News online for Encinitas, Calif.

North Coast Current

News online for Encinitas, Calif.

North Coast Current

News online for Encinitas, Calif.

North Coast Current

Save 10% On Your Order with code OSIDE at

Encinitas filmmaker’s ‘Red Blooded’ project is San Diego Film Award nominee

Denice Riddle (right) stars as disgruntled school board president Lois Green in the short film “Red Blooded,” which has been nominated for five 2024 San Diego Film Awards. Encinitas actor Mark Allyn (left) plays school board member Michael Lancet. (Mercury Cinema photo)

“Red Blooded,” an award-winning short film about school board intrigue, bullying and self-reflection — ripped right from the climate of recent political and social conflicts — will screen as a 2024 San Diego Film Awards nominee on June 19 at the Digital Gym Cinema.

The film has five nominations for the 10th Annual San Diego Film Awards, presented by Film Consortium San Diego: Best Narrative Short Film, Best Original Screenplay (Roman S. Koenig), Best Lead Actress (Denice Riddle), Best Supporting Actress (Laura Bohlin), Best Ensemble Cast.

Written, directed and executive produced by Encinitas-based filmmaker Roman S. Koenig, “Red Blooded” tells the story of school board president Lois Green (played by Riddle), a woman who has little tolerance for immigrants, students of color and others but gets the tables turned on her when she learns that her son is a member of the kinds of groups that she and her husband target. Her son’s pain leads Lois to her own lesson in acceptance.

“A timely and evocative tale, this film reminds us of the profound impact of self-reflection and the importance of unity in divisive times,” German festival FilmHaus writes in its review of the film.

Lois’ worldview is challenged when a senior student journalist named Simon (played by Michael Li) —whose parents are undocumented immigrants, with the support of his teacher, Kate Baumann (played by Bohlin) — publishes stories in the campus newspaper about Lois’ tactics on the board and those of a shadowy “civil protection” group called Fourth Freedom, of which her husband, Don (played by Sean Dillingham), is a leading member. In pushing back against Simon, Lois inadvertently reveals the truth about her son, Benjamin (played by Cayden Dillingham).

“‘Red Blooded’ was a risky film to make in some respects,” Koenig says. “It tackles my concerns about today’s political and educational climate in a way that’s as in-your-face as some of the players on our local and national stages. And that was the point. To provoke thought. To reflect on how we treat each other and ourselves.”

Koenig used his backgrounds in journalism and education as a springboard for telling this story.

“Koenig’s direction is a testament to his journalistic roots, presenting the narrative with a stark realism that is both compelling and thought-provoking,” Adrian Perez, organizer of the London-based Lonely Wolf Film Festival, writes in his review of the film.

Since its completion in 2023, “Red Blooded” has earned more than 40 awards and nominations from national and international competitions and festivals, most recently an Honorable Mention Humanitarian Award from the Accolade Global Film Competition, and now five nominations from the 10th Annual San Diego Film Awards.

The film utilizes San Diego locations such as Palomar College in San Marcos, San Diego City College and Ascend Coffee Roasters (formerly Old California Coffeehouse in San Marcos).

“Red Blooded” is a Mercury Cinema film produced by Koenig, Jennie Olson Six and Rhianna Basore. The film’s director of photography is Garrett Glassell, with music composed and supervised byRob Gironda.

Tickets for the 6 p.m. June 19 screening are $20 and can be reserved through the Film Consortium’s event page. The 10th Annual San Diego Film Awards will be held on June 22 at the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park.

(Story updated 06/03/24 at 2:50 p.m.)