Local Businessmen Lead by Example


The CUCALORUS FILM FESTIVAL announced today that local business leaders Tobin Geatz and Tom Looney have provided a joint $5,000 unrestricted donation to the 17th Annual CUCALORUS FILM FESTIVAL. Mr. Geatz is the current CEO of local pharma CRO Inclinix, and an accomplished serial entrepreneur and start-up strategy guru. Mr. Looney worked at Oracle in the 80’s, then worked closely with Apple’s iconic leader Steve Jobs for several years in the 90’s. He retired after leading Microsoft’s Homeland Security and Public Safety industry unit for several years after the 9/11 attacks on America.

Locally, Mr. Geatz and Mr. Looney co-created the highly-rated NC 2.0 radio segment heard each week on The Curtis Wright Show on WAAV 980am and other stations in the state. NC 2.0 focuses on the role of private and public sector entities in the 21st century relating to economic growth and job creation. They call for politicians and semi-government non-profit entities to embrace and adhere to basic market economic principles like competition, and stress the urgent need for making data-driven, merit based allocations of hard-earned taxpayer contributions and private donations, especially in the area of economic development. The men also serve as co-founding board members of the acclaimed Entrepreneurship Center at the UNCW Cameron School of Business.

Festival director Dan Brawley says, “Cucalorus is delighted by this demonstration of confidence in our festival and the proven economic impact it makes to the Wilmington area.” He added, “Tobin and Tom told us they hope to inspire other business leaders and private donors to invest in successful non-profits like Cucalorus, and we’re just delighted they’re so supportive of our efforts.” Mr. Geatz said, “The Cucalorus Film Festival has for years contributed to a very positive image for the Wilmington region in the 21st century, and their efficient budget allocation creates a 25X return in local economic activity and therefore worthy of bigger support from the community.” Geatz added, “Tom and I are proud to invest behind their success and urge other local leaders to join us.”

Mr. Looney notes, “The Wilmington Chamber of Commerce’s 2009 Cape Fear Future study identified a vibrant arts & cultural scene as critical for ongoing economic success in the area. The report also called for a concerted effort to enhance the region’s “image” in order to appeal to the executives and workforce of the sort of high-growth, successful companies we should strive to attract, because most of the net new job growth in the nation is directly or indirectly tied to these impact firms.” Geatz and Looney insist that all the data suggests that Wilmington will prosper financially if we simply defund chronic poor performers, and double-down on economic force multipliers like Cucalorus, which also integrates with the broader Hollywood East “economic cluster” strategy around the film and entertainment industry. Geatz concludes, “This is no-brainer stuff and Tom and I know no other way to operate.”

Cucalorus is a non-competitive festival focused on supporting innovative artists and encouraging creative exchange. The festival is held each November in historic downtown Wilmington, North Carolina with screenings of 150 films from around the globe. The week-long event brings people from all over the world together to celebrate, discover, and create independent films, as well as to explore the area’s diverse attractions and real estate from Wilmington’s historic river district to the close-by island beaches.

Websites such as Kickstarter and IndieGoGo are becoming the method of choice for non-profits, filmmakers, and emerging entrepreneurs to raise funds and awareness on a large scale. Cucalorus falls into this group with their own Kickstarter campaign launching at the end of the month. For more information on contributing to the non-profit Cucalorus Film Festival call Jengo’s at 910.343.5995 or visit the web site at Cucalorus.org.