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What is the Cucalorus Film Festival

Ben Steelman

Launched by a coalition of local filmmakers and film buffs in 1994, the Cucalorus Film Festival is held each fall in Wilmington usually for four days in November, screening between 100 and 200 independent features, short films and animated works, as well as occasional works in progress.

Originally held in a variety of venues in downtown Wilmington, the festival branched out to the University of North Carolina Wilmington campus in 2007 with the opening of the Lumina Theater in the Fisher Student Center.

(A cucalorus is a device used in film lighting, essentially to cast silhouettes or patterned shadows. A square cucalorus, spelling out the word C-U-C-A-L-O-R-U-S serves as the fesival logo.)

In addition to screenings, the festival also presents a schedule of workshops, lectures and panel discussions, as well as an industry trade show and “Dance-alorus,” an associated dance recital. The program draws filmmakers from across the United States and several foreign countries.

In 2006, Time magazine profiled Cucalorus in a feature titled “Film Festivals for the Rest of Us,” noting, “At this festival, unlike others, there are no prizes awarded; the ruggedly independent event celebrates the pure love of filmmaking.”

Originally held in the spring, Cucalorus switched to a fall schedule in 2006. Venues for the 2008 festival included Thalian Hall, Lumina Theater, Jango’s Playhouse, The Soapbox Lounge and Cameron Art Museum.

Managed by a non-profit collective, the festival is headquartered at Jengo’s Playhouse, 815 Princess St., Wilmington [Map this]. Volunteers are encouraged, and a variety of jobs are available. Details: 343-5995.

Find out the latest news and information about the annual event at StarNewsOnline.com/Cucalorus.

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