Coronado Island Film Festival screenwriting competition jury
Suzanne Farwell, Susan Cartsonis, and Joey Siara courtesy of CIFF

The Coronado Island Film Festival has announced producers Suzanne Farwell and Susan Cartsonis and screenwriter Joey Siara as the jury for its first screenwriting competition.

Farwell and Cartsonis will lead the narrative features category, review the finalist’s scripts and choose the grand prize winner. Siara will lead the limited series category. Farwell is a longtime collaborator of The Parent Trap, The Holiday and Something’s Gotta Give director Nancy Meyers. Cartsonis’ credits include What Women Want and Where the Heart Is. Together, Farwell and Cartsonis founded Resonate Entertainment in 2016.

Siara is a screenwriter who most recently worked as a story editor on Peacock’s The Resort and was a staff writer on ABC’s Emergence.

The screenwriting competition began on March 15 via FilmFreeway with two categories: features and limited series. The top finalists in each category will be announced this September, at which point the finalists will receive two complimentary badges to attend the annual film festival, held November 6-10. There, the jury will announce a grand prize cash winner in each category, as well as recognizing a second prize at the jury awards on November 8. The final deadline to submit a screenplay for consideration is Saturday, July 20. 

“The inclusion of these esteemed and experienced jury members to our distinguished panel of judges further elevates the prestige of our Jury Awards, drawing the highest quality of creative talent submitted to our festival annually,” said CEO Merridee Book. “We are committed to establishing a robust foundation in this inaugural year to honor, celebrate, and recognize the artistry of exceptional scripts.” 

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More About Coronado Island Film Festival Screenwriting Competition Jurors

Suzanne Farwell got her early training at the William Morris Agency. She began her production career on the set of Walt Disney Pictures’ remake of The Parent Trap. She later became president of Waverly Films at Sony Pictures Entertainment, where she co-produced 2003’s Something’s Gotta Give starring Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton. She was also an executive producer on 2006’s The Holiday starring Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Cameron Diaz and Jack Black. In 2009, Farwell went on to executive produce It’s Complicated starring Meryl Streep, Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin. In 2015, Farwell produced The Intern starring Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway for Warner Bros. Pictures. 

In 2020, under her Resonate banner, Farwell executive produced the Netflix original film Feel the Beat starring Sofia Carson and the Disney Channel original movie Upside Down Magic. Her other recent projects include the final installment of Disney musical franchise Zombies 3 and Amazon’s Sitting In Bars With Cake.

Susan Cartsonis produced What Women Want starring Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt, and Where the Heart Is starring Natalie Portman. She’s also recently produced Netflix projects like True Spirit starring Anna Paquin.

She was senior vice president of production at 20th Century Fox, where she worked for a decade, developing and supervising films like Nell starring Jodie Foster, French Kiss starring Kevin Kline, For the Boys starring Bette Midler, Dying Young starring Julia Roberts, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She also supervised talent deals for Fox including one for Peter Farrelly (Green Book, There’s Something About Mary), Geena Davis (Thelma & Louise, The Accidental Tourist), Richard Gere (Runaway Bride, Pretty Woman), and Johnny Depp (Pirates of the Caribbean, Edward Scissorhands). 

She’s a member of the Motion Picture Academy, the Television Academy, and the Producer’s Guild. She’s on the board of Meryl Streep’s Writer’s Lab, and teaches at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. She also produced Sitting in Bars with Cake for Amazon through she and Farwell’s Resonate banner.

Joey Siara is a New York based screenwriter. In addition to writing for The Resort and Emergence, he also sold an original pilot to Hulu, and alongside his brother, sold their original feature A COACHELLA STORY to Rivers Edge. He has worked in non-fiction as well on shows for PBS, Discovery, CNN, and most recently co-produced The Power of Film for TCM on Max. He has a master’s degree from Harvard and an MFA from UCLA.

Main Image: Suzanne Farwell, Susan Cartsonis, and Joey Siara courtesy of CIFF

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