Coronado Island Film Festival runs through Sunday
The Coronado Island Film Festival (CIFF) kicked off Wednesday and will run through Sunday at multiple venues.
Overlapping film festivals is a challenge for anyone who loves seeking out diverse options. Currently CIFF and the San Diego Asian Film Festival (SDAFF) are dividing audiences' attention. But one benefit is that CIFF was able to dovetail off SDAFF and pick up one film, and some cast and crew members for its festival.
One of the closing night events for CIFF is an encore screening of "The Secret Art of Human Flight," which had its Southern California premiere on Saturday at SDAFF. Director H.P. Mendoza, actor-producer Grant Rosenmeyer, and actor and CIFF honoree Paul Raci will all be in attendance at the Coronado-based festival on Sunday.
In "The Secret Art of Human Flight," Rosenmeyer plays Ben, a man coping with grief over the loss of his wife. Paci offers a captivating performance as the mysterious Mealworm, who could be a con-man or maybe a mystic who can teach Ben to fly.
Mendoza recalled casting the role: "We need a Paul Raci-type because 'Sound of Metal' had just come out, and he'd just been nominated (for an Oscar). I said, 'We need a Paul Raci-type, someone who has that edge but could be a guru, but could also be someone with the gravitas who could pull this off and have the humor.'"
And that is one of the surprises and delights of "The Secret Art of Human Flight" — it is a film about grief and loss but one filled with whimsy.
"I don't think it's a laugh-out-loud comedy," Mendoza explained. "I think it's funny. But in this film, I feel like the whimsy that makes people chuckle or laugh isn't necessarily comedic. Right? I think a lot of this is a kind of unexpected lightness that you wouldn't expect to feel amongst all that death."
It is a film that won't fit neatly into any genre box and that is its charm.
"The easy thing that we have been saying is, it's a comedy-drama-fantasy," Mendoza said. "And after a while, when people would say, 'Is this a horror film? Is this a comedy? What is this?' The answer was just, 'Yes. Whatever you think it is in the moment, it's that.'"
Raci's wife also dubbed it a "grief release" film.
"She came up with this idea or this phrase that this movie is grief release," Mendoza said. "We've all been packing it in, and it's been pent up, and we're just looking for excuses to let go."
If you cannot get into the small screening venue for the film at CIFF then seek it out elsewhere.
CIFF will also be hosting the San Diego premieres of the documentaries "Black Barbie," "Maxine's Baby: The Tyler Perry Story," and "Common Ground," narrated by Laura Dern.
In its eighth year, CIFF continues to highlight shorts, features, studio films, and indie titles along with panels, parties, and the Leonard Maltin Industry Tribute Awards Gala, held at Loews Coronado Bay Resort this year.