers and film fans. Check out our FilmFreeway reviews to read quotes from filmmakers and to see our photo galleries (all photos courtesy of Norman Blake).

The 2022 plan is to present the event in person at Coney Island in September, however if there are Covid 19 concerns, the festival will move to a Virtual Platform.

"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)

"A showcase worthy of the neighborhood's amusement-rich history." - Christopher Zara, MovieMaker magazine

Each selected film, gets two all access passes, amusement park ride tickets and admission to parties.

The festival jury will present awards to films and videos selected as best in these categories: Drama Short, Comedy Short, Feature, Documentary Feature, Documentary Short, Horror, Sci-Fi, Music Video, Experimental, Animation and "Made in Coney Island", The award is a hand painted plaque, from world renowned Coney Island Sideshow Banner Painter, Marie Roberts.

Entries must be submitted via FilmFreeway's online screener option. Foreign language work must be dubbed or subtitled in English. Entry fees are non-refundable. We have no film premiere requirements or date of completion requirements.

All entries will be viewed by the selection committee. All entry fees are non-refundable. Selected films will be announced on or around August 11, 2022. All entrants will be notified by email. The festival does not pay rental/screening fees for submitted/selected work. For selected films, exhibition file format is .mp4, h.264, 1920x1080, stereo.

A festival jury will present awards to films and videos selected as best in category.

For more information email us at info@coneyislandfilmfestival.com. We will respond within 24 hours.

Terms and Conditions:
I have carefully read and understand the complete rules of the festival. By entering your film for consideration for the 2022 Coney Island Film Festival, you authorize that your work is cleared for festival screening and accept full legal responsibility for the intellectual property therein. Entry into the festival constitutes permission to screen your work at the 2022 Coney Island Film Festival. The undersigned shall indemnify and hold harmless the Coney Island Film Festival, indiefilmpage.com, Coney Island USA and any other agents, owners and employees of said entities from and against any and all claims, liabilities, losses, damages, and expenses (including but not limited to attorney's fees, and costs of the court) which may be incurred by reason of any claim involving copyright, trademark, credits, publicity, screening, and loss of or damage to the screening videos entered.

Overall Rating
  • Eric Jungmann

    Such an awesome festival and so thrilled to have been a part of it with my sci-fi thriller, "BODY OF THE MINED". Big thanks to the Coney Island Film Festival for curating such a great program and for keeping everyone connected throughout all the COVID restrictions.

    November 2021
  • Allan Piper

    This is absolutely one of my favorite festivals. There is no other festival in the world where you can watch great movies and then step outside and ride some of America's most historic amusement park rides. Festival director Rob Leddy curates a selection of films that are innovative, quirky, funny, scary, and that celebrate this historic neighborhood. Coney Island is magic, and so is this festival.

    November 2021
  • Artie Brennan Anthony Giordano

    The Coney Island Film Festival is hands down one of the best festivals on the circuit! Rob and Eric did such an amazing job of putting together a live/streamed hybrid and the films selected showed how much they love movies. The funny, the bizarre, and the thought provoking films they programmed were all great. The communication from Rob was outstanding and he stayed in constant contact with the filmmakers throughout the process. It was great meeting in person and chatting film. Lastly, Coney Island FF is a destination every filmmaker should screen at for the vibe and electricity of the whole experience (free rides and hotdogs!) The whole cast and crew of “Daytrip Massacre” can’t wait to go back with another film. 10/10

    October 2021
  • Nick Ronan

    A wonderful festival that celebrates a cross genre of films that dare to be bold, take risks, and push boundaries! Great communication! Love the carnival atmosphere the festival nourishes in the heart of Coney Island. Rob and team do an outstanding job!

    October 2021
  • Jay Sullivan

    Thanks to Rob and the entire crew for putting on such a great event. Great communication from Rob. Coney Island Film Festival attracts a supportive and uplifting crowd. Great place to experience watching your film with a live audience.

    October 2021