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, an opening night party 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 the Coney Island Circus Sideshow!

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. Our festival screens films from all genres. We are as diverse as the neighborhood that we represent.

We have no film premiere requirements or date of completion requirements and all entries are watched in their entirety, by our screening committee. Whether you submit early or late, has no bearing on the selection process. All films are given equal chance for selection, regardless of when they are submitted! We do not invite films to play with us, we rely solely, on our call for entries!

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. Nineteen 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!

Now in our 23rd 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 2023 plan is to present the event in person at Coney Island, 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 (upon request) and admission to the opening night party.

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",

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 March 10, 2023. All entrants will be notified by FilmFreeway's email system. 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 2023 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 2023 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
  • Bradly Dever Treadaway

    It was a real pleasure to share work in such a unique atmosphere, filled with history and space for all. The festival is run with care all around - for the craft, the filmmakers and the space in which it all takes place. Thanks for the opportunity. Highly recommended.

    September 2022
  • Cyrille Phipps

    One of the best film festivals I’ve participated in! Nothing like a home town screening! My cast and crew as well as supporters had a great time! Can’t wait til next year’s festival!

    September 2022
  • Tom Festo

    Had a great time at the Coney Island Film Festival. Rob and the team are all so friendly and accommodating, the screenings were top notch, and the location is second-to-none (such a fun venue in a fun neighborhood!). There really isn't a dull moment for the whole three days between the screenings and other events they put on.

    September 2022
  • What a fantastic festival! Communication was great, from beginning to end. Rob is a fantastic director and the entire team truly killed it, top to bottom. The caliber of films was phenomenal and the festival has a loyal following of folks who are so incredibly supportive and enthusiastic. The Coney Island Museum was such a cool place to host it and there's honestly no better backdrop than the boardwalk, the beach and Luna Park in September. Opening night featured a phenomenal side show that the troupe was kind enough to put on. I will 100% be back as a patron.

    September 2022
  • Omar Villegas

    I have been fortunate to be a participant of the Coney Island Film Festival since 2016 as a Producer, Actor and Director. Win or lose it has always been a great experience. Rob Leddy and his team put so much work into curating and putting this festival together all the while treating the artists and their work with so much respect and appreciation. From the start of the opening night party to the closing ceremony at The El Dorado bumper cars this festival reflects the atmosphere of Coney Island itself a melding of interesting people, creativity and excitement. I will forever be grateful for being a part of its experience and inspired to be a part of the next one. Thank you Rob and the Coney Island Film Festival.

    September 2022