The 29th annual Cucalorus Film Festival — Black Barbies, Riddles, Weird Plants and More!


Wilmington, NC-  Tickets went on sale today for the 29th annual Cucalorus Film Festival, taking place in downtown Wilmington from November 15 to 19 at Thalian Hall, Jengo’s Playhouse and other downtown venues. The newest indie and international films combine with performances, installations, virtual reality and a hefty schedule of social events for an unexpected cinematic experience. The festival kicks off with the North Carolina premiere of A Song for Imogene, a gritty southern drama from female-led, Wilmington-based Honey Head Films. Sundance favorite King Coal is a poetic portrait of Central Appalachian family culture and the generations of families intertwined with the coal industry. Lagueria Davis’s Black Barbie documents the long and storied history of Mattel’s most popular doll and features rare and personal interviews with the filmmaker’s aunt, who worked at Mattel for over 45 years. From the whimsical love story in With Love and a Major Organ to the Sneezewort comedy shorts block, this year’s lineup has something for everyone.


A special sneak peek hits Thalian on Friday night as first-time director Mar Novo shares her new feature Sisters, about three Mexican American sisters reuniting to complete their grandmother’s pilgrimage through rural Mexico. Sisters stars Marta Cross and Ted Lasso’s Cristo Fernández (Dani Rojas). Screening Saturday afternoon, Riddle of Fire proves to be a nostalgic throwback to children’s magical adventure films–one the whole family will enjoy. Sunday afternoon is filmmaker Noah Schamus’s melancholic debut Summer Solstice, which highlights the complexities of coming out as transgender, and the unbreakable bond of friendship. As the festival nears a close on Sunday night, take a stroll down memory lane into the strange world of the UK’s riotous and raunchy cinema in SCALA!!!, the famous theater that influenced a generation of weirdos and misfits.  


As always, the festival offers up a strange and wonderful selection of short films curated into blocks. This year they’re all named after weird plants like Skunk Cabbage and Windflower (documentary shorts); Thimbleweed and Swamp Lousewort (narrative drama) and of course our annual short comedy showcase, this year broken into two blocks: Cheeseweed and Sneezewort.


Once you’ve had a few hefty cinematic meals, you need to dig deeper to find that secret sauce that makes Cucalorus so special. Performances like Dance-a-lorus and Bird Woman bring dance center stage and a parade of comedians, puppets, and flying humans round out the schedule of special happenings at Cucalorus. Is there a Bus to Lumberton? Who? Knows!


A full lineup of films is available at All-access Pegasorus passes are on sale while supplies last. To gain access to the whole film festival, parties, conversations and other events, be sure to purchase a pass!


Cucalorus is sponsored by the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural ResourcesCity of Wilmington, New Hanover County, University of North Carolina Wilmington, National Endowment for the Arts, North Carolina Arts Council, StarNews, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and over 100 local businesses.


Cucalorus is a multi-disciplinary organization supporting emerging and innovative artists through an annual film festival, two regional festivals, a residency program, a community cinema, an outdoor film series, and youth education programs. Cucalorus brings people together to celebrate, discover, and create. The annual festival provides a non-competitive environment to support independent filmmakers, performance artists, and community organizers who use storytelling to transform our world. More information is available at