“A Song for Imogene” set to open the 29th annual Cucalorus Film Festival


Wilmington, NC- Cucalorus curators are excited to announce that the opening night film for this year’s 29th annual Cucalorus Film Festival will be the NC-produced feature A Song for Imogene from female-led, mission-focused production company Honey Head Films. Featuring a standout performance from Kristi Ray and written & directed by Erika Arlee, the film will kick off this year’s 29th annual Cucalorus Film Festival on Wednesday, November 15 at 7:30pm at Thalian Hall.


Erika Arlee and Kristi Ray share, “With this film, we wanted to explore women’s issues but in a landscape and region that is often overlooked in traditional cinema. As native North Carolinians, oftentimes, we see our region portrayed inauthentically in cinema with actors performing nothing more than a caricature of what the rest of the world thinks is ‘Southern.’”


Three additional features have been announced. In Black Barbie: A Documentary, filmmaker Lagueria Davis charts the origins and rise of the most iconic girl’s toy brand of all time, largely through the eyes of her aunt and 45-year Mattel employee Beulah Mae Mitchell. Revealing how inclusivity has often only been implemented to generate profits and how that impacts the lives of Black girls, the film offers fresh new insights on the intersection between representation, race, progress and play. Davis brought Black Barbie to Cucalorus in 2019 as part of the festival’s project development program—the “Works-in-Progress Lab” (WiP), facilitated by Working Films.

One of SXSW 2023’s standout visions, This Closeness confirms the multi-hyphenate talent of Kit Zuahar, who writes, directs and stars in her seriocomic follow-up to Actual People. Unfolding over a high school reunion weekend in Philadelphia, this razor-sharp study in modern manners and sexual angst sees tensions bubble as a young couple is inadvertently forced to share space with an awkward rental host.

Fresh off its premieres at Rotterdam and Tribeca, Georden West’s raucous debut Playland: A Queer Fantasia defies easy categorization to resurrect the ghosts of Boston’s oldest and most notorious gay hangout. Blending archival multimedia with decadently shot vignettes inside a replica of the eponymous café, history flirts and dances with fantasy over one enigmatic, time-bending requiem of an evening.

Continuing to push the boundaries of traditional cinema, Cucalorus and the Dance Cooperative join forces for Dance-a-lorus on Thursday, November 16 at 7:30pm on the main stage at Thalian Hall. Fusing film with stage composition, the beloved annual showcase includes Wilmington’s top choreographers and filmmakers, along with innovative fleet-footed artists traveling from New York, Miami and beyond.


Save $100 off the regular price of an all-access Pegasorus pass until August 27, 2023. The Pegasorus pass gets access to all screenings and invites to all the super saucy parties. The full lineup of films will be announced in September. Log on at cucalorus.eventive.org for updates and sign up for our email newsletter at cucalorus.org to stay updated on all Cucalorus Film Foundation festivals and programs.