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. Twelve 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 18th year, The Coney Island Film Festival has gained a solid reputation from filmmakers and film fans. Check out our website to read quotes from filmmakers and to check out our photo galleries (all photos courtesy of Norman Blake).

"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: Feature, Short, Documentary Feature, Documentary Short, Experimental, Animation, Horror, Music Video 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 3rd. All entrants will be notified by email. The festival does not pay rental/screening fees for submitted/selected work. For selected films, exhibition format is Blu-Ray (NTSC) or DVD (NTSC).

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

The festival does not pay for airfare, transportation, lodging, meals, parking, etc. These are the responsibility of selected filmmakers wishing to attend. Each selected film, gets two all access passes, amusement park ride tickets and admission to parties.

For more information e-mail us at info@coneyislandfilmfestival.com. We will respond within 24hrs.

Terms and Conditions:
I have carefully read and understand the complete rules of the festival. By entering your film for consideration for the 2018 Coney Island Film Festival, you authorize that your work is cleared for festival exhibition and accept full legal responsibility for the intellectual property therein. Entry into the festival constitutes permission to exhibit your work at the 2018 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
  • Jesús Muñiz

    I freaking loved this festival, I want to come back every year. It's so much fun!

    February 2018
  • Misha Calvert

    Awesome festival, I loved my experience with them! Tons of heart, tons of fun, great staff and the organizer is lovely. I stayed and went on the rides and had a total blast attending! Really cool work as well, they have great taste at Coney Island!

    November 2017
  • Jeremiah Kipp

    One of the coolest (and most fun) festivals we have ever screened at. Coney Island Film Festival has been the great alternative fest for years, and has sustained its fun vibe and great programming.

    October 2017
  • Nikhil Melnechuk

    You roll up to CIFF and immediately realize that you're in film-dream-land. The whole environment is cinematic, and the festival knows how to immerse you in it. From the dancing ladies at the opening night, to the awards ceremony in bumper cars—and the marvelous films in between. This is a non-nonsense, film-lover's festival. Submit!

    September 2017
  • The CIFF is about as cool as it gets. There is no industry B.S., just a group of enthusiastic film lovers with open minds. That they have been supporting experimental / non-narative work for 17+ years is amazing. And the Coney Island vibe is something to behold. In a city where gentrification has pushed out artists for hedge fund kids it's a real treat to get exposed to the side show subculture -- still alive and swallowing stuff. Bravo!

    September 2017