Submit a Film

  • Early Deadline: May 10  [Fee: $25]
  • Regular Deadline: June 7  [Fee: $35]
  • Late Deadline: July 12  [Fee: $45]
  • Extended Deadline: August 2 [Fee: $55]
  • Cucalorus Festival: Nov 7-11, 2018

Submissions have ended for Cuc24. Please check back in December to submit for Cuc25!

One of the Coolest Film Festivals in the World — MovieMaker Magazine 2013, 2014, 2015
50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee — MovieMaker Magazine 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018

We made the list! AGAIN! Check us out on MovieMaker’s list of 50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee, 2018!

Cucalorus Film Festival showcases bold and innovative new works in cinema, a beguiling mix of indie hits, international treasures and regional classics. Submissions are accepted all year and almost anything goes. There are no time limits or specific genres for film submissions – if you make it, we take it – from features to shorts, music videos, web series, tv commercials, branded content, and beyond. Films must have been completed within the past two years, and films with world premieres before November 2017 are not eligible. All films must be Wilmington, NC premieres to qualify. If you have questions about your eligibility, please contact our programming team.

Submission Requirements

1.  Completed entry form for each submission via FilmFreeway, Withoutabox or Online Entry Form. (screener links only, NO DVDs!)

2.  The applicable entry fee paid via FilmFreeway, Withoutabox, Paypal, or check

3.  Send us a photo or drawing of the best thing in your closet (literal, figurative, dreamed up, criminal, etc.) Yes, we’re serious. Have fun with it!    **disclaimer** – we may post this on social media!!

Please send all packages, checks, toys, drawings, baby goats, and photos to:
Cucalorus Submissions
Jengo’s Playhouse
815 Princess Street
Wilmington, NC 28401

Exceptions // Payments // Refunds

  • There are no exceptions to these deadlines or fees, except when we make exceptions!
  • Please make all fees payable to Cucalorus.
  • Entry fees are non-refundable.
  • There are no entry fees for residents of the City of Wilmington.
  • Cucalorus endorses irrational behavior, generally.


Cucalorus Film Festival Programs

Submissions made through Film Freeway, Withoutabox or our online form 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.


Magnolia: The Magnolia program showcases crowd-pleasing fare from romantic comedies to timely documentaries and includes award winners from the festival circuit.

Vanguard: The Vanguard program supports breathtaking works from pioneering filmmakers with a focus on female directors and producers.

Voices: The Voices program showcases films about social justice by artists working in the US South. Filmmakers work with ROOTS facilitators to organize community engagement events (25 free screenings were held in 2017) reaching distinct audiences like students from local ESL programs and young African-American men from the LITE Manhood program.

Convulsions: The Convulsions program presents a curated selection of horror and genre films – cinematic visions for the late-night crowd.

Works-in-Progress: The Works-in-Progress Lab (WiP) focuses on strengthening the community impact of documentaries about social justice and supporting the development of African American filmmakers. Cucalorus accepts submissions from African-American filmmakers working on social justice documentaries at various stages in the production process. WiP includes community engagement events, public and private screenings, impact strategy sessions, and one-on-one consultations.

Shorties: Cucalorus presents more than 180 shorts each year organized into 15 thematic blocks with funky names like Barn Door Shorts, Beefy Baby Shorts, and Mickey Moles Shorts (different terms used in film production, especially lighting,  were used in 2017!). Thematic blocks follow threads like dance, comedy, youth and animation, but also have more open-ended cues like tough, dark, and say?what!. Cucalorus provides equal financial support to feature and shorts filmmakers.