Cucalorus and Working Films Announce 2021 Works-in-Progress Lab


The Works-in-Progress Lab (WiP) is a partnership between Cucalorus and Working Films that supports the audience engagement and distribution strategies of social issue documentaries being made by Black/African American filmmakers. The week-long immersive in-person residency will be held September 27- October 2 on the Cucalorus Creative Campus located in the Soda Pop district downtown Wilmington. Five filmmaking teams will receive extensive community feedback during a series of public and private screenings, workshops, and one-on-one consultations with expert mentors.

We’re thrilled to announce that the following films have been selected for the 2021 WiP lab:

  • Humble in the Jungle, directed by Ricky Kelly follows the life Michael Small aka “Mike Gee”, an unassuming licensed plumber and family man who shows humility and astounding work ethic by continuing to work full time as a plumber while performing with The Jungle Brothers, a group known as pioneers of the fusion of jazz, hip-hop, and house music.
  • Little Sallie Walker, directed by Marta Effinger-Crichlow tells the story of Black girls play across generations, through the eyes of Patricia, Billie Jean, Raisha, and Kristi, who instinctively understood that coming-of-age in America involved creating and cultivating worlds-of-make-believe through different types of play.
  • Duality: A Collection of Afro Indigenous Perspectives, directed by Fredrick Murphy and Kimberly M. Knight is a collection of experiences by individuals who identify as Afro Indigenous from various tribes across the United States.  The film explores the history of the two ethnic groups individually and as a collective via the institutions of slavery, cuisine, dance, dress, spirituality, legal challenges, marginalization, resilience, recognition and more.
  • My Mother is an Artist, directed by Maya Horton, tracks the impact of one mother’s incarceration and follows her journey to get justice, make art and find joy.
  • Paradise, directed by Gabby Sumney, is a series of five non-linear acts that deep dive into a multiracial Caribbean American family history exploring race, immigration, and imperialism.  

The Works-in-Progress lab is designed and led by Working Films, a Wilmington-based nonprofit organization that is nationally recognized for its work using documentaries as a resource to inform and involve communities in addressing social and environmental issues that impact their lives. The 2021 Works in Progress mentors include acclaimed filmmakers Byron Hurt, Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes, and Jackie Olive, Always in Season.