Cucalorus Board of Directors
Thomas Varnum, Chair
Thomas Varnum is an intellectual property, film and business lawyer with the Brooks Pierce law firm. He helped Brooks Pierce open its office in downtown Wilmington in 2013. Varnum grew up in Northern California, and attended UNC Chapel Hill before earning his law degree at UC-Davis. Now he lives, works and plays right here in beautiful Wilmington. Call Varnum at 910-444-2022, email him, or visit his website bio page.
Dylan Lee, President
Dylan Lee lives in Wilmington with his wife Nicole and two Labradors. He loves Wilmington so much that he has moved here on four separate occasions! His first try was after he finished college at UNCG in 1992. Lee finally stuck in 2000, when he moved to be station manager for TV channel GTV8. Lee works to make WIlmington a better place and wants people to know that Cucalorus weekend is the best weekend of the year in this great city.
Mike Duncan, Treasurer
Mike Duncan is the CEO and Creative Director of Sage Island Digital Marketing, an agency which has spent the last 20 years at the forefront of internet marketing. An innovative thinker and entrepreneur with expertise in start-ups, turnaround, and rapid growth, Mike’s ability to analyze key business drivers and develop compelling strategies has produced countless success stories.
Jackie Olive, Secretary
Jacqueline Olive founded Tell It Media to create documentaries that tell nuanced stories of the people, places and cultures that make up our diverse world. She coordinated the production of the Emmy Award-winning PBS documentary series, Independent Lens, and Global Voices for three seasons. Bringing experience in the journalism field since 2002, Jackie also co-created Black to Our Roots, which broadcast on PBS World. Jacqueline has produced transmedia projects as a fellow with the National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC) and the Bay Area Video Coalition (BAVC).
Aaron Hillis was recently praised by Brooklyn Magazine as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in Brooklyn Culture.” Hillis is a film critic and programmer who has written for The Village Voice, Time Out NY, LA Weekly, Variety, Filmmaker Magazine, Indiewire, Premiere, and Spin. He is also the owner of Video Free Brooklyn, three-time “Best Video Store in NYC” winner. Hillis’ co-directorial feature debut, Fish Kill Flea, screened at Cuc’ 2007.
Dan Brawley, Sr.
Dan Brawley has over 40 years of experience in large, complex cases. He concentrates his practice on the areas of construction law, commercial litigation and maritime law, as well as personal injury and property damage claims. His practice has significant concentration in business tort litigation including prosecution and defense of claims for breach of fiduciary duties, unfair and deceptive trade practices, fraud and constructive fraud, among others, and has handled numerous cases before the North Carolina Business Court.
Dana Cook is a native Californian who fell in love with Spanish moss and a southern guy. In 2003, they moved their business, 4 kids, 3 dogs, and a cat named Spot to his home town of Wilmington. Dana owns Julia’s Florist and loves spreading Flower Power whenever possible. Her involvement with Cucalorus is driven by a secret life which includes drawn drapes, salty snacks, and indie films.
As the Account Specialist for Entertainment Partners Purchasing Service and EP Financial Solutions, Hillary Meinheit works closely with the vast majority of film and television projects that come into the state. As the great-granddaughter of John T Hoggard, Meinheit’s roots run deep in Wilmington and she is excited to see the success of the film industry in the region and the expansion of film studies and productions throughout the entire state
Born in Bratislava and raised in Canada, Ingrid Veninger formed pUNK Films with a ‘nothing is impossible’ manifesto. Veninger has produced six features in the past six years, which have premiered at TIFF and numerous festivals worldwide. Currently, Veninger is a part-time member of the Film Studies Faculty at York University, Screenwriter-in-Residence at the University of Toronto, and she recently initiated the pUNK Films FEMMES LAB to foster feature films written and directed by women.
Kristen directs the Office of the Arts at UNC Wilmington. She oversees UNCW’s Kenan Auditorium, curates the UNCW Presents series including Lumina Festival of the Arts, and coordinates programming in collaboration with five UNCW academic arts departments. Prior to her time in Wilmington she spent almost eight years at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago as Artistic Administrator and General Manager and nine years at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. Kristen lives with her husband David and children Sophie and Nicholas in Wilmington, North Carolina. She knows that art and artists have the power to change the world.
Laura Brogdon-Primavera is the Manager of Programs and Operations at the UNCW Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. She served as the Administrative Assistant to the UNCW Chief of Staff in 2012 before moving to the CIE in 2013. Before that she lived and worked outside of Chicago, IL in environmental education and event planning with the Forest Preserve District of Will County. Mrs. Primavera received a BSBA in Hospitality and Tourism Management from Appalachian State University and an M.Ed. in Higher Education at UNCW. Laura also serves as Activities Director at Holiday Inn Resort in Wrightsville Beach supervising a team of 12 college-aged students and organizing all the fun there is to be had while vacationing at our beaches. You can also catch her on stage or behind the scenes performing or choreographing for Thalian Association, NC’s Official Community Theatre. She has two kids and another on the way and a loving husband that allows her the freedom to create and support her community in all the ways she does. When she slows down and has free time, she enjoys disc golf and watching all the animated kids movies with her little ones.
Omari Fox is an artist and founder of his own signature visual style. He currently serves as in the leadership of Alternate Roots on the Executive Committee and the Resources for Social Change innovation ensemble, organizing the membership and the communities advocating for the principles of Community Engagement. Since attending the 2010 Cucalorus Film Festival, Fox has hosted a number of events, and supported community engagement work for social justice based films and documentaries formally joining the board in 2012.
Sean Ahlum is the Director of Business Development at TekMountain. Sean previously served as the director of technology and communications for the UNCW’s Office of Housing and Residence Life. The intersections of technology, community, and business development are the basis of his passion. Sean received multiple degrees from UNCW including a BA in English, an MFA in Professional Creative Writing, and an MBA from the Cameron School of Business. He spends his free time fishing, surfing and enjoying leisurely walks with his wife and dog.
Sue Meier grew up in Michigan and lived in New York before making Wilmington her home. She’s been teaching, dancing, and choreographing with The Dance Cooperative for 10+ years. Meier’s been a participant of Dance-a-lorus, working with different filmmakers on a variety of projects. She’s also involved in the North Carolina Dance Festival’s stop in Wilmington, having produced the event for several years. When she’s not at the studio, Meier will likely be found at the beach!