"The 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."
Charles Denson, Author Coney Island: Lost and Found
The beach, the boardwalk, great stars, great movies, great filmmakers...the Coney Island Film Festival has everything that Cannes has, plus Nathan's hotdogs!"
Barry Strugatz, Director The Transformation
"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
Photo credit: Left Norman Blake, Right Katrina del Mar. All rights reserved.
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 future.
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. I¹ve 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, it¹s 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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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 Išve 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 Išve 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!
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 - Iron Pocket
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.
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
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."
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!
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!
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
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"
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!
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
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
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
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!
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
"The Coney Island Film Festival is hands down the most fun festival I've been to in
"Rob and Laurie Leddy's Coney Island Film Festival brought to me a lone touch of
“The Coney Island Film Festival is a very special place—where else would you see a
"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!"
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!
Comments 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.
On September 22, 2001, we defeated terrorism on Coney Island and we had a great time. - Adrian Salsgiver
"Really enjoyed the festival and running around Coney Island afterwards." - Doug Darnell