Thursday, July 25, 2024

Cucalorus nabs spot on MovieMaker’s coolest film fests worldwide

Cucalorus Film Festival is being recognized as one of the “25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World.” This comes only three months after it scored a spot as one of “50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee” — which the festival has been recognized with before. (Port City Daily/Shea Carver)

WILMINGTON — The Port City’s most revered fall event has made its mark for the second time in a year on a list culled by MovieMaker magazine.

READ MORE: Cucalorus to open 29th festival with lauded local film

Cucalorus Film Festival is being recognized as one of the “25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World.” This comes only three months after it scored a spot as one of “50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee” — which the festival has been recognized with before.

“It’s the rare festival that has nothing to do with competition or heavy-handed networking,” MovieMaker editor-in-chief Tim Molloy stated about Cucalorus. “It’s all about art, love, and cool.”

A group of panelists consisting of festival leaders and filmmakers — Katie Bignell and Ian Bignell (Festival Formula), as well as filmmakers Hanadi Elyan (“Salma’s Home”), Camrus Johnson (“She Dreams at Sunrise”), Aaron Hills (Cinedigm, “Fish Kill Flea”), Geoff Marslett (“Quantum Cowboys”), Sylvia Caminer (“Follow Her”), and Ondi Timoner (“Last Flight Home”) — helped consult the list.

Cucalorus is joined by Sundance, SXSW, and Woodstock Film Festival, among other highlighted in 2023.

The local festival is overseen by executive director Dan Brawley, who Molloy praises along with the Cucalorus team. The editor writes the group knows how to “cultivate a sense of support, inclusion, and curiosity — they truly love films, the more daring and inventive, the better.”

The 2023 film festival is slated to take place Nov. 13 – 19, with the opening night film, “A Song for Imogene,” from local filmmakers of Honey Head Films. Other films already announced include “Black Barbie: A Documentary” — a Cucalorus works-in-progress from 2019 — by filmmaker Lagueria Davis. SXSW 2023’s standout, “This Closeness,” by Kit Zuaha and “Playland: A Queer Fantasia”  from Georden West — which premiered at Rotterdam and Tribeca — will be screened.

Other annual events to return include Dance-a-lorus, which pairs cinematographers with dancers for a hybrid multi-media performance. As well the Bus to Lumberton — an art installation — is derived by the inspiration of the Wilmington-filmed David Lynch classic, “Blue Velvet.”

“It’s a nice bonus that it happens to be in a film town that’s both a place of cinematic legend and a hotbed of new projects,” Molloy from MovieMaker continued to write about Cucalorus.

Wilmington — and North Carolina — experienced a record-breaking year in film productions in 2021. Locally, it brought more than a $300 million economic impact.

By comparison, 2023 is proving to be much slower, mainly due to the writers’ and actor’s strike. No productions are rolling in town at the moment; “Outer Banks” was scheduled to shoot a few scenes for two weeks at the end of July but will put permits on hold if the strike isn’t resolved.

Cucalorus Film Festival passes are on sale now here.


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Shea Carver
Shea Carver
Shea Carver is the editor in chief at Port City Daily. A UNCW alumna, Shea worked in the print media business in Wilmington for 22 years before joining the PCD team in October 2020. She specializes in arts coverage — music, film, literature, theatre — the dining scene, and can often be tapped on where to go, what to do and who to see in Wilmington. When she isn’t hanging with her pup, Shadow Wolf, tending the garden or spinning vinyl, she’s attending concerts and live theater.

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