Cue the popcorn. Countdown to Cucalorus: What to Watch

Throwback Cucalorus-themed photo shoot produced for the FASHION FIX
with Photographer Melissa Hebert / Styled by Jess James featuring Style Girl Vintage
(More from shoot below)

I know there are folks living in Wilmington who have never attended a single film or event (boo, hiss!) at Cucalorus, the annual film festival held in Downtown Wilmington and heading into its 21st year THIS week: November 11-15.

Considering Cucalorus was dubbed “one of the coolest film festivals in the world” by MovieMaker Magazine, it’s high time you get with the program my friends (if you haven’t already). There is a full schedule of more than 160 events from films to panels and of course the endless parties so there really is something for everyone. Can’t you just smell the popcorn?

Since most of us don’t have the luxury to take a week off and camp out in the back of the theater, I figured I’d try to find out which films / happenings are just too special to miss. Luckily, one of my favorite friends, Margee Herring, is Cucalorus’ PR maven this year so here’s the downlow –

Cue the popcorn. Countdown to Cucalorus: What to Watch


1. Film: Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party

New York Times Critics’ Pick director Stephen Cone documents the 17th birthday pool party of preacher’s kid Henry Gamble over a 24-hour period. As Henry treads through various sexual possibilities, seeking to come into his own, so too do the adults and teenagers of the party, all struggling to navigate the public and private, and their longing, despite themselves and their faith, for earthly love.

Friday Nov 13th at 7pm at Thalian Main
Sunday, Nov 15th at 10:30 AM at CFCC Union Station


2. Film: (T)ERROR

Saeed “Shariff” Torres, a counterterrorism informant for more than two decades, takes on what he swears is his last job for the FBI and invites filmmakers to follow his covert efforts to befriend a suspected jihadist – without informing his superiors. As surprising revelations emerge, not only about Torres’ past, but also about the increasingly murky ethical grounds of his present mission, (T)ERROR explores just how far we are going to prevent terror and exactly what liberties we are sacrificing to get there.

Saturday Nov 14th 1:15 PM at City Stage Theater


3. Film: Sailing a Sinking Sea

Almost every single Moken survived the Tsunami of 2004, thanks to premonitions from their shamans and ancestral wisdom gained from generations of living intimately with the sea. Numbering less than 3,000 they are the nomads scattered throughout the Andaman Sea and the Mergui Archipelago of Thailand and Myanmar. In the wake of the tsunami, the Moken have come under unprecedented pressure to assimilate into the mainstream and the mainland. This culture is evaporating and along with it their vast wisdom of the sea. This feature-length film explores their mythology, language, and relationship with the sea.

Sat November 14 7:15pm at Thalian Black


4. Film: World Premiere of Wilmington On Fire

An 89-minute documentary devoted to the Wilmington Riot of 1898. Not too far from the stage in Thalian Hall on Nov. 10, 1898, a number of white conspirators led by Alfred Moore Waddell forced the city’s elected government, a biracial panel, to resign one by one, to be replaced by white supremacists. Waddell ended up as mayor. This happening is described as the only successful coup d’etat in American history. Estimates of the death toll range from 15 to 60 or more.

What: “For the Record,” a multimedia program and discussion of the Wilmington Massacre of 1898
with preview of “Wilmington on Fire”
When: Wednesday, Nov 11th at 7pm
Where: Wilmington ILA Hall, 1201 S. Fifth Ave.

What: “Wilmington on Fire” at the Cucalorus Film Festival
When: Sat Nov 14th at 4pm
Where: Thalian Hall, 310 Chestnut St., Wilmington


5. Film: Waffle Street

Starring: James Lafferty (One Tree Hill) and Danny Glover
Former Wilmington resident, and One Tree Hill star, James Lafferty stars as an ex-billionaire hedge fund manager who loses his job and winds up working as a waiter in a waffle shop. Based on the memoir by Jimmy Adams of the same name, it’s the story of the unlikely friendship between Jimmy and Edward, played by Danny Glover, the ex-con cook who serves up hard lessons about life, finance, and grits. Lafferty and Glover are both said to be attending the screening along with the real family the film is based on. There will be a Q&A after the film.

Sunday Nov 15th at 4:15pm at Thalian Hall



* Visual Sound Wall
Interactive multi-media experience
@ Ziggy’s Wed Nov 11th 9pm-1am

* Shorts Block
Cucalorus classic / cultivating young talent
(highlighted in orange on the Cucalorus calendar)

* PlaceMakers Fair
Showcasing regional makers and their inventions with exhibits, demonstrations, entertainment, food and a tall bike jousting showdown. Events are family friendly and follow the Saturday morning Kidsalorus screening of the heralded animated film “Khalil Gibran’s The Prophet,” an official selection at Cannes.

Saturday Nov 14th Noon at 2nd & Princess Street

* 10×10
Local entrepreneurs connecting with Cucalorus filmakers to document
their business on film. This year’s entrepreneurs are: Elite Innovations: Wilmington’s growing makers’ space, Candy Passport: Monthly delivery of international candies, Petrics: Advanced pet tech products, Performance Culture: A web-based performance mgmt platform, Balluchi Indian Fusion & Bar, Connected Investors: Crowdsourcing real estate investments, The Wilmington Jewish Film Festival, Port City Brewbus: Their motto? We drive you to drink!, Appalatch: highly personalized, customizable knitwear, Mushpa y Mensa: Eco-crafts and mobile art boutiqu

10×10 screening and CONNECT Presenters Party
Sunday Nov 15th from 4:30pm – 7pm at Ironclad Brewery


What: The Cucalorus Film Festival
+ Connect Conference

When: November 11-15

Main venues include Bourgie Nights, 127 Princess St.; CFCC Union Station, 502 N. Front St.;
City Stage, 21 N. Front St., fifth floor; Ironclad Brewery, 115 N. Second St.; Jengo’s Playhouse,
815 Princess St.; Thalian Hall, 310 Chestnut St.; and Ziggy’s by the Sea, 208 Market St.
Tickets: Passes range from $45 to $300. Tickets to individual screenings/events: $10 to $20.

Details: 910-343-5995 or





Cucalorus Style
Friday Nov 13th
at Style Girl Vintage + Harry Taylor Tintype Studio
21 Market Street (2nd floor)


Style Girl Vintage will release the latest treasures from the mid-century estate sale Jess recently attended, metallic vintage pieces for the holidays + an entire rack of clearance summer items! Photographer Harry Taylor will be creating tintype magic. Mix Master Joel Finsel of Astral Cocktails is shaking up new original cocktails from the recently launched Method + Standard vodka line by Piedmont Distillers. Andrea Townsend of Wholesome Journey Massage is offering complimentary chair massages.

Come hang with us from 6-9pm in between films!






Save lasting memories from Wilmington’s 1st Gatsby Lawn Party by purchasing beautiful, high quality photographs (just like they did in the Jazz Age!) from the incredibly talented Lisa Brown of Bella Rose Photography. Photos will only be on sale for a limited time only so don’t delay!

All photos from the Gatsby Lawn Party
presented by Kusek Financial Group and hosted by Jess James
held October 17th can be found here:



+ Pound Fit (only available with Karson in Wilmington!)
Tuesday 6:35pm and Saturday 10:15am at BFAB Studio
Click above for more details.




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