Cuca-Lore: History of the Cucalorus Film Festival


This year is the Cucalorus Film Festival’s Sweet 16. True to form, she is demanding a big, fancy party loaded with excess and goodies (in the form of fabulous filmmaking). Launched in 1994, the festival was originally held in the spring but switched to a fall schedule in 2006. Since its inaugural festival, Cucalorus has been making headlines, quickly becoming a must for up-and-coming filmmakers to gain exposure and share popcorn with industry leaders.

1996- Dan Brawley is named the festival’s first director.
1997- Legend in cinematography Jack Cardiff arrives to present “The Red Shoes”.
2000- “Dolphins” is screened on the deck of the battleship USS North Carolina.
2001- Indie darling “George Washington” was David Gordon Green’s first time directing and the hit of Cucalorus 7.
2002- Jodie Foster’s project “The Dangerous Lives of Alter Boys” films in Wilmington and packs seats at the festival.
2003- It’s the year for documentaries as “Schooling Jewel”, “The Backyard”, and “Home Movie” take center stage.
2004- Gus Van Sant and his baby,”Elephant”, are Cucalorus 10 highlights, along with “Killer Diller”, a thriller based on Wilmington author Clyde Edgerton’s novel.
2006- TIME Magazine includes Cucalorus in its article“Culture: Film Festivals for the Rest of Us”. The festival switches to a fall schedule for the first time, moving to Thalian Hall.
2007- Festival faves “Taxi to the Dark Side” and “Freeheld” win Academy Awards for Best Documentary Feature and Best Documentary Short.
2009- The Biggest Year So Far!!!! Moviemaker Magazine dubs Cucalorus one of the “Top 25 Coolest Festivals” and the Brooks Institute names it one of the Top 10 Film Festivals in the US. Four of the screened films collect a total of 10 Academy Award nods.
2010 has potential to be the biggest festival to date. Be there as Cucalorus blows out her sixteen candles this fall!!!