Cucalorus Film Festival set to return in November

Staff report

WILMINGTON — The 27th annual Cucalorus Film Festival will return Nov. 10-14 to its “wild and wacky” in-person format after a year of pandemic-inspired online screenings and drive-ins.

The festival is expected to bring original and challenging new independent and international films to the screen at well-known venues like historic Thalian Hall and the foundation’s funky and recently renovated headquarters at Jengo’s Playhouse. New venues like Hi-Wire Brewery join the lineup, and a special selection of screenings will be held at the recently completed Film Studies building on the campus of the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

More details about the festival’s packed five-day schedule of film, music, and performance will be announced in early August.

Keeping the festival’s journey toward equity front and center, more than 50% of all film selections will be directed by women and more than 50% of all films will be from directors of color. Films include dramatic features, socially driven documentaries, and a funky and unexpected collection of shorts organized into thematic blocks focusing on topics ranging from dance to undoing racism and animation to sex, horror and the bizarre.

Plans for festival favorites like Dance-a-lorus and Visual/Sound/Walls are in the works. Also coming back strong is the “Bus to Lumberton,” an annual interactive homage to David Lynch’s mid-career masterpiece “Blue Velvet,” which was shot in and around downtown Wilmington in the 1980s.

For Cucalorus 27, the fest has commissioned the radical editing collective Racer Trash, whose mesmerizing party-time assault on Hollywood’s most iconic blockbusters is anti-capitalist, punk rock, and perhaps the future of cinema itself.

Passes for this year’s festival are only $200 and can be purchased on the festival’s website: www.cucalorus.org.

To support the festival’s relaunch, Cucalorus is in the middle of their annual donor campaign on Kickstarter, featuring a charming animated short made by Leah Shore that muses on love and geese and other unrelated things. The festival hopes to raise $27,000 by the funding deadline of Wednesday at midnight. The campaign has plenty of eccentric perks, including a clown nose or even the chance to write a message on the bathroom wall of Jengo’s Playhouse. Get perks by visiting: www.kickstarter.com/projects/cucalorus/cucalorus-27.

The Cucalorus Film Festival is funded in part by the North Carolina Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, South Arts, Mellon Foundation, the City of Wilmington, New Hanover County, and the University of North Carolina Wilmington.