The 23 year-old Cucalorus Film Festival is transforming to broaden its exploration of innovation and creativity by showcasing performers and entrepreneurs along with filmmakers. This year’s Cucalorus Festival taking place November 8 to 12, in downtown Wilmington, NC, is organized into three broad programs: Film, Stage and Connect.
The catalyst for this transformation is the Cucalorus Connect Conference, an exploration of the digital transformation that is changing the way we live, work and play. Michele Holbrook from Corning will deliver the opening keynote and will be joined by executives from GE Hitachi Nuclear, ESPN, CBS Sports, SAS, Microsoft, K4Connect and more. Entrepreneur George Taylor, who has been instrumental in building the ecosystem for startups in North Carolina, will make a special announcement about his work to launch a brewery run by active gang members during the closing keynote.
Headlining Thursday’s schedule, Onur Tukel returns to Wilmington for the Southern US Premiere of his latest film “The Misogynists” – a devastatingly satirical comedy about two Trump supporters celebrating in a hotel room on election night.
Cucalorus will host the World Premiere of Canadian filmmakers Hannah Cheesman and Mackenzie Donaldson’s “The Definites” – a tightly crafted drama about a woman who leaves her husband-to-be and dives into her own wild desires during a libidinous, party-filled weekend at Art Basel in Miami. Rounding out the premieres at the festival are Dan Mirvish’s “Bernard and Huey,” Jordan Canning’s “Ordinary Days,” Jennifer Morrison’s “Sun Dogs,” and Bob Byington’s “Infinity Baby.” The full lineup of over 200 features and shorts will be announced next week and will include special curated programs from Toronto International Film Festival‘s Lisa Haller and Lisa Vandever from Cinekink.
The festival’s Works-in-Progress program, a workshop-style review of top social documentaries in-the-making from African American filmmakers, includes Unapologetic by Ashley Mills, Seeds of Struggle by Dennis Terry, Woody Shaw: Beyond All Limits by Woody Shaw III, Time of the Phoenix: The First Rainbow Coalition by Ray Santisteban, You Only Live Once by Terrance Pitts, and While I Breathe, I Hope by Emily Harrold.
The newest branch of the festival family is the Cucalorus Stage program, built on the success of performance-focused events like Dance-a-lorus, the Bus to Lumberton, and Visual/Sound/Walls. The Cucalorus Stage Experience includes more than 40 performers working in dance, music, theatre, comedy and performance. Alexandra Tatarsky returns to the festival with “Americana Psychobabble” – a delirious anti-narrative of American emptiness, violence and nonsense — part exorcism and part enema! Returning to the fest after her buzz-worthy debut, Shirley Gnome will share her new show “Taking it up the Notch.” Dram Tree Shakespeare, Pineapple-Shaped Lamps and a host of other cutting edge performers round out the lineup while the David Lynch-inspired Bus to Lumberton installation is being created by award-winning alum Josephine Decker.