Wilmington, N.C.: Wilmington, North Carolina’s historic river district and island beaches is a well-known coastal vacation destination with an independent and creative spirit that appeals to visitors and filmmakers. Each year since 1994 film buffs and independent filmmakers have made the pilgrimage to Wilmington, North Carolina for the Cucalorus Film Festival. On November 8-11, the 18th Annual Cucalorus Film Festival will celebrate the art of filmmaking with screenings of more than 190 independent films from around the world, workshops, panel discussions, master dance/film classes, and special events.
The Cucalorus Film Festival is a non-competitive, laid-back event that filmmakers and audiences appreciate. The four-day festival began as a one-night screening of locally-made indie films. In recent years it has expanded and earned national recognition from the Brooks Institute, as well as Moviemaker and Time magazines. This year the festival makes an encore appearance on the Southeast Tourism Society’s “Top 20 Events” list for the month of November.
Of the 190 films to be screened at Cucalorus 18, there are 53 full-length documentary and narrative feature films, 105 short films and 36 music videos from 15 countries. Guest filmmakers will share insights during Q&A sessions that follow screenings. According to Director Dan Brawley, this year’s festival embraces other art forms by expanding the dance and music video programs. The Cucalorus Film Festival gets underway on Thursday with screenings and the ever-popular “Dance-a-lorus” block that merges a unique communion of dance and film, followed by the first of several Visual Soundwalls music video installations that run throughout the festival. While the majority of screenings are intended for adult audiences, there is a Saturday morning section that’s appropriate for children. Cookie Monster Shorts at Thalian Hall showcases shorts for kids, some of which were actually made by kids.
This year Cucalorus continues the N.C. Filmmaker Retrospective which debuted last year to showcase groundbreaking artists who have had a lasting impact on film culture in the state. This year’s retrospective examines the works of Durham-based artist Jim Haverkamp, who curates Durham’s Strange Beauty Film Festival. Haverkamp collaborated with festival director Dan Brawley to develop Cucalorus’ first-ever Strange Beauty Challenge, a hands-on filmmaking workshop. On Sunday night the festival concludes at City Stage Theatre with a showcase of 15 short experimental films produced in less than a week by local filmmakers who participated in the Strange Beauty Challenge workshop.
In honor of its North Carolina roots, more than 25% of the festival’s films have connections to its home state. This year showcases nine feature-length films with N.C. credits: “Althea” (work-in-progress by Rex Miller, Wilmington); “Between Friends and Family” (by Rick Dillwood, Greensboro); “It’s a Girl Thing: MKA, Tween Queens and the Commodification of Girlhood” (by Shannon Silva, Asst. Professor, UNCW Film Studies); “Jimmy” (by NC School of Arts alum Mark Freiburger); “Monsieur Contraste” (by Rodrigo Dorfman, filmed in the Triangle); “Private Violence” (a work-in-progress by Cynthia Hill, Durham); “See Girl Run” (by Nate Meyer, NC School of the Arts grad); “The Farmer Veteran Project” (work-in-progress by Alix Blair, Triangle region); “Troubled Waters” (by James Billy Hill III, Wilmington); and the N.C. Retrospective featuring works by Durham filmmaker Jim Haverkamp. Additionally, 24 short films and music videos with Carolina ties will screen at Cucalorus 18. For a complete festival schedule, visit www.cucalorus.org.
This year’s central Ticketbox location will be at Thalian Hall in the 2nd floor ballroom. Screenings will take place at the following Downtown Wilmington venues: Thalian Hall Center for Performing Arts (310 Chestnut St.); Jengo’s Playhouse (815 Princess St.); City Stage Theatre (21 N. Front St., 5th floor); TheatreNOW (19 South 10th St.); and The Soapbox (255 N. Front St.). For tickets, schedules, film descriptions, venue directions, and other details, visit www.cucalorus.org.
Did you know that Wilmington, North Carolina—home to the Cucalorus Film Festival and EUE/Screen Gems Studios—is a top location for U.S. film production? Recent productions include “Iron Man 3,” “We’re the Millers,” “Safe Haven,” and NBC’s new hit series “Revolution.” For a free official Visitors Guide for Wilmington, North Carolina’s historic river district and the island beaches of Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, and Wrightsville Beach, call 1-866-266-9690 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For seasonal specials, featured events and experiences visit www.GoWilmingtonAndBeaches.com.