One of the oldest hotels in Southern California, the Hotel Del Coronado and its surrounding island are steeped in history; dating back to 1888, The Del’s visionary founders dreamed of building a resort that would be “the talk of the Western world” for years to come. The hotel quickly turned into a favorite retreat for old Hollywood stars and provided a stunning backdrop for a multitude of films in the 50s; now, more than 125 years later, the inaugural Coronado Island Film Festival (Jan 15-18) promises to be an indelible combination of old Hollywood glamour, new cinema, and classically elegant soirees.
The Del has, coincidentally, has also been a favorite go-to spot for Hollywood royalty since the early days, when the likes of Frank Capra, Jack Lemmon, Mary Pickford, and the great Charlie Chaplin strolled the Avenue to while away the hours in between filming.
Coronado and “The Del” have provided the perfect location for shooting a film since the art form’s early beginnings, an enduring love affair that began a hundred years ago and continues with the creation of the Coronado Film Festival. Esteemed oldies like Clark Gable’s Hell Divers and James Cagney’s Devil Dogs of the Air, which highlighted Coronado’s glamorous days of early Naval aviation, were filmed on the island; Some Like It Hot, featuring the beloved Marilyn Monroe along with Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis, was filmed in 1958 and was one of the first films to truly showcase the hotel’s grandeur.
The island will provide the setting for four jam-packed days of parties, panels, exhibits, workshops, Special Events, celebrities, live performances, new films, treasured classics, filmmakers, interesting venues, awards, and tributes along with approximately 60 films by filmmakers from every level of the craft.
The festival’s opening-night film on January 15 is slated to be Walt Disney Pictures’ January 29th release, The Finest Hours, starring Chris Pine, Casey Affleck (Interstellar), Ben Foster, Holliday Grainger, John Ortiz, and others. The film is directed by Craig Gillespie and is produced by Jim Whitaker (American Gangster) and Dorothy Aufiero (The Fighter). The festival will close with the critically acclaimed feature, 45 Years. Distributed by IFC Films, the feature provides a profound look at marriage and secrets and stars Charlotte Rampling (Restless) and Tom Courtenay (Doctor Zhivago) and is directed by Andrew Haigh (Weekend, Looking). A Q&A and reception will follow the screening both evenings.
In between opening and closing nights, the Hotel del Coronado will host numerous events including the festival’s closing-night bonfire celebration of the feature film, Some Like It Hot. The film will be screened on the same beach where it was shot in 1958 and introduced by Jack Lemmon’s son, Chris Lemmon. In addition, Chris will give two live performances of his one-man musical show A Twist of Lemmon in character as his father, Jack. The well-reviewed show—currently on tour—is based on Chris’ 2008 memoir of the same name.
Other special throwback films being screened at the festival include The Stunt Man (1979), starring Peter O’Toole and also filmed at the Del, and Errol Flynn’s 1939 Dive Bomber, which will be introduced by Flynn’s daughter, Rory Flynn, and his grandson, actor Sean Flynn.
For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the Coronado Island Film Festival’s website.
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