Submit to the Cucalorus Festival

The 25th annual Cucalorus Festival takes place November 13-17, 2019 in downtown Wilmington, North Carolina. Known for its gorgeous riverside setting and its laid-back, rock n’ roll atmosphere, the non-competitive festival showcases more than 150 films from all over the world, a diverse selection of Stage performances and Connect Conference events. Cucalorus attracts an accumulated audience of over 19,000 cultural travelers who come to celebrate art and connect with peers. The festival’s spirited celebration has been recognized as a breeding ground for young artists, new ideas, and lifelong friendships.



Submissions made through Film Freeway are considered for a wide range of festival programs focusing on emerging and innovative filmmakers, North Carolina artists, social justice, student films, films by youth, shorts, and international cinema. The festival strives to showcase diverse, international artists of all ages, genders, races, economics, hairstyles, religions, and backgrounds.



We’re looking for original performances and productions: standup, storytelling, music, cabaret, theatre, comedy, happenings, installations, live art, and more! Creative crowd surfing encouraged. Submit your performances here!


The catalyst to Cucalorus Connect is the digital transformation that has changed the ways we live, work, and play. Through panel discussions, workshops, and speeches, innovative entrepreneurs and thought-leaders explore the impact of the digital transformation on the ways we manufacture and use products, consume services, and live and work in a world of always connected devices. Submit here!

Frequently Asked Questions

Are you serious about sending in an extra creative component?
Quite. But it’s just for good fun. Take your best crack at it. This is what keeps us going in the wee hours of the night.
Should I send my film to Cucalorus?
We encourage all filmmakers to send us their work. Anything goes! All films are screened by a dedicated team of screeners and programmers, made up of accomplished filmmakers, industry professionals, artists, the occasional preacher and one socialist realtor. We accept student films, funny films, erotic films, political films, experimental films, fancy big-money films, and backyard duct-tape films. Anything you can hide on the internet, send us the link. Even though we don’t give awards (see below), only one in every ten films get into the festival – so send us your best stuff and be nice to us because we have to watch a lot of movies and we love you.
Why doesn't Cucalorus give out awards?
Cucalorus says: competition sucks. It often takes hundreds of people to make a film, so why does one guy get the little statue? Ideas shouldn’t be owned by people, and people shouldn’t be singled out and ordered in a hierarchy. In order to create an open environment, where ideas are exchanged freely, Cucalorus avoids the competitive tension so prevalent at other fests. Laid back and low down rule the day in Cucaloria.
How can I get my film into Cucalorus?
Make a good film. Keep making them, and keep sending us links.
Where is Cucalorus?
Cucalorus takes place in historic downtown Wilmington. Most festival events are within walking distance of each other, helping to ward off movie-butt syndrome. Wilmington is home to EUE Screen Gems studios, an unruly lot of indie filmmakers, and a thriving, progressive arts community.
When should I submit my film?
Cucalorus accepts submissions on a rolling basis. We use our submission base year round in scheduling Jengo’s screenings and for our festival line-up. Submit your film as soon as you’ve finished it. Download whatever entry form is on our site (even if it has old dates and stuff on it. We live at the beach, where everything’s cool all the time.)
Do you accept student films?
Can I submit a 'rough-cut'?
Absolutely. Send your film in and then send in newer versions as you make changes. This happens all the time, just make sure to note that it is a rough cut.
What does 'Works-In-Progress' entail?
The Works-in-Progress Lab (WiP) offers filmmakers at all stages of production an opportunity to showcase their films in a workshop-style setting. WiP focuses on strengthening community impact of documentaries about social justice with an emphasis on supporting the development of African American filmmakers. WiP supports filmmakers through developing engagement strategies through an immersive residency, taking place before and during the festival. Five filmmakers receive extensive community feedback during a week of screenings, workshops, and outreach. The 2016 program provided direct financial support through honorariums, travel stipends, lodging, airfare and rental fees. WiP includes community engagement events, public and private screenings, impact strategy sessions, and one-on-one consultations.
What if I have another question?
Not finding the answer you need? No problem. Contact Rachel Taylor, Programming Coordinator. Or visit our staff page for the full directory.