Cucalorus 21 – Connecting Artists and Entrepreneurs Over Bonfires and Bourbon


Cucalorus 21 took over downtown Wilmington, North Carolina earlier this month with a five-day movie marathon and spirited social schedule dedicated to capturing creativity and innovation. From November 11-15, 2015, Cucalorus attendees chose from 153 separate events, including film screenings, speakers, panels, workshops, parties and interactive installations.

The Visual/Sound/Walls opening night party. Photo by Saben Kane.

Audience members experience 37 music videos on a dozen screens at the Visual/Sound/Walls opening night party. Photo by Saben Kane.

Cucalorus 21 enjoyed a record accumulated attendance of 17,630 (up 11.9% from 2014). The diverse film lineup featured 269 selections from 27 countries, including 38 narrative features, 15 documentary features, 174 shorts, 37 music videos and 5 projects in the Works-in-Progress Lab. The five most attended events at Cucalorus were the world premiere of Christopher Everett’s documentary Wilmington On Fire; opening night performance Dance-a-lorus; Eshom and Ian Nelms’ Waffle Street (starring One Tree Hill’s James Lafferty); Onur Tukel’s eccentric comedy Applesauce; and John Goldschmidt’s warmhearted drama Dough. Wilmington on Fire and Applesauce both earned Buzz Repeat screenings on the last night of the festival. Special programs like Visual/Sound/Walls, The Bus to Lumberton, Cuctails and a slew of social events rounded out the offerings.

Cucalorus CONNECT launched with an ambitious line-up of events dedicated to entrepreneurs, start-ups, technology and capital. Daily keynotes and Port City Pitches presented insights from established leaders and enthusiastic startups, with afternoon panels covering current topics including the Internet of Things, women in technology, brewing and distilling and virtual reality. CONNECT programming allowed entrepreneurs and filmmakers to discover common ground and share ideas, a goal for Brawley, UNCW, TekMountain and other organizers who became deeply invested in CONNECT’s debut.

“Cucalorus took a bold leap this year,” said Executive Director Dan Brawley. “We re-focused our efforts on exploring the future – of entertainment and business and even the festival itself. The seeds we planted 10 and 20 years ago turned out to be humans with bright minds and bold ideas. They’ve become a family of creatives who are deeply invested in our ongoing experiment in community-building and have transformed the face of Cucalorus.”

Cucalorus was recently named one of the “Top 25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World, 2015” by MovieMaker Magazine for the third consecutive year. View the full Cucalorus 21 lineup here.