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Coronado Island Film Festival celebrates its 7th year

Jeremy Pope stars as a young gay African American who decides to enlist in the Marines in Elegance Bratton's "The Inspection."
An undated still from Elegance Bratton's "The Inspection." Jeremy Pope stars as a young, gay Black man who decides to enlist in the Marines.

The Coronado Island Film Festival (CIFF) kicked off its seventh year last night with "Empire of Light" at the Village Theatre. This weekend, film critic Leonard Maltin returns to host the festival's Industry Awards at the Hotel del Coronado’s Crown Room.

Maltin is famous for his "Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide," which was published annually from 1969 to 2014. He has been involved with CIFF since its inception but feels a bit embarrassed that it has named its industry gala and one of its awards after him.

"I have a healthy ego but I'm not looking to brand my name on everything I participate in," Maltin said with a laugh. "But it was meant as a compliment, I take it as such."

Susan Sarandon and Kevin Costner star in Ron Shelton's "Bull Durham" (1988).
Orion Pictures
Susan Sarandon and Kevin Costner star in Ron Shelton's "Bull Durham" (1988).

This year's Leonard Maltin Award goes to filmmaker Ron Shelton whose "Bull Durham" will be screened Friday.

"He just wrote a book about the making of 'Bull Durham' called 'The Church of Baseball,'" Maltin said. "I have a special fondness for writer-directors. The fact that they're directing their own script, their own story, means that they have an even greater commitment telling that story and to tell that story as well as they possibly can. And he's done that over and over again with 'White Men Can't Jump,' 'Tin Cup' (and) 'Blaze.'"

Maltin will also be presenting Jacqueline Bisset with the Cultural Icon Award and moderating discussions after the screenings of her new film "Loren and Rose" as well as the 1974 valentine to movies, "Day for Night."

Jacqueline Bisset stars in "Loren and Rose."
Wise Lars
Jacqueline Bisset stars in "Loren and Rose" in this undated still.

"Her new film, 'Loren and Rose,' is essentially a two character piece, very intimate little film that is a perfect showcase for her playing an older actress and dealing candidly with that fact," Maltin said. "Here's a woman who was known originally and still known in many quarters for her beauty, which is striking. But she's more than just an attractive woman. She has honed her skills as a screen actress over many years time and hasn't had as many opportunities to show her chops, as it were."

Elegance Bratton will be receiving the inaugural Trailblazer Award. His film "The Inspection," which looks to Bratton's own experiences as a gay Black man going through Marine boot camp, will screen on Friday. And Geena Davis will receive the Legacy Award for her work both onscreen and off. She has been a vocal advocate for gender equality in Hollywood.

Leonard Maltin (left) at the 2019 Coronado Island Film Festival.
Leonard Maltin (left) at the 2019 Coronado Island Film Festival.

Maltin is excited to be back at the festival for the awards gala in the gorgeous Crown Room and to see films.

"What I love about film festivals is the communal aspect of it. It's not just seeing the film, it's seeing the film in the context of other films, in the context of being in a festival going mode," Maltin said. "I want to be carried away, swept away by the currents of that festival. I find that festivals make me more adventurous, more willing to try something that I don't know anything about, more willing to try exotic or foreign and then talking about it. The other half of the equation is talking about the films with the other people there. You come together for an experience and then discuss the experience. That's a key part of any festival."

Audiences can enjoy the festival through Sunday. There are still tickets available for the awards show on Saturday.