Festival Schedule

Official Selections

View

Stay Up To Date.

Our monsters need your email! Then you can be a know-it-all.

Cucalorus Film Festival, Nov 11-25, 2020
Online and Drive-in

2020 Film Selections:

“I Don’t Need Another”

Directors: Justin Lacy, J. Noel Sullivan
Short Film
Plants are illegal. Not enough water. However, on the train to the Isle of Plastic, two young wards of the state sneak in some gardening.  Practical effects, cardboard props, and...

read more

A Beautiful Nightmare

Director: Kevin Lee Maxwell
Short Film
Daniel, a highly accomplished dancer, comes home from college only to find himself entangled in a battle between himself and his concerned father.  Screening in the Twisted Deceiver Shorts Block.

read more

A Galaxy Sits in the Cracks

Director: Amber Love
Short Film
Black communities in Chicago, Detroit, and Durham use Afrofuturism as a tool to inspire young people, organize politically and economically, and reimagine the spaces around them in this captivating experimental...

read more

A Syrian Woman

Directors: Khawla Al Hammouri, Louis Karim Sayad DeCaprio
Short Film
After nearly a decade of conflict, Syrian refugee women are some of the most vulnerable amid the crisis. Thousands have lost their families and husbands, and now must provide for...

read more

Adullam

Director: Regina Hoyles
Short Film
A young Chicago woman with a well-kept secret enjoys a typical day in the south suburbs. Regina Hoyle's directorial debut is a sharp and stylish social commentary. Hoyle was raised in the...

read more

Afro

Director: Jenn Shaw
Short Film
After multiple encounters with her bully and a little academic inspiration, an African-American teen girl finally stands up for herself against classmates that question her cultural identity.  Screening in the...

read more

All of Me

Directors: Josie Hess, Morgana Muses
Short Film
Melinah is a sex worker, camgirl and activist with cerebral palsy, this short intimate documentary explores her work, philosophy, and the intersections of her identity. Screening in the Hairy Nut...

read more

Aloma & Mila

Director: Tuixén Benet
Short Film
Aloma and Mila are two women who meet under the fantastic lights of fake summer cities on the coast of Valencia, Spain. Mila is in search of a place to...

read more

Assholes

Director: Jonny Look
Short Film
A Scientist uses a series of torture related experiments on a variety of house plants in order get them to communicate with humans. Screening in the Hairy Nut Disco Shorts...

read more

Augustus

Director: Jon Alston
Short Film
Augustus, a literate, escaped slave masquerading as a free man in Massachusetts just prior to the Civil War, experiences nightmares of his son's death and a future America that resembles...

read more

Be Kind, Please

Director: Ace McColl
Short Film
Told through compiled voicemails and damaged analog tapes, this piercing short film offers an intimate look into a daughter's complicated relationship with her father. Increasingly callous messages play in contrast...

read more

Beast Beast

Director: Danny Madden
Narrative Features
Three interwoven stories of youth navigating identity, first love, petty crime, and gun violence in a Southern, American town. Brimming with energy and style, Beast Beast captures what it means...

read more

Belly of the Beast

Director: Erika Cohn
Documentary Features
When an unlikely duo discovers a pattern of illegal sterilizations in women’s prisons, they wage a near impossible battle against the Department of Corrections. Filmed over seven years with extraordinary...

read more

Beneath the Earth

Director: Joseph Rucker II
A man encounters Hell. Is it real? Is it too late? Screening in the Purple Jellydisc Shorts block.

read more

Best Summer Ever

Directors: Michael Parks Randa, Lauren Smitelli
Narrative Features
Sage and Anthony face the drama of high school after falling in love at a dance camp over the summer. An original musical featuring a cast and crew of people...

read more

Blackheads

Director: Emily Ann Hoffman
Short Film
A woman copes with bad therapy, heartbreak and blackheads. Screening in the Weeping Toothcrust Shorts block.

read more

Body So Fluorescent: The Short Film

Director: Amanda Cordner and David Di Giovanni
Short Film
Desiree and Shenice go out for a fun night of dancing, but when Shenice takes things a step too far, Desiree is confronted with who Shenice really is and how...

read more

Brother

Director: Ya'Ke
Short Film
After his older brother Casey returns home from a prison sentence, Caleb’s relationship with his best friend Jason is put to the test. Screening in the King Oyster Shorts block.

read more

Bulls and Saints

Director: Rodrigo Dorfman
Short Film
A lyrical documentary short based on a love letter written by an immigrant bull rider to his wife back home in Mexico. Screening in the Dewdrop Dapperling Shorts block.

read more

Catalyst by Pinky Verde

Director: Heather Jensen
Short Film
Complicated love and a stirring self-awareness take over this lusciously-haunted video. Screening in the Slippery Jack Shorts block.

read more

CHOR(E)S

Director: Danielle Deadwyler
Short Film
With filmmaking and performance as primary media, Danielle Deadwyler blurs the line on labor of the black body. Through experimental and theatrical exhibition structures, she especially bolsters the black female...

read more

Coffee Shop Names

Director: Deepak Sethi
Short Film
Three Indian people imagine their personas as their "coffee shop names," the names they give baristas because their real names are hard to pronounce. Screening in the Hairy Parachute Shorts...

read more

CONEJO (Rabbit)

Director: Carla Forte
Narrative Features
Venezuelan filmmaker and dancer Carla Forte's experimental feature Conejo draws on her expertise about the demanding rehearsal process and fuses it with her unique storytelling style to create an unforgettable dynamic between two...

read more

Dewdrop Dapperling Shorts

Shorts Blocks
From a painter in Wilmington to a Syrian refugee, this collection of documentaries explore identity, romance, and food through the lives of ordinary folks in extraordinary circumstances. A brilliant collection...

read more

Don’t Be a Sucka

Director: A.J. Riggins
Short Film
After a decade apart, two old friends, John and Brent reminisce over drinks and remember the good ole days of their past. As the drinks flow, Brent takes the opportunity...

read more

Don’t Touch Your Face

Director: Leah Shore
Short Film
Don't Touch Your Face!! A Public Service Announcement. Song by The Lunachicks' Gina Volpe.  Screening in the Hairy Parachute Shorts block.

read more

Dot & a Feather

Director: Alisha Bhowmik
Short Film
One afternoon, Alisha and Chris are hanging out on her fire escape when Alisha recalls a childhood anecdote revolving around her heritage. A short documentary about having a mixed identity...

read more

Dramarama

Director: Jonathan Wysocki
Narrative Features
It’s summer 1994, and a group of conservative drama teens throw their final murder mystery party before heading off to college. During the game, an unexpected visit by a rebel...

read more

Drought

Directors: Hannah Black, Megan Petersen
Narrative Features
It's 1993 and the south is experiencing the worst drought in history. However, Carl, who is on the autism spectrum, is fascinated by weather and predicting a storm to hit...

read more

Düsseldorf

Director: Mike Lars White
Short Film
Graduates of an obscure German art school become guinea pigs for a young woman’s mediation skills when their relationship turmoil reaches fever pitch in a shopping mall parking lot. Screening...

read more

échappé

Director: Rebecca Walters
Short Film
When faced with the opportunity for a solo performance, an aging dancer must question whether her moral compass and personal integrity are important enough to stand up to a choreographer’s...

read more

El Father Plays Himself

Director: Mo Scarpelli
Documentary Features
A young film director returns to Venezuela, inspired to make a film based on his father's life in the Amazon jungle. He casts Father to play himself. What starts as...

read more

Elizabeth Darrow: Believing in the Process

Director: Christina Capra
Short Film
Look deeper into the many phases and processes of Elizabeth Darrow's art work in this documentary by local filmmaker Christina Capra.  Screening in the Dewdrop Dapperling Shorts block.

read more

Extraneous Matter

Director: Kenichi Ugana
Short Film
One day, a strange thing comes to her, who is suffering from being sexless with her boyfriend. Screening in the Hairy Nut Disco Shorts block.

read more

FITNESS! or a story about SWEAT

Director: Kana Hatakeyama
Short Film
A titillating spiritual comedy about seeking your joyful, deepest nature through technology, human connection...and sweat. Screening in the Hairy Parachute Shorts block.

read more

For the Love of Rutland

Director: Jennifer Maytorena Taylor
Documentary Features
As her small, blue-collar city struggles to emerge from the opioid epidemic and gets caught up in battles over change, identity, and self-mythology, For the Love of Rutland closely follows...

read more

Freeland

Directors: Mario Furloni, Kate McLean
Narrative Features
An aging pot farmer suddenly finds her world shattered as she races to bring in what could be her final harvest, fighting against the threat of eviction as the impact...

read more

Future Ancestor

Director: Josue Rivas
Short Film
Indigenous scholar and poet Lyla June challenges the status quo when she decides to run for House of Representatives in New Mexico’s District 47. Future Ancestor follows her through a...

read more

Gassy Webcap Shorts

Shorts Blocks
Seven sensational documentaries about the land, the water, our past and our future. Spanning centuries and cultural communities, these films inspire us to respect the planet and to prepare our...

read more

Grizzlies

Director: Alex Heller
Short Film
Within the midwestern animal kingdom, teenage workplaces like Dairy Queen are known to employ some of the most savage beasts of prey.  In this comedy about animal instincts to protect...

read more

Hack The Doc

Director: Kelley Van Dilla
Short Film
An epic documentary of the world's greatest hacky sacker. Screening in the Slippery Jack Shorts block.

read more

Hairy Nut Disco Shorts

Shorts Blocks
Pushing the boundaries of sex, laughter and the bizarre, this combo of delicious and naughty weirdness will open you up to some new possibilities for your nightly diversions. Films: Assholes...

read more

Hairy Parachute Shorts

Shorts Blocks
Comedy comes in many flavors. Sample the situational, the sublime and the wickedly wack-o in this 9 pack of laughter-inducing short films. Films: FITNESS! or a story about SWEAT Kana...

read more

Heart Tick Kaboom

Directors: Grace Kim, Ty Lance West
Short Film
An experimental drop into the whimsical world of the Atlanta airport, as seen through an Alien girls' eyes. Screening in the Weeping Toothcrust Shorts block.

read more

Hope You See This

Directors: Benjamin Stillerman, Rachel Winton
Short Film
An experimental narrative comprised of over-the-phone and in-person interviews with Craiglist posters whose missed connections happened on the subway. Using the website’s iconic interface to display the transcript, the visuals...

read more

How to Re-Caulk your Tub

Director: Sean Pierce
Short Film
A woman re-caulks a tub by herself.  A Film about Anxiety. Screening in the Slippery Jack Shorts block.

read more

I’m Free Now, You Are Free

Director: Ash Goh Hua
Short Film
A short documentary about the reunion and repair between Mike Africa Jr and his mother Debbie Africa—a formerly incarcerated political prisoner of the MOVE9. In 1978, Debbie, then 8 months...

read more

In Our Nature

Director: Echo Wilson
Short Film
An animated documentary exploring humanity’s relationship with nature through a world of interviewed “animals.” Screening in the Gassy Webcap Shorts block.

read more

Inspector Ike

Director: Graham Mason
Narrative Features
Inspector Ike, New York City’s greatest police detective, finds himself in a high-stakes game of cat-and-mouse after the conniving understudy of an avant-garde theater group knocks off the star actor....

read more

Jack

Director: Faiyaz Jafri
Short Film
Jack is naked. Jack is pretending to play guitar. Jack looks silly. Screening in the Hairy Nut Disco Shorts block.

read more

Judging Eyes

Director: Joy J. James
Short Film
We've all done it. Looked at someone and formed an opinion. How often have we formed a negative sentiment based on how a person looks? How often have we thought...

read more

Kapaemahu

Directors: Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, Dean Hamer, Joe WIlson
Short Film
Kapaemahu reveals the healing power of four mysterious stones on Waikiki Beach – and the legendary transgender spirits within them.  Long ago, four extraordinary individuals of both male and female...

read more

Kindred Kings

Director: Trey Gray
Short Film
A poetically visual essay that explores freedom and versatility for the black man. Kindred Kings illustrates the journey for us to remember that black men are Kings, Kindred Kings. And...

read more

King Oyster Shorts

Shorts Blocks
What does it mean to be Black or Brown or White? These seven dramatic shorts explore the shifting dynamics of identity and self, asking us who we are, how we...

read more

liminal

Director: Dan Abramovici
Short Film
Steve lives both his past and present concurrently. As time is compressed and he flows through spirals of love and sexuality, Steve finds himself in a transition; stuck between a...

read more

Little Chief

Director: Erica Tremblay
Short Film
Against the landscape of a rural reservation in Oklahoma, the lives of a Native woman and nine-year-old boy intersect over the course of a school day. Exhausted and burned out,...

read more

Mercury Afrograde

Director: Blanche Akonchong
Short Film
On a crazy day during mercury retrograde, a family’s deepest secrets come to the surface forcing them to realize they are not the model African family. Screening in the Twisted...

read more

Mirage

Director: Kay Barnes
Short Film
Ayana and John are the mother and father of three wonderful children, whom are growing up in a military community. John is an Army officer and Ayana is a family...

read more

Mr. Dragon

Director: Kristi Ray
Short Film
Two lovers do their last load of laundry.  Screening in the Twisted Deceiver Shorts Block.

read more

Murmur

Director: Heather Young
Narrative Features
Donna has recently been convicted of “Driving While Impaired” and is ordered to perform community service at the local animal shelter. When an elderly dog is scheduled to be euthanized,...

read more

Must Love Pie

Director: Patrick Clement
Short Film
A lonely man finds a love connection.  Screening in the Slippery Jack Shorts block.

read more

My Hero

Director: Logan Jackson
Short Film
As last-minute plans for a babysitter fall apart, eight-year-old Brandon is left alone to oversee his younger brother Mason. Screening in the Powdery Piggyback Shorts block.

read more

Negros

Director: Dorian Emerson
Short Film
Latin for the word Blacks, Negros is an experimental social justice film depicting the young black male experience in modern day Miami. The story follows James, 14, as he overcomes...

read more

Oh Dear!

Director: Delanie Gilliss
Short Film
Two hunters encounter misfortune in the woods.  Screening in the Hairy Parachute Shorts block.

read more

Origin of Hair

Director: Carrie Hawks
Short Film
Speculating about the birth of Rock n' Roll and the best curl pattern. This film explores Black queer identity and self acceptance as a pathway to personal utopia. Origin of...

read more

Pink, White & Blue

Director: Ash Malone
Short Film
After years of transitioning in front of a camera, Aydian Dowling discusses how allowing his transition to be visible via YouTube has helped the trans community as a whole grow...

read more

Powdery Piggyback Shorts

Shorts Blocks
From the fantastic to the hyper-realistic, these tales of youth finding their way has something for everyone. Touching and terrifying but also hilarious and heartwarming, these eight delightful short films...

read more

Proper Pronouns

Director: Megan Daniels
Documentary Features
Proper Pronouns tells the story of Dawn as she seeks validation in the pulpit and reconciliation in her marriage, problems she did not face when she was Duane. The film...

read more

Purple Jellydisc Shorts

Shorts Blocks
Things get weird and wild in this expansive and experimental collection of mystical, magical, and downright deadly group of visionary short films. Pulsating from deep within, these shorts bring embodiment...

read more

Real Talk

Director: Artemis Shaw
Short Film
A woman goes on a live talk show to confront a famous music producer, only to find him armed with the elusive "perfect apology." Screening in the Slippery Jack Shorts...

read more

Schroon Lake

Director: Eryka Dellenbach
Short Film
Schroon Lake is a film by Eryka Dellenbach in collaboration with performance artists Matty Davis and Ben Gould adapting their work Carriage to the 9-mile long frozen lake in the...

read more

Second Seed

Directors: Baye & Asa
Short Film
Second Seed is a dance horror film responding to D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation.  Griffith’s film is an assertion of white cultural and intellectual supremacy, a call to...

read more

Secret Convulsions #1

Host: Aaron Hillis
Narrative Features
*** COSTUMES ARE ENCOURAGED, LET'S GET WEIRD! *** Since lockdown began, "Convulsions" curator Aaron Hillis has been hosting a private screening series (#playtimewithHillis) of retro titles, but that velvet curtain...

read more

Secret Convulsions #2

Host: Aaron Hillis
Narrative Features
*** COSTUMES ARE ENCOURAGED, LET'S GET WEIRD! *** Since lockdown began, "Convulsions" curator Aaron Hillis has been hosting a private screening series (#playtimewithHillis) of retro titles, but that velvet curtain...

read more

Secret Convulsions #3

Host: Aaron Hillis
Narrative Features :: Convulsions
*** COSTUMES ARE ENCOURAGED, LET'S GET WEIRD! *** Since lockdown began, "Convulsions" curator Aaron Hillis has been hosting a private screening series (#playtimewithHillis) of retro titles, but that velvet curtain...

read more

Sin Cielo

Director: Jianna Maarten
Short Film
A young boy in a Mexican border town hustles any way he can to help his family but learns some very cruel realities when the girl he likes gets 'disappeared'....

read more

Sit Down Comedian

Director: Brent Clark
Short Film
While rehearsing his act backstage minutes before a comedy show,  quadriplegic "sit down" comedian Leo receives an unexpected phone call from his ex-girlfriend Robin. The conversation quickly turns personal, and...

read more

Sky Aelans

Directors: Edward Manuga, Georgianna Lepping, Jeremy Gwao, Regina Lepping, Zahiyd Namo, Junior Patrick Makau, Manner Levo, Neil Nuia, Daniel Kakadi
Short Film
Decades of logging have drastically changed the landscape and lifestyle of those who call the Solomon Islands home. Now, the last untouched forest of the country is at risk of...

read more

Slippery Jack Shorts

Shorts Blocks
Say that again? Who knows?! Anything goes in this puzzling mixture of romance, home improvement, sports, and restorative injustice capped out with a bit of not so sci-fi anymore drama....

read more

Squawk

Directors: Gemma Doll-Grossman, Juan Pablo Arias Muñoz
Short Film
A darkly comedic 35mm short film about the horrors of bikini waxing. Screening in the Hairy Nut Disco Shorts block.

read more

Standing Above the Clouds

Director: Jalena Keane-Lee
Short Film
Standing Above the Clouds is a story of inter-generational women activists, who call themselves Ku Kia'i Mauna, or guardians of the mountain. The film follows three sets of mothers and...

read more

Stories I Didn’t Know

Directors: Melody Gilbert, Rita Davern
Documentary Features
A search for her Irish ancestors leads a woman down an unexpected path to reveal a family secret about a sacred piece of land. Like many children of immigrants, the...

read more

Stray

Director: Wanjiru Njendu
Short Film
A murderous spirit metes out vengeance on those it believes responsible for it’s death by luring their children away. Screening in the Powdery Piggyback Shorts block.

read more

Tamales y Tunas

Director: Lucía Archila Escobar
Short Film
In the South Carolina Indigenous Guatemalan community, women face healthcare barriers that make it difficult to carry their pregnancies to term. Here, pregnant Erlinda longs for the familiar tastes of...

read more

Tampoo

Director: Zara Burdett
Short Film
A young woman on a hot date is having the worst period of her life.  A visceral, comedic, body-positive short film that demystifies taboos surrounding menstruation. Filmed over two days...

read more

tbh: u cute

Director: Bailey James
Short Film
A narrative of being a black girl in a black world, and being forced to deal with the reality of being seemingly invisible in the real one.  Screening in the...

read more

Test Pattern

Director: Shatara Michelle Ford
Narrative Features
Test Pattern follows an interracial couple whose relationship is put to the test after a Black woman is sexually assaulted and her white boyfriend drives her from hospital to hospital...

read more

The Black Baptism

Director: Stephanie Diane Ford
Short Film
Informed by a mysterious voice, an imprisoned young woman must pass a series of enigmatic tests or face a violent death as the terrifying situation unlocks a dormant power in...

read more

The Chasing of A Great Movie

Director: Jennifer Sharp
Documentary Features
When an African American woman fearlessly travels alone to Mexico to accomplish her 17-year dream of making a movie there, a town full of Mexicans help her to succeed. An...

read more

The Pandemic Chronicles

Director: Ya'Ke
Short Film
An anthology series about love and grief during quarantine. Filmed entirely during the Coronavirus Lockdown using Social Distance and Virtual Directing.  Screening in the Slippery Jack Shorts block.

read more

The Passing On

Director: Nathan Clarke
Documentary Features
Three professions ushered Black former slaves from poverty to the American dream: preacher, teacher, and undertaker. Today, renowned embalmer James Bryant puts his faith in a new generation to continue...

read more

The Price of Cheap Rent

Directors: Amina Sutton, Maya Tanaka
Short Film
An aspiring artist discusses the challenges of finding affordable housing in a new city, and the compromises she has to make with her spooky new roommates. Screening in the Hairy...

read more

The Rain Poncho

Director: Andrea Rosen
Short Film
 A day in the life of 2 moms, Kitty (a pot smoking therapist) and Rita (an inept hair cutter). They worry that their 15 year old daughter has a secret...

read more

The Rougarou

Director: Lorraine Caffery
Short Film
A father tells his daughter a cautionary tale to keep her out of trouble. Screening in the Powdery Piggyback Shorts block.

read more

Thrift Store Shampoo

Director: Tyler Baum
Short Film
A 13-Minute, 8-Song Animated Odyssey. Screening in the Weeping Toothcrust Shorts block.

read more

Tides

Director: Andre Silva
Short Film
Filmed at Masonboro Island, an undeveloped barrier island in southeastern North Carolina, “Tides” contemplates the liminal space between the modern technological world and that more ecological dimension we label as...

read more

Time of Moulting

Director: Sabrina Mertens
Narrative Features
Our after-hours "Convulsions" sidebar kicks off with Sabrina Mertens' entrancing and disturbing debut feature, set in 1970s Germany. Stephanie is a lively child who enjoys board games and playdates with...

read more

Transmission

Director: Tiara Luten
Short Film
The U.S. Government has just announced the outbreak of a deadly new disease and requires all citizens to remain in their homes. But this outbreak, we soon learn, has been...

read more

Trudie’s Goose

Directors: C. Lily Ericsson, Cheri Gaulke, Samara Hutman, Liran Kapel
Short Film
When a young girl preparing for her Bat Mitzvah, the Jewish coming-of-age ritual, befriends a Holocaust survivor elder both lives are changed forever as they journey from darkness to healing...

read more

Turf Nation

Director: Jun Bae
Short Film
Turfing is an Oakland-born dance form that combines roots in gang culture with elements of tutting, gliding and bone breaking; Turf Nation follows the street dancers perform on BART (Bay...

read more

Turquoise Elfcup Shorts

Shorts Blocks
From healing to hope and back again. This four pack of documentary shorts examines intergenerational trauma, the politics of subway dancing, Miami's Liberty City youth, and the healing power of...

read more

Twisted Deceiver Shorts

Shorts Blocks
Touching on a range of storylines and characters, from Afrofuturist visions to aching memories, this collection of shorts tosses, turns and flips around as it weaves it way from family...

read more

Two Little Boys

Director: Farbod Khoshtinat
Short Film
A boy's secret love for his closeted bully drives him into an unconventional road to confession and its consequences. Screening in the Powdery Piggyback Shorts block.

read more

Unapologetic

Director: Ashley O'Shay
Documentary Features
After two Black Chicagoans are killed, millennial organizers challenge an administration complicit in state violence against its residents. Told through the lens of Janaé and Bella, two fierce abolitionist leaders,...

read more

Weekend

Director: Ario Motevaghe
Short Film
Moniri and Kheradmand family are in park for a picnic. But after finishing their meal, it is revealed that they are here for something else. Screening in the Purple Jellydisc...

read more

Weeping Toothcrust Shorts

Shorts Blocks
Animation in every style and from every galaxy come together in this fantastical trip through thrift stores, the holocaust, the airport, and the legend of the four transgender spirits of...

read more

When the Waters Get Deep

Director: Kelly Whalen
Short Film
The Oakland musicians of SOL Development use hip-hop, jazz and soul to tell stories about the effects of policing, mass incarceration and gun violence, and the band members work to...

read more

Witches Butter Shorts

Shorts Blocks
Magical and mesmerizing, this pairing of dance films honors the festival's tradition of showcasing bold new work that breaks the mold and takes the merging of cinema and choreography to...

read more

Zibi Yajdan / The River Tells It

Directors: Brit Hensel, Taylor Hensel
Short Film
Zibi Yajdan tells the story of the Kalamazoo River and her relationship to the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Pottawatomi people (Gun Lake Tribe) in the wake of the Enbridge Pipeline 6B oil spill....

read more