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 17th 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

Awards & Prizes

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.

Rules & Terms

Entries must be submitted via FilmFreeway's online screener option or on DVD (any region or format), or Blu-Ray (Region 1) Foreign language work must be dubbed or subtitled in English. Entry fees are non-refundable. Please do not send press kits or any other print materials until they are requested by the festival staff. We have no film premiere requirements or date of completion requirements.

Cost of shipping is the responsibility of the entrant. Discs must be sent to the festival prepaid. C.O.D.'S will be refused. Discs must be labeled with the title of the entry, run time and the name of the director. The festival cannot accept responsibility for damage or loss of materials while in transit.

Coney Island Film Festival
c/o Coney Island USA
1208 Surf Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11224

Please note: Do not use registered or certified mail. Use First class, Priority, Airmail or Media Mail. Fedex, UPS and DHL also accepted.

All entries will be viewed by the selection committee. All entry fees are non-refundable. Selected films will be announced on or around August 7th. 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.

Submission DVD's or Blu-Ray's will not be returned
Please DO NOT SEND self-addressed stamped envelopes for submission disc returns, we will not use them.

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 2017 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 2017 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.

20 Reviews

Overall Rating
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    Adam Bertocci

    My favorite film festival for many years running. This is a fest where you make friends, see great shows and end up coming back next fall. There is a reason that I mark my calendar for CIFF every year as soon as the dates are announced, whether I have a film to submit or not; there's a reason that I always attend. It's not just a place where sometimes I get a screening, it's a part of my life for one magical weekend a year. You'll understand once you've made some Coney Island memories of your own.

    December 2016
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    Christopher Lopez

    This was a great festival, really interesting venues, the picture and sound quality for the screenings was fantastic. Really cool atmosphere overall.

    November 2016
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    Justin Pigeon

    The opening party is truly legendary. This is a one of a kind festival and a great way to experience Coney Island. The director, Rob Leddy, is passionate about independent film and is super detailed. We had a great experience screening there and hope to be back next year.

    October 2016
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    Rafael De Leon Jr.

    A great, fun festival! I've been fortunate enough to have six films screen here and I've had a great time every single year I've attended. The festival director is very thorough with communicating necessary information for filmmakers and that's a very important quality for a film festival to have. Highly recommended!

    September 2016
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    Grace Rex

    I had a wonderful experience at Coney Island! The films were great. The opening night party was ridiculously fun. It was a warm and welcoming affair that felt driven by Coney Island’s unique spirit and penchant for the weird, wacky, and unique. The organizers were on the ball. Also where else can you watch a bunch of movies and then eat your weight in hot dogs before hopping on the Wonder Wheel?!

    September 2016