12th Annual Cucalorus Film Festival Celebrates Independent Filmmaking

Wilmington, NC: A celebration of independent filmmaking returns to Wilmington, North Carolina on November 8 through November 11 during the 12th Annual Cucalorus Film Festival, a Southeast Tourism Society Top 20 Event. Recently featured in TIME magazine’s article entitled “Film Festivals for the Rest of Us” (June 2006), and lauded as “the best kept secret on the indie fest circuit” by MovieMaker magazine, the Cucalorus Film Festival once again lives up to its reputation with more than 126 screenings. An impressive selection of 33 dramatic and documentary features and over 90 shorts that will screen at the 2006 Cucalorus Film Festival can be found on the Cucalorus Film Festival’s website: www.cucalorus.org.

From its humble beginnings in 1994 as a one-night screening of locally-made independent films, the Cucalorus Film Festival now spans four days with screenings, workshops, panel discussions and Q&A sessions, a Moving Arts Expo, and headline concert. Cucalorus 12 will officially “Kick-Off” on Wednesday, November 8th at 5:00pm along Wilmington’s Riverfront Park. The evening begins with surf and silent films, followed by a concert at 9:00pm by singer/songwriter Tift Merritt, a North Carolina-bred recording artist (Bramble Rose; Tambourine) who will rock the Cape Fear riverfront with help from her band.

Cucalorus 12 continues the tradition of showcasing extraordinary independent films. A record number of filmmakers will attend this year’s festival, traveling from Israel, Great Britain, Canada, Mexico, and from cities across the United States including several with North Carolina roots. Guest filmmakers will share insights into their films during Q&A sessions following their respective screenings. This year’s venues include Thalian Hall’s Mainstage and Black Box Theatre (310 Chestnut St.), Jengo’s Playhouse (815 Princess Street), and Riverfront Park.

Opening and closing night feature films boast strong Carolina ties. “The Trials of Darryl Hunt,” a documentary set in Winston-Salem, screens on Wednesday night. Darryl Hunt will be in attendance for a discussion after the screening. The closing night film, “Forgiven,” an intense film that debuted at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival, was shot entirely in Wilmington by filmmakers Paul Fitzgerald and Kelly Miller.

Other features include Greensboro native Jay Floyd’s “Forgiving the Franklins,” a controversial, clever, and thought-provoking film that debuted at Sundance. Cucalorus alum Todd Rohal brings his highly acclaimed 35mm anamorphic feature “Guatemalan Handshake” to this year’s festival. D.B. Sweeney’s directorial debut “Dirt Nap,” shot in Wilmington, is a heartwarming comedy. “Find Love,” shot in Wilmington, is an innovative film from Erica Dunton, one of the Port City’s most promising young filmmakers. Erica’s short “Lost and Found” also screens at this year’s festival. International selections include “13 Tzameti; “Iron Island;” and “Old Joy.”

Documentaries range in subjects from Hurricane Katrina, drugs, and racism to politics, musicians, and surfers. North Carolina-made documentaries include: “The Guestworker” by filmmakers Cynthia Hill and Charles Thompson; “Two-Headed Cow” produced by Wilmington’s Lisa Mae Wells Fincannon; and UNCW Film Studies chair Lou Buttino’s “Broken Brotherhood: Vietnam and the Boys From Colgate.” Shot elsewhere, there’s “Workingman’s Death;” “Slumming;” “Al Franken: God Spoke;” “Rain in a Dry Land;” “Chasing the Lotus;” “Cocaine Cowboys;” “First Lesson in Peace;” “Tim’s Island;” “So Much So Fast;” and “The Breast Cancer Diaries,” among others.

Blocks of short films in many genres will screen at Jengo’s Playhouse, a colorful micro-cinema. At midnight, Jengo’s Playhouse presents “L8 Nytes,” blocks devoted to experimental shorts and late-night material.

For festival pass/ticket info, schedules, press kits, photos, and film descriptions, please call 910-343-5995 or visit www.cucalorus.org. For a FREE Cape Fear Coast Visitors Guide, call toll-free 1-866-266-9690 or visit website www.gocapefearcoast.com for a complete Calendar of Events.

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