For its 26th year, the Cucalorus Film Festival is taking a new approach with a hybrid format of live online events, streaming films online, and drive-in movie screenings at Curbside Cinema at UNCW. The festival is expanding dates to span fifteen days, November 11th-25th with a full lineup totaling 95 films, with everything from heartwarming dramas and important documentaries to obscure shorts and the just plain zany.
With a total of 8 documentary features, there is a non-fiction film for everyone with stories about Black undertakers, visionary Southern art, and immigration rights. Selections include ‘The Passing On’ produced by NC-based filmmaker Lana Garland and Megan Daniel’s heartwarming portrait of four transgender ministers called ‘Proper Pronouns’. Ten narrative films round out the features program with Sabrina Mertens’ ‘Time of Moulting’ headlining the Convulsions program hosted by Aaron Hillis. Danny Madden’s debut feature ‘Beast Beast’ is an inventive and critical look at social media produced by Benjamin Wiessner. Filmmaker and Dancer Carla Forte’s experimental feature ‘Conjeo (Rabbit)’ dives deep into the creative process as an actress and director spiral into darkness as they embody the title character: the rabbit.
Short films remain the heartbeat of the programming, highlighting new and emerging filmmakers. Sticking with this year’s theme, all of the 77 shorts have been curated into blocks named after mushrooms. The King Oyster Shorts block includes ‘Brother’ an award winning film from Ya’Ke Smiththe Gassy Webcap Shorts showcasing preserving and understanding the land to includes local filmmaker Andre Silva’s ‘Tides’.
Festival selections include 28 films by Black directors, 57 films directed by women, 7 films by Latinx artists, and 6 films by Indigenous/American Indian filmmakers.