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With bottles of hooch galore and myriad events that blur the lines between divergent art forms, Wilmington’s annual cultural darling Cuclaorus aims to serve up nothing short of an unforgettable time (unless, that is, you imbibe too much of the moonshine). Here’s a rundown of the not-to-be-missed extra events to be had at the 20th annual Cucalorus Film Festival. Pegasorus and Megasorus passes still are available, which allow entry to most all events; non-passholders can see the schedule for ticketed events at and purchase tickets through

A still from Shona Thompson’s archival footage event, To See Ourselves as We see Each Other. Lantern slide used in motion picture theaters. Courtesy of the Library of Congress, LC-USZ62-8644

A still from Shona Thompson’s archival footage event, To See Ourselves as We see Each Other. Lantern slide used in motion picture theaters. Courtesy of the Library of Congress, LC-USZ62-8644

Opening Night Party

‘Twas the night before Cucalorus, and all through the Bellamy, all the creatures were stirring, even the chickens…

It’s all about chicken and waffles as pert of Cucalorus 20’s theme. The opening night party kicks off at the Bellamy Mansion (503 Market Street), with light appetizers and crafty cocktails served. Pegasorus or Megasorus passholders are welcome to attend, and only those who receive a special invitation. The event will be in full swing starting at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, November 12. Attendees will get to mingle with the mad hatters who orchestrate the festival and the full run of visiting filmmakers.


Come Wednesday, November 12, film and dance will combine in a union that’s anything but unholy, as nine choreographers showcase dances that interacts with a multimedia projection. Since 2007 Cucalorus has been merging these two art forms, and this year’s show promises to be just a spectacular. The event kicks off at 7 p.m. and tickets are $15 for nonpassholders.

The Inside Scoop on Indie Casting

Taking place on Thursday, November 13 at 1:30 p.m., a panel discussion will be held at Thalian Black Box Theatre (310 Chestnut Street). Presented by the SAG foundation, the event will advise on the process behind navigating budgets, negotiating contracts, auditioning, and bringing life to a script reading.

Knowledge-hungry locals can bring questions, which will be fielded by an expert panel of judges, including Bad Gilmore (a 2012 nominee for the Casting Society of America’s Artios Award for outstanding achievement in casting for “A Bag of Hammers”);  Paul Schnee (whose expansive body of work includes “August: Osage County”); Christian Kaplan (20th Century Fox feature casting director); and Lisa Mae Fincannon (a casting director born and raised in the Carolinas, whose work has received countless nominations and traversed the globe, with her work spanning 13 countries). Tickets are $10 for non-passholders.

NC Sixty

Take a gander at the always-impressive pool of local talent with NC Sixty. The screening will display acting reels, which recently wrapped production, of new actors in the area. Guided by the expertise of Sundance-award winning filmmaker and Cucalorus alumni Erica Dunton, the film journeys through an onslaught of disconnected scenarios co-written by the featured actors. Each vignette was produced and pulled off by homegrown talent. The screening will get underway on Friday, November 14 at 4:15 p.m. at the Thalian Mainstage (310 Chestnut Street). Guests can purchase tickets ($15) for this hot-ticket event; an abundance of locals are vying for spots to see the final product of this event.

Dance Workshops

What kind of film festival offers dance workshops? Apparently, the always original and fun-for-all Cucalorus Film Festival. They will be providing three dance workshops throughout the weekend at TheatreNOW (19. S. 10th Street). Dance Film: Moving the Moving Parts will be taught by Brighid Greene, a Brooklyn-based performer with Dance Films Association at noon on Friday. Film Projection in Live Performance and Dance will be taught by New York based filmmaker and choreographer Mary John Frank on Saturday at noon. On Sunday at noon, Mindful Movement and Bodywork will be taught by local dancer and massage therapist Karola Lüttringhaus. Admittance to each class is $10.

Cocktail Workshop

While Cucalorus revels in cinematic delight, artistry and talent of all kinds populate the festival’s four-day extravaganza. Mixology enthusiasts can enjoy a how-to session of making that perfect tall, delicious cocktail at Bourgie Nights (127 Princess Street) on Friday and Saturday at 5 p.m. and Saturday. Manna’s owner Billy Mellon and bartender Ian Murray will shake and stir a few recipes. Tickets to the event, which are $10 a pop, are extremely limited. Pegasorus passholder should contact Lindsay Blair at to reserve a spot. 

Midnite Brunch

What’s Cucalorus without a midnight brunch? Rolling along the Cape Fear River for the first time ever, the Henrietta III (docked at Dock and Water streets) will have brunchers finding their sea legs this year.  “It could add some dangerous scenarios,” Brawley quips. “We always want to showcase the city and the Henrietta III is an icon for Wilmington.”

Volunteer coordinator and Peruvian master chef Thomas Van Arsdale (better known as Tommy Waffle) will be heating up the skillet with his own waffle set-up. Brawley teases there will be some pretty special waffle recipes at play. Moonshine will come from Cucalorus mainstays Catdaddy Carolina Moonshine and Midnight Moon, and newcomers Larceny and Lunazul will be making their debut, too. The fun will get underway at 11:30 p.m. on Friday night.

Admission is limited to invitation or to holders of a  Pegasorus, Megasorus, or Digasorus  passes only.

Bus to Lumberton

Travel to the subversive, strange world of “Blue Velvet” with an art installation by Zach Clark, Now on his fourth festival after having screened films at past festivals, Clark was wrangled in by Brawley and Aaron Hillis (who screened a documentary, “Fish Kill Flea,” at Cucalorus in 2007) to undertake the creation of “Bus to Lumberton.” The second annual art installation will take place Saturday at 6 p.m. in front of the Murchison Building (201 N Front Street # 314), and will tip its hat to the locally filmed David Lynch cult classic, “Blue Velvet.” This will be film editor Zack Clark’s first installation. “I hand-picked Zach because I’m not only a fan of his features (‘Vacation!’ and ‘White Reindeer,’ both of which played at Cucalorus), but also his sensibilities,” Hillis says.

Clark remains vague on all the details of the installation as to create a surprising experience which will admit attendees one by one. He will build off last year’s interactive “Blue Velvet” piece, held at 108 Market Street and curated by filmmaker Joel Fernando.

“There may be some direct or indirect references to things in the movie in the installation,” Clark expresses, “but the installation will feel more like a parallel experience that attempts to capture my relationship to the film, and less like any specific scene or moment from the film itself.” The event is free and everyone is invited to “stay forever.”

An Untitled Love Story

Local filmmaker Erica Dunton will preview her latest work-in-process, with a script reading. “An Untitled Love Story” will be performed in full by professional actors. Afterward, there will be a Q&A session, wherein attendees can provide their take on the script. Taking place at City Stage Theater (21 N Front St #501) at 10:30 a.m., tickets for the event are $10 for non-passholders.

To See Ourselves as We See Others

In an effort to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Cucalorus, Scottish curator and artist-in-residenec, Shona Thompson, from the summer, has helmed a live performance that intertwines archive films, music and long-lost artifacts. Cucalorus veteran Matt Malloy (a.k.a “The Boy Who Plays Guitar”) and current resident artist and flutist Rozalind MacPhail will accompany the film, which focuses on the myths and memories of Cucalorus.

“To See Ourselves and We See Others” will take place on Sunday at Bourgie Nights at 1:30 p.m.  The event is not ticketed. Pegasorus, Megasorus, and Digasorus passholders receive free entry; everyone else must pay $5 at the door (cash-only), which will get guests in for all non-ticketed events scheduled at Bourgie Nights for the day.

A Hymn for Mars

Hailing from Scotland, Cucalorus artist-in-residence Ruth Paxton will be holding a script reading at Bourgie Nights at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, November 16. Paxton’s script chronicles a Scottish folksinger, marred by fear, who comes to Wilmington to find her voice and encounters an emotionally pained Marine. The reading will feature blocked performances of a few key scenes, followed by a feedback session.

Pegasorus, Megasorus, and Digasorus passholders receive will free entry, and other attendees must pay $5 (cash only) at the door, which will get guests in for all non-ticketed events scheduled at Bourgie Nights for that day.

Buzz Repeat

Folks who missed particularly conversation-inspiring films throughout the festival will have a second chance as part of five repeat screenings held Sunday evening. Selections will be based on positive audience reaction and announced on Saturday night. Screenings begin across multiple venues at 7 p.m. and tickets are $15.

Karaoke Dance Party

Send off Cucalorus 20 in style by gyrating with wreckless abandon and maybe even singing Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” during their Karaoke Dance Part, held at Hell’s Kitchen (118 Princess Street). Karaoke ninja master Aaron Hillis will be the night’s ringleader. Attendees need not be good singers but have high-energy and come with loads of showmanship. Costumed singers will get priority treatment, so whip out a festive kooky get-up and give Cucalours a performance for the books.

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Encore Magazine regularly covers topics pertaining to news, arts, entertainment, food, and city life in Wilmington. It also maintains schedules and listings of local events like concerts, festivals, live performance art and think-tank events. Encore Magazine is an entity of H&P Media, which also powers Wilmington’s local ticketing platform, Print and online editions are updated every Wednesday.

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