Cucalorus Film Foundation

Staff / Board / Volunteer / Ambassadors
Jengo's Playhouse
815 Princess Street
Wilmington, NC 28401
910.343.5995 

executive director: dan brawley
 
managing director: jill tefft
development "at" cucalorus.org 
 
sponsorship coordinator: joey toler
sponsors "at" cucalorus.org
 
senior programming associate: natalie lentz
programming "at" cucalorus.org
 
lounge queen & lead shorts programmer: carolyn maher
carolyn "at" cucalorus.org
 
operations manager: channing duke
operations "at" cucalorus.org
 
technical director: thomas bruchs
 
travel coordinator: kadia scott
travel "at" cucalorus.org
 
connect programming coordinator: liz marion
connect "at" cucalorus.org
 
communications coordinator: becca ederer
comm "at" cucalorus.org
 
box office manager: withrow newell
 
cucalorus mascot: izzie
izzie "at" cucalorus.org
 
programming intern: hugh carr
 
operations intern: nate cook
 

Volunteer Opportunities

Open Staff Positions


 
Cucalorus Staff
 

dan brawley, chief instigating officer
danny boy was born in wilmington and watches too many movies. dan wanders around the world for about 4 months each year - mostly going to film festivals and conferences about social justice and culture. the brawler lives inside of the growing artist village with no name in downtown wilmington - two historic houses, a cabin, and twelve studios - with a micro-cinema, a garden with lots of weeds, and an enchanting collection of strange peoples and things. saint 43 has a dog named izzie. they walk a lot.
 
 
 
jill tefft, managing director

Jill has been involved in Cucalorus for six years and is excited to take on the role of Managing Director this year. Jill has worn many hats at the festival including Development Director, Box Office Manager, and Engagement Coordinator. Most recently she has been serving as a member of the Board of Trustees. Jill really gets excited about the programming process and programs documentary films. She has a background in fundraising, community engagement, and youth development. Originally from a small town in upstate New York, Jill holds a MA in Theatre from Illinois State University. Oh yeah and she loves her husband, two crazy doggies, and new baby Philip very much! 

 

 

natalie lentz, senior programming associate

Natalie blends together enthusiasm for art, film, and people to curate a delicious experience for the Cuc' masses. With a Master's in Interior Architecture and Exhibit Design, she enjoys creating the visual experience. Lentz gravitates toward highly stylized forms and is intrigued by myriad of media forms. Exploring the relationship between image and music and playing with texture, color, and pattern inspires her never-ending creative work.

 

 

 

 

 carolyn maher, lounge queen & lead shorts programmer

Carolyn is a Brooklyn-based filmmaker and perennial Cucalorus cohort. After volunteering for the festival in 2006, Carolyn went on to work for Cucalorus while completing her degree from UNCW in Film Studies. Since graduating and migrating north, she worked for a commercial post house before joining the team of One Glass Video, a nimble short form production company. Carolyn spends much of her time immersed in a range of independent film projects and expounding on the virtues of porches. The Maher family motto is “in periculis audax” which means bold in danger.

 

 

 

channing duke, operations manager
Channing is a CFCC graduate and current UNCW film studies student. This is her fourth year on staff at Cucalorus. A self-proclaimed mad scientist and outer space enthusiast, in her off time, Duke works on local film productions and is designing her own international space station.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

thomas bruchs. technical director

Tom moved to Wilmington after a 30 year career at Dolby Laboratories where he worked in the technical arena focused on the development of film creation tools and presentation. Tom has worked numerous film festivals lending his expertise to bringing the filmmakers picture and sound to perfection.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

becca ederer, communications coordinator

Becca, a UNCW film studies graduate, is working her first year with Cucalorus. She loves all types of movies from Film Noir to Bollywood, and can often be found exploring the outdoors. After jumping out of several planes in South America, she hopes to one day have her skydiving license. Strike up a conversation and she'll never stop talking, because she is your biggest fan!

 

 

 

kadia scott, travel coodinator

Kadia has a background in Public Relations and event planning and has spent the past few years working on dance events all over the South East. This is Kadia's second year working for Cucalorus and she is super excited to get all the people to all the places! When she's not logistical guru, Kadia spends most of her time reading comics, watching movies, and paying way too much attention to pop culture.

 

 

 

joey toler, sponsorship coordinator

Joey Toler is new to Cucalorus, but not new to working in the arts. Having just relocated to Wilmington after 3 tries in 10 years to be with his significant other, he leaves behind a job as Executive Director of the Beaufort County Arts Council in Washington, NC where he developed relationships with arts leaders across the state. He hopes that some of this experience will come into play in his new role with Cucalorus, and is very happy to be in a new environment with new challenges. He is especially excited about not being in charge.

 

 

  

withrow newell, box office manager

Withrow is a devout believer in the power of a ticket. For the last decade, he has lived his life by the motto “a ticket is a receipt for a memory you haven't made yet” and has been helping create memories ever since. If you think his face looks familiar….. it is. He has held/holds ticketing staff positions at film and music festivals throughout the Deep South and Southeast. In his free time, he enjoys sketchy bus rides and being a bicycle hipster.

 

  

izzie, cucalorus mascot
Recently relocated from a no-kill animal resort on the outskirts of Conway, South Carolina, Izzie is a Mini-Pin and Spaniel mix with a few unknown ancestral lines. Izzie works diligently to maintain staff morale by licking hands, faces, and other places.  You can find her chewing sticks, practicing her stunt dog tricks, and looking out the window.    
 
 
 
 
nate cook, operations intern
Nate Cook is currently a student in the Film and Video Production Technology program at Cape Fear Community College. His professional background consist of creating online video content. Nate has had his work featured on AOL, Yahoo, MSN, Daily Mail, Associated Press, Microsoft Limited, ABC Startsiden, Borgis A.S., Bellum Entertainment, October Films, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. Nate enjoys writing, finding new ways to create online video content and has a wide variety of interests including comedy in all forms, obscure film and music, and obscure people and social groups.
 
 
hugh carr, programming intern
Hugh Carr is a current student at the University of North Carolina Wilmington majoring in Film Studies. Originally from a small town in Maryland, this is his first time working with Cucalorus. Hugh enjoys traveling, cooking, and making skit comedy. He plans to pursue his goal of becoming a director and actor after he graduates.
 
 
 
 

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.
 
 
 
Sue Meier, President
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!
 
 
 
Jill Tefft, Treasurer

Originally from a small town in upstate New York, Jill Tefft holds a MA in Theatre from Illinois State University. This is Tefft's fourth year on staff at the festival. As Development Director for Cuc' 19 Tefft will head up a variety of projects, including sponsorships, grants, and youth programs. Most days, she can be found in the office deep in conversation with Izzie. In her free time, Tefft enjoys drinking coffee, auditioning for local film productions, and playing with her miniature dachshund Buddy (sometimes all at the same time!).

  

Hillary Meinheit, Secretary
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.  

 

Dylan Lee, Past 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.

 

Beth Steelman
A Wilmington native, Beth Steelman kept a movie scrapbook when she was growing up. After graduating from Salem College (majoring in psycology and Spanish), Steelman worked as a newspaper reporter, a Girl Scout communications director, a public relations consultant and a fundraiser for various non-profits. She and her husband Ben have traveled to six of the seven continnets. Her family home in Carolina place is available for location shooting, in case anybody's interested.

 
 
Dana Cook
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. 
 
 
 

Bo Webb
Bo Webb has been involved with Cucalorus since it began in 1994, and was one of the original members of Twinkle Doon, a group of friends and filmmakers who thought a festival would be a good idea for Wilmington. He's been on the Cucalorus Board for many years in various roles, including Chair. He works in the film business as a camera operator and director. 

 
 
 
Rob Hill
Rob Hill majored in Motion Picture and Television Production at the University of Southern Colorado. With a small grant in 1999, he produced, directed, and edited the non-fiction film Live In It To Win It. Hill founded Common Sense Films, the company behind his Emmy-nominated documentary, The Fort Fisher Hermit: The Life and Death of Robert E. Harrill. The film also won Best Documentary Feature at the Hollywood Film Festival and is distributed nationally. The National Academy of Television Science nominated Hill for the prestigious Rising Star Award in 2007. 
 
 
Aaron Hillis
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.
 
 

 

Ingrid Veninger

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.

 
 
 
Dave Monahan
Dave Monahan is a filmmaker and teacher. He is the co-author of Looking At Movies, an intro to film textbook published by W.W. Norton & Co., and serves as the chair of the Film Studies department at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.
 
 
 
 
 
Jim O'Brien

Jim O’Brien is an entertainment and business lawyer with Poyner Spruill LLP. O'Brien is the preeminent independent film lawyer in North Carolina and represents clients in many other aspects of the entertainment industry. He also has a significant corporate and general business practice and serves as outside general counsel to many established and emerging growth companies in various industries. O'Brien is serving his second term on the North Carolina Governor’s Film Council and may be reached at jobrien@poyners.com, 910.343.3434 in Wilmington or 919.783.1120 in Raleigh.  

 
 
Mike Duncan

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.

 

 
 

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. 

 
 

Omari Fox
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. 

 

Maurice Martinez
Maurice M. Martinez, Ph.D. is a Renaissance man. A Creole New Orleans-born poet, photographer, educator (51 years in the classroom), musician and filmmaker, he is a retired Professor Emeritus at UNCW. A protégé of poet Langston Hughes, Dr. Martinez is steeped in African American culture through both his heritage and scholarly endeavors. He has produced and directed 36 documentary films. For a more details, visit his website at www.DoorKnobFilms.com.

 

Johnny Griffin
Johnny Griffin has been the Director of the Wilmington Regional Film Commission, Inc. for 15 years. Prior to joining the film commission, he worked as a Location Manager in the film and television industry for 14 years. His list of credits include the films Crime of the Heart, Glory, Rambling Rose, Die Hard With A Vengeance, Ace Ventura - When Nature Calls, Renaissance Man, 28 Days, and the television series Matlock. He is currently a Certified Film Commissioner with the Association of Film Commissioners International. Prior to moving to Wilmington in 1985, he attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Radio, Television, and Motion Pictures. 

Phil Bartos
Phil is the CEO of NarraSoft. NarraSoft is a 60-person digital studio based in Manila and focused on software development, mobile apps and 3D art & animation. They have a small growing practice serving the film & television industries with digital post-production services. Phil also serves on the board of the NC Museum of Life and Sciences in Durham, NC. Phil lives in Cary with his wife, Tonya, and their two daughters, Britney and Kaitlyn.

 

Margee Herring
Margee is an accredited PR consultant, representing clients throughout the Carolinas. A fan of Cucalorus early on, she served as PR advisor in 2008, and as periodic volunteer support for the festival’s outreach coordinators cultivating audiences, particularly profiled and well-suited for filmmakers and screenings. Convinced Cucalorus is on its way to being Wilmington’s brand ambassador for the 21st Century, she’s eager to make sure others agree.

 

Susi Hamilton

Sean Ahlum

Jackie Olive

   


Ambassadors Council


Hope Dickson Leach
Hope Dickerson Leach completed her MFA in filmmaking at Columbia University. Her award-winning thesis film The Dawn Chorus was selected for Sundance, Edinburgh, London, and many other festivals. Since her return to the UK she has made further acclaimed short works for Channel 4, Film London, the UKFC, and the National Theatre of Scotland. She is currently developing several feature films about strong crazy women and a cross-media project about celebrity culture.

 

Geoff Marslett
Geoff Marslett is a native Texan who took a circuitous path to filmmaking, studying mathematics, philosophy, art, science, and languages at St. John’s College before returning to Texas to pursue an MFA in filmmaking at UT (2001). His critically acclaimed Monkey vs. Robot screened at over 25 festivals worldwide, was distributed theatrically, and broadcast on HBO, PBS, and Univision.
 
  
 

Josephine Decker
Josephine Decker is a Brooklyn-based performer and filmmaker. A magical realist at heart, she attempts to navigate the wavering sea-tide between fish-heads and teddy bears--always aiming for the truth. Her performance art has received national  coverage, and her feature doc Bi The Way, exploring the rise of bisexuality in America and available on Logo and Netflix, screened at SXSW, Silverdocs, and about 100 festivals worldwide.

 

Alfredo Covelli

Based out of Rome, Alfredo Covelli is an Italian screenwriter of features and TV series. During the last three years he has been directing films (any lengths, any genres—comedy, docs, experimental) shot in Italy, Israel, Palestine, Himalayas, and California. These films have been selected in 30 countries, in more than 150 festivals, winning a few awards in the U.S. Covelli is the founder of newborn Meproducodasolo production company, and he's producing films of new valiant and independent talents. 

 

 

 

Ya'Ke Smith

Known for his unflinching and veracious style of storytelling, Ya'ke Smith is a rising voice in independent cinema. His films have received world-wide acclaim, screening and winning awards at over 80 film festivals, including The Cannes International Film Festival, The Austin Film Festival, and The Urbanworld Film Festival. He is the recipient of a Director’s Guild of America Student Film Award, a regional Student Academy Award and an HBO Short Film Award. His short, Katrina’s Son, was eligible for the 2012 Academy Award in short filmmaking.

 

 

Adam Donaghey

Adam Donaghey, founder of Zero Trans Fat Prods., is an award-winning independent film producer from Texas. His work has been nominated for both the Independent Spirit and Gotham Awards, and has been showcased at fests including Sundance, Berlinale, SXSW, Sitges, LA Film Festival, AFI Fest, Hamptons Int’l Film Festival and Thessaloniki; and via distributors including IFC Films, Factory 25, XLRator Media, Cinetic Media, Fandor, Gathr, the Lifetime Channel and the Lifetime Movie Network.

  

 


 

Volunteer Opportunities

 Cucalorus is made possible by an enormous volunteer staff. Each year hundreds of brilliant and talented people like you devote hours and hours to make the annual festival a truly unique and southern experience. To join the Cucalorus Family of dysfunktional spirits throw your 'deets' into this volunteer application. If you have any questions, email Channing at operations@cucalorus.org or give us a holler at 910-343-5995.

Open Seasonal Contract Positions

Seasonal Contract positions are part time positions that begin over the summer and run through the 22nd annual Cucalorus Film Festival and Connect Conference taking place November 9-13, 2016.       

Technical Coordinator
The Technical Coordinator works closely with the Operations Manager and Technical Director to coordinate all technical equipment, festival venues and the technical staff for the film festival. This includes the set-up and breakdown for approximately fifteen festival venues. The Technical Coordinator will work with the Operations Manager to oversee and manage technical staff and volunteers including the print traffic coordinator, media manager, technical assistants, projectionists and projection assistants. This position requires knowledge to troubleshoot any technical issues that may occur and assists with scheduling technical staff. An excellent understanding of projection equipment, audio, aspect ratios, file exporting, Adobe Premiere, Adobe Media Encoder, and screening formats is required. Previous experience with film presentation is required. This position can become a promotion to Technical Manager for Cucalorus 23 if the selected candidate is successful in the position as Technical Coordinator for Cucalorus 22.
 
Volunteer Coordinator 
The volunteer coordinator is responsible for the recruitment, scheduling, and training of over two hundred volunteers that support the festival each year. The volunteer coordinator will maintain contact with previous volunteers, seek out new volunteers and organize volunteer recruitment meetings, training sessions, and informational events. This position will work closely with the operations manager and other festival staff to identify and fill volunteer needs. Applicants should be proficient in Excel and the mac operating system. This position requires knowledge of or willingness to learn FileMaker Pro database software. The ideal candidate will have exemplary communication and organizational skills and an attention to detail. 
 
Social Events Coordinator
The Social Events Coordinator manages all social events: the Opening Night Reception, Midnite Brunch, Jengo’s Backyard and various other parties. The Special Events Coordinator oversees arrival, setup, décor, maintenance, breakdown, and cleaning for each event venue. Must be able to manage volunteers, work as a liaison with venue staff, and work with caterers, sponsors and outside vendors. These are large-scale events, some with more than 300 attendees. The Social Events Coordinator will work with other key staff to plan food, entertainment, bar options, and guest lists for each event and venue. The ideal candidate will be extremely detail oriented and excel at communicating. 
 
Special Programs Coordinator
The Special Programs Coordinator provides support for festival events that aren’t film screenings –Dance-a-lorus, Visual/Sound/Walls, Bus to Lumberton, panels, workshops, and any other special performances! You should be organized and detail-oriented.  Leading up to the festival, the Special Programs Coordinator works as festival liaison with artists, venue staff, and festival volunteers to plan each event. During the festival, the Special Programs Coordinator will be onsite during each special program to provide support and ensure the event goes smoothly.
 

TO APPLY: email jill tefft