Cucalorus Film Festival, November 13-17, 2019

The 25th annual Cucalorus Film Festival showcases 187 short and feature films from all over the world. There are no prizes – just bonfires, cocktails, cuddle puddles, and a schedule of the year’s best films. The festival’s spirited celebration has been recognized as a breeding ground for young artists, new ideas, and future collaborations. Festival programs focus on dance, music videos, emerging artists, social justice, works-in-progress, and international cinema. Cucalorus brings together bold, emerging filmmakers with original new works that challenge us to look at the world in new ways and to laugh a little too. The festival’s retreat-like atmosphere is full of unexpected discoveries and promises a film for everyone.

2019 Film Selections

17 Blocks

Director: Davy Rothbart
Documentary Features :: Magnolia
In 1999, 9 year-old Emmanuel Sanford-Durant and his Washington, DC family began to film their daily lives in America's most dangerous neighborhood — just 17 blocks behind the U.S. Capitol...

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A Great Lamp

Director: Saad Qureshi
Narrative Features :: Vanguard
Max wheat pastes pictures of their dead grandma, Howie listens to fountain pennies and grants wishes, and Gene lives out of his car in exile from his family, when they...

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Always in Season

Director: Jacqueline Olive
Documentary Features :: Magnolia
Always in Season explores the lingering impact of more than a century of lynching African Americans and connects this form of historic racial terrorism to racial violence today. When 17-year-old...

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Anbessa

Director: Mo Scarpelli
Documentary Features :: Voices
A young boy displaced by a massive condominium complex creates his own reality where as a lion (anbessa) he can face the forces beyond his control.     A lyrical...

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Bacarau

Directors: Juliano Dornelles, Kleber Mendonça Filho
Narrative Features :: Convulsions
In the near future, a small village in the Brazilian sertão mourns the loss of its 94-year-old matriarch. Days later, the inhabitants (including legendary actress Sônia Braga) notice that their town has...

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Bangs Shorts: Dance

Directors: Various
Shorts Blocks :: Vanguard
But First... Director: Erin Brown Thomas / 4:48 Coffee literally changes the way I see, think, and interact with other people. But First... is my way of exploring this through...

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Beehive Shorts: Docs 3

Directors: Various
Shorts Blocks :: Voices
Let's go to Antarctica! Director: Gonzaga Manso / 5:00 Carlos is a human being who at this very moment is on a holiday in Antarctica. The penguins, who do not...

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Black Barbie: A Documentary (Work-in-Progress)

Director: Lagueria Davis
Documentary Features :: Voices
This film is a definitive history of Black dolls, told through the charismatic protagonist, Beullah Mae Mitchell, the filmmaker's aunt, who helped introduce the first Black Barbie. The film charts...

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Black Magic for White Boys

Director: Onur Tukel
Narrative Features :: Vanguard
An aging magician is about to lose his small New York theater, but has a devilish plan to save it. A middle-aged man finds his sovereignty in jeopardy when he...

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Bouffant Shorts: Drama 2

Directors: Various
Shorts Blocks :: Vanguard
A Period Piece Director: Sylvia Ray / 5:12 Cheered on by her best friend, a teen confronts her greatest fear - tampons. Shelter Director: Jo Hatcher / 7:00 A young...

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Butt Cut Shorts: Comedy

Directors: Various
Shorts Blocks :: Magnolia
Crackers Director: Bo Webb / 3:20 Two strangers at a coffee shop share a table and more. Ask Ed Director: Wesley Brown / 1:33 When a real estate broker hires...

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Buzz Repeat

Director: Who? Knows!
Documentary Features :: Magnolia
Who Knows?! Our annual buzz repeat goes to an audience favorite.

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Commuted (Work-in-Progress)

Director: Nailah Jefferson
Documentary Features :: Voices
Commuted tells the story of Danielle Metz, an African American mother of two, whose life was  turned upside down when she was sentenced as a drug kingpin to triple life...

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COOKED: Survival by Zip Code

Director: Judith Helfand
Documentary Features :: Voices
Chicago suffered the worst heat disaster in U.S history in 1995, when 739 residents – mostly elderly and black – died over the course of one week. As COOKED links...

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Cornrow Shorts: Docs 1

Directors: Various
Shorts Blocks :: Magnolia
Dear, Dreamer Director: Kristian Melom / 10:31 A lyrical portrait of the life and work of rising literary star Jason Reynolds. Enforcement Hours Director: Paloma Martinez / 13:04 In a...

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Crafting an Echo

Director: Marco Williams
Documentary Features :: Vanguard
The Martha Graham Dance Company commissions famed choreographer Andonis Foniadakis to create a new piece. But when Andonis’s fluid, improvisational style collides with Graham’s traditional structure, drama ensues. An impossibly...

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De Lo Mio

Director: Diana Peralta
Narrative Features :: Vanguard
Sibling bonds are rekindled and tested in the achingly vibrant debut from Diana Peralta. Rita and Carolina, two high-spirited sisters raised in New York, travel to the Dominican Republic to...

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Fauxhawk Shorts: Animation

Directors: Various
Shorts Blocks :: Vanguard
Or Else Everybody Dies Director: David Nast Cole / 1:19 A story of love, of tragedy, and of the environment. #Disrupt Director: Matt Reynolds / 1:16 The enchanting siren song...

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Finding Elijah (Work-in-Progress)

Director: Yolonda Johnson-Young
Documentary Features :: Voices
In today's climate of high profile suicides, it can affect anyone. Finding Elijah will be used to open the dialogue surrounding mental health issues and suicide awareness and prevention. The...

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Frances Ferguson

Director: Bob Byington
Narrative Features :: Magnolia
Frances Ferguson, the eponymously named character at the center of Bob Byington’s new film, is discontent. Like a lot of us, she does a bit of “acting out” and pays...

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High & Tight Shorts: Excellent

Directors: Various
Shorts Blocks :: Magnolia
"Out of Touch" by Slow Dance Director: Justin Lacy / 4:20 Drift through the woods and into the attic in this dream-like sequence inspired by the installation artwork of Sarah...

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Hope Frozen

Director: Pailin Wedel
Documentary Features :: Magnolia
A two-year-old girl from Bangkok — nicknamed “Einz” — became the youngest person in the world to undergo cryo-preservation. After her death from brain cancer, her family stores her remains...

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I’ve Got Issues

Director: Steve Collins
Narrative Features :: Vanguard
Human lives grappling with all the flavors of existential despair intersect in a deadpan collage of comic suffering. Director Steve Collins weaves together a series of bizarrely and sometimes touching...

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International Falls

Director: Amber McGinnis
Narrative Features :: Magnolia
Dee is a middle-aged wife and mother stuck in a boring job and a broken marriage in what feels like the frozen edge of the world: International Falls, Minnesota. A...

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Intro to Super 8 Filmmaking Workshop

Kodak, Norwood Cheek
Shorts Blocks :: Shorties
This session will focus on a quick background on the evolution of film formats and give insight into shooting super 8 today - what film stocks are available, what to...

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Jesus Shows You the Way to the Highway

Director: Miguel Llansó
Narrative Features :: Convulsions
Diminutive special agent DT Gagano dreams of leaving the CIA to open a pizza parlor and kickboxing studio with his wife Malin. Before he has a chance to present his...

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Jheri Curl Shorts: Drama 1

Directors: Various
Shorts Blocks :: Magnolia
Tadpole Director: Jovan James / 7:08 A shy teenager named Chris anxiously prepares his room for his friend Alex to spend the night. Limerence Director: Charlene Fisk / 9:00 When...

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Kifaru

Director: David Hambridge
Documentary Features :: Magnolia
Kifaru follows the lives of two young, Kenyan recruits that join Ol Pejeta Conservancy's rhino caretaker unit. This small group of brave rangers care for and protect Sudan, the last...

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Knives and Skin

Director: Jennifer Reeder
Narrative Features :: Magnolia
Have you seen Carolyn Harper? No one has, not since her jock boyfriend abandoned her at the lake. Something isn't quite right, but it's hard to say which wave of...

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Koko-Di Koko-Da

Director: Johannes Nyholm
Narrative Features :: Convulsions
Still grieving from the inexplicable death of their daughter on her 8th birthday, Elin and Tobias take a camping trip to find their way back to each other. However, their...

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Lucky Grandma

Director: Sasie Sealy
Narrative Features :: Vanguard
Grandma Wong lives in Chinatown and her life is pretty straight and narrow. She's a chain smoking grump, recently widowed but determined to live on her own terms. When a...

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Mama Bears (Work-in-Progress)

Director: Daresha Kyi
Documentary Features :: Voices
Did you know there are over 10,000 conservative, Christian mothers in America who accept their LGBTQ children? Although they may have grown up as fundamentalist, evangelical Christians, mama bears are...

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Once Upon A River

Director: Haroula Rose
Narrative Features :: Vanguard
It's 1978 and Margo Crane, a 15-year-old part-Native teen, must take to the Stark River on an odyssey. Haroula Rose's debut is based on the best-selling novel by Bonnie Jo...

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Paradise Without People

Director: Francesca Trianni
Documentary Features :: Voices
During the height of Europe’s refugee crisis, two Syrian women give birth in the same Greek hospital. They share the same dream, to raise their children away from war. But...

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Pariah Dog

Director: Jesse Alk
Documentary Features :: Vanguard
Pariah Dog is a powerfully creative portrait of several eccentric dog lovers in Kolkata, India. Shot over two-and-a-half years, the film builds a kaleidoscopic picture of the city of Kolkata,...

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Pigtail Shorts: Youth

Directors: Various
Shorts Blocks :: Vanguard
The Coin Director: Siqi Song / 6:40 In Chinese New Year, finding the coin hidden inside of the dumplings means having a blessed year ahead. Zombie Gummy Worms Director: Scooter...

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Pompadour Shorts: Docs 4

Directors: Various
Shorts Blocks :: Voices
Mom's Clothes Director: Jordan Wong / 5:35 A nonfiction reflection on being out of the closet by a queer person of color, navigating forms of intimacy, gender, and self worth....

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Ponyhawk Shorts: Docs 2

Directors: Various
Shorts Blocks :: Voices
Acadiana Directors: Guillaume Fournier, Samuel Matteau, Yannick Nolin / 9:56 May 2017. As the new president of the United States takes his ease in the White House, the city of...

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Psychobilly Wedge Shorts: Say What?

Directors: Various
Shorts Blocks :: Vanguard
Butt Fantasia Director: Mohit Jaswal / 5:39 With the help of a magic hat, an old man contemplates the good and bad times his butt has been through. Dick Tugger...

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Red, White & Wasted

Directors: Andrei Bowden-Schwartz, Sam B. Jones
Documentary Features :: Vanguard
Mudding: it’s just something people do in Florida. You get your friends, your beer, and your truck, and you drive through the mud until you can’t see the paint. “Video...

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Secret Screening

Director: Shhhhhh
Narrative Features :: Magnolia
Well, what can we say. This film is like no other film in the festival. Because we're not gonna tell you anything about it. A cinematic gift.

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Sick, Sick, Sick

Director: Alice Furtado
Narrative Features :: Convulsions
Introspective young Silvia falls for the new boy in class, Artur, an outcast and hemophiliac. Their spiritual and sexual love blossoms quickly, but after he suddenly bleeds to death, Silvia's...

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Straight Up

Director: James Sweeney
Narrative Features :: Magnolia
Sexual orientation is a slippery slope in James Sweeney’s talkative and hilarious comedy. Outrageous one-liners and frank truths pop up all over this romantic journey through the hip world of...

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Swing Low

Director: Teddy Grennan
Narrative Features :: Vanguard
When a nature photographer explains to the Police how she fought her way out of the Watchatoomy Valley, they dismiss her crazed and violent story as a meth-induced nightmare. But...

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Synchronic

Directors: Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead
Narrative Features :: Magnolia
Two New Orleans paramedics' lives are ripped apart after encountering a series of horrific deaths linked to a designer drug with otherworldly effects. Anthony Mackie plays Steve as he dives...

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The Home Team

Directors: Camille Pendley, Laura Asherman
Documentary Features :: Voices
Super Bowls come and go, but the people who live in the neighborhoods surrounding these massive new stadiums are always there. The Home Team takes a deep look at something...

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The House I Never Knew (Work-in-Progress)

Director: Randall Dottin
Documentary Features :: Voices
The House I Never Knew is a six-part documentary series that will chronicle the lives of people struggling to fight against the negative effects of housing segregation policy. We’ll conduct...

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The MisEducation of Bindu

Director: Prarthana Mohan
Narrative Features :: Magnolia
When a bullied Indian teen forges her mother’s signature to test out of school, she discovers she must pay a test fee by 7th period, leaving her no choice but...

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The Rachel Shorts: Drama 3

Directors: Various
Shorts Blocks :: Vanguard
That Doe Zone Director: Harrison Atkins / 6:52 I have to tell you something but I'm not sure how you're going to react. Laying Out Director: Joanna Arnow / 5:18...

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The World or Nothing

Director: Ingrid Veninger
Documentary Features :: Magnolia
The World or Nothing (El Mundo o Nada) is the first non-fiction feature film by award-winning Slovak-Canadian filmmaker, Ingrid Veninger. A loving and intimate portrait of 29-year-old Cuban twin brothers,...

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Tito

Director: Grace Glowicki
Narrative Features :: Vanguard
Paralyzed by fear of the outside world, a traumatized man seeks refuge in an abandoned house until the arrival of a cheerfully intrusive neighbor. Tito is trapped. With lank black...

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Top Knot Shorts: Canadian

Directors: Various
Shorts Blocks :: Magnolia
Dziadzio Director: Aaron Ries / 11:30 As summer days grow longer 22-year old Stefania, who lives with her aging grandfather, begins to spiral into fantasy in Aaron Ries’ unpredictable and...

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