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How are films selected for Cucalorus and Cinematique?

Ben Steelman

Founded in 1994, the Cucalorus Film Festival showcases independent cinema from around the world, but with a focus on North Carolina. Named for a screen used by lighting designers to create a dappled effect, the film festival takes place in Wilmington, usually during November.

According to Cucalorus executive director Dan Brawley, films are solicited from around the world, then are screened by a force of 60 or so volunteer programmers — most based in Southeastern North Carolina, but some scattered around the United States and the world. Each film is screened at least twice and often three or four times.

Programmers compare notes during a series of conference calls to whittle selections down to 50 or more feature-length films and more than 100 short subjects. Brawley and a circle of two or three other Cucalorus officials make the final  cuts and prepare the schedule.

For more information, visit www.cucalorus.org. The festival may be contacted at 910-343-5995 or comn@cucalorus.org.

Founded in 1991, Cinematique is the ongoing foreign and American independent film series at Thalian Hall, co-sponsored by public radio station WHQR and the Thalian Hall Center for the Performing Arts. The series books an average of three to four films per month, with a hiatus in December.

Cinematique coordinator Mary Bradley said film choices begin with a volunteer committee of film buffs and professionals in the local film industry, which meets every two to three months to suggest possible films among current releases. Bradley also takes suggestions from area residents and the series booking agent, who serves a network of art films in the Southeast.

The resulting schedule, Bradley said, is a kind of compromise “between what we want and what they’ll give us” — i.e. what films are available and on which dates.

Bradley can be contacted at 910-343-1640 or at mbradley@whqu.org. For a lineup of the current Cinematique schedule, click here.

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