The 23rd annual Cucalorus Festival takes place November 8-12, 2017 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 300 films from all over the world, a diverse selection

of Stage performances, and over 50 Connect Conference events. Cucalorus attracts an accumulated audience of over 17,800 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. FAQ's  










  Early / June 1 / $25

  Regular / June 22 / $35

  Late / July 13 / $45

 | Film Freeway | Withoutabox |  

  | Entry Form + Submit Fee |


 **Dance-a-lorus applications are still being accepted!



  Early / June 1 / $25

  Regular / June 22 / $35

  Notifications / July 13

  Confirmations /  July 27


  Regular / July 21

  Late / July 27



  | Entry Form + Submit Fee |  





  Early / June 1 / $25

  Regular / June 22 / $35

  Late / July 13 / $45


  | Entry Form + Submit Fee | 





  Regular / June 1                 


  Submissions Closed




  Regular / June 2 / $25

  Late / June 23 / $35


  | Entry Form + Submit Fee |
























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
     (payable to Cucalorus Film Foundation)
3.  Send us your late night bathroom selfie. (**disclaimer** - we may post this on social media!!)
     Yes, we're serious. Have fun with it!

 ***If you are interested to Cucalorus Stage, please read over our Submission Guidelines before applying***

Please send all packages, checks, toys, baby goats, and selfies to:

Cucalorus Submissions

Jengo's Playhouse

815 Princess Street

Wilmington, NC 28401



1. There are no exceptions to these deadlines or fees, except when we make exceptions!
2. Please make all fees payable to Cucalorus Film Foundation.
3. Entry fees are non-refundable.
4. There are no entry fees for residents of the City of Wilmington.
5. Bribes are welcomed and encouraged.
6. Cucalorus endorses reckless behavior, generally.

Program partickulations


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.

Music Videos : featured in our Visual/Sound/Walls program. V/S/W is an eye-popping, ear-pleasuring immersive experience of music videos projected onto a dozen screens at our opening night party. How can you jump on this??? Just make a music video and send it to us. Booom. No really, send us your music video, we really really wanna see it.

Youth Films Youth films is a showcase of short films made by youth or made for youth. Films in this category must be appropriate for ages 9 and up. The Youth program provides a unique opportunity to celebrate the artistic achievements of young artists and promotes the appreciation of filmmaking as a critical tool for self-expression and personal growth.

Works-in-Progress: The Works-in-Progress Lab (WiP) focuses on strengthening 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 supports filmmakers through developing engagement strategies through an immersive residency, taking place before and during Cucalorus Film Festival. Filmmakers receive extensive community feedback during a week of screenings, workshops, and outreach. The 2017 program will showcase five projects and provide direct financial support to filmmakers 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.

Virtual Reality : Cucalorus features a wild splattering of curated and tested virtual reality experiences. We accept VR shorts under 20 minutes, accessible on common headsets - submit those via the film entry form. If you are interested in submitting a game demo, work-in-progress or new type of VR gear, contact Natalie.



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 theatrical wonders here.

Theatre/Performance/Comedy/Music: Solo shows, folk bands, durational performance art, harry potter improv, autobiographical performative installations: the opportunities are endless. Works 75 mins & under, new works, and low-tech performances are particularly encouraged. But we welcome all applications. Past years has seen smutty comedy songstresses, drunk feminist storytelling, live-scored documentary shorts, and transcentenal underground bands gracing the Cucalorus Stage. 

Dance-a-lorus: Most well-attended festival favourite! Dance companies performing new works, merge choreography and film onstage. Launched in 2005 through a partnership with local choreographer’s collective the Dance Cooperative, Dance-a-lorus includes a live showcase of new works, a series of master classes, and a curated program of dance films. The culminating performance serves as the opening night event for the annual Cucalorus Film Festival.  The live performance event of the Dance-a-lorus program combines a choreographed dance with a film component. All other dance-related films are submitted under FILM.

Bus to Lumberton: A Cucalorus tradition, Bus To Lumberton is an interactive performance installation inspired by David Lynch’s Blue Velvet, which was filmed in Wilmington. One of the most off-the-wall Cucalorus events (which is saying something), folks interested in submitting an idea for Bus To Lumberton should send a one-page proposal to Thea.

Emcees: Our Emcees are the rainbow sprinkles on the cupcake that is Cucalorus. They open for most films and events, warming up the crowd, introducing films, and running talk backs in a variety of creative ways. Past emcees have included musical comedians, beat poets, cathartic clowns, cannibalistic performance artists, and one mime.

  ***If you are interested to Cucalorus Stage, please read over our Submission Guidelines before applying***



Connect brings leaders from prominent NC industries together to cultivate meaningful relationships driven by creativity and innovation. It explores industries like marine sciences, healthcare, film production, financial services, and others through the lens of technology and education. Connect serves as a catalyst for economic development by showcasing the unique assets that make the city of Wilmington, NC an ideal location to launch and grow a new business. The Connect conference provides thought-leaders, aspiring entrepreneurs, students and community partners a platform to cultivate powerful relationships across entrepreneurial communities.Connect broadens access to talent, investment and networks to inspire existing and future entrepreneurial efforts; transforming great ideas into scalable and impactful business. Apply here!

10x10: Introduces young creatives to emerging businesses and showcases our growing community of entrepreneurs through film. The 10 x10 program pairs ten filmmakers with ten entrepreneurs and challenges them to make a video together during the week of the Cucalorus Film Festival. Final vids are screened for audiences on the last day of the festival. Interested filmmakers and entrepreneurs can apply here.



Frequently Asked Questions from Filmmakers

Are you serious about sending in a late night bathroom selfie?
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 Natalie Lentz, Senior Programming Associate. Or visit our staff page for the full directory.