November 13th, 2014

Cucalorus Film Festival Kicks Off its 20th Year

by Lanette Gardiner

Wilmington’s infamous Cucalorus Film Festival is finally here and Sage Island couldn’t be more excited! This five day event kicked off last night with the Dance-a-lorus live stage performance and will run through Sunday, November 16th. Located in downtown Wilmington, this year’s 20th annual celebration includes an amazing line-up of 241 films ranging from love-lost unicorns and teenage bank robbers to family flicks and social justice documentaries. Amongst those featured are award-winning international films, world and regional premieres and original debuts from both well-known and up-and-coming filmmakers.

Over the years, Sage Island has worked closely with the Cucalorus team developing the event’s annual theme, designing the website and creating marketing materials such as event postcards, posters and more. In 2012 we developed the Cucalorus monster theme, bringing a fresh, fun and creative identity to their brand. Earlier this year, we unveiled the 2014 Cucalorus website and launched the 3rd-annual Surfalorus Film Festival – the newest Cucalorus event featuring surf films exclusively every year in May. Here is a behind the scenes look at Sage Island designing the new Cucalorus monster’s theme back in 2012:

Working with this festival is something we look forward to all year long, and we are thrilled to see our efforts come together this week at the 20th year celebration. Join Sage Island in supporting this great community event and check out a few of the 241 films screening this year. To help you decide which films to watch this year, we’ve compiled a hit-list of top contenders from the Sage Island crew, and other notable films featured at this year’s event.

Sage Island Hit-List

Daylight Come – Documentary by friend of Sage Island, Evan Vetter, following two Americans who help a group of Congolese women rebuild their lives amidst the scars of sexual violence and dire poverty which resulted from the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Daylight Come reveals hope can still be found no matter how long the night, and asks the question: can one person make a difference in such widespread suffering?

Uncensored – Three Colombian journalists recounting the terrifying reality of living through the Escobar cartel and the ongoing struggle to maintain freedom of the press.

Flash Gordon – An update of the 1930s comic strip, American football hero Flash Gordon is skyjacked and ends up on the planet Mongo, where he must fight Ming the Merciless to save the earth from destruction and rescue the beautiful Dale Arden.

I Believe in Unicorns – Short film that takes you on a road trip through the landscape of young love. Staring an imaginative and strong-willed teenage girl who often escapes into a beautifully twisted fantasy life, having grown up quickly as the sole caretaker of her disabled mother.

Living Stars –  Documentary by filmmakers Mariano Cohn and Gaston, highlighting dozens of real people from Buenos Aires dancing to a fairly well-known pop songs in their kitchens, living rooms, offices, and streets. Each performer embodies his or her given song with such complete abandonment, that the resulting joy is infectious – you’ll want to get up and start dancing too!

Havana Curveball –  Documentary that follows 13-year-old Mica, who took to heart his Rabbi’s requirement for the adult responsibility to help “heal the world” while studying for his Bar Mitzvah. Remembering how his grandfather escaped Nazi persecution and found refuge in Cuba, the boy launches a grand plan to send sports equipment to the poor and baseball-crazy communist country. Discover how Mica finds out that being an adult also means having to fight for one’s dreams.

World Premieres

A Better You – The story of Dr. Ron (Brian Huskey), a revolutionary Los Angeles hypnotherapist, who could solve everyone’s problems but his own.

Times Like Dying – Thrilling Western set in the Post-Civil War South involving four brothers facing the loss of their family farm. Shot and produced in Wilmington.

United States Premieres

Labyrinthus – An edge of your seat thriller about a 14-year-old boy who must complete a sinister computer game that uses real children from his neighborhood as players.

Hide and Seek – Provocative drama about a group of young, unmoored adults who retreat to the countryside to test intimate boundaries.

Felix and Meira – A young married woman from Montreal’s Orthodox Jewish community escapes the bonds of her faith when she meets an artist in her neighborhood who is mourning the loss of his father.

Spring – Indie drama blends romance and horror together in this uplifting film about a young man who flees California to find himself working on a farm in Italy and falling in love with a woman who carries a dark secret.

The Tribe – A Ukranian feature that follows a gang of deaf-mute students who spend their nights running a prostitution ring at the local truck stop.

The Age of Love – Documentary that follows the humorous adventures of thirty seniors in Rochester, NY who sign up for a Speed Dating event exclusively for 70- to 90-year-olds.

Other Noteworthy Films

Force Majeure – Funny psychodrama telling the story of a model Swedish family on a skiing holiday in the French Alps when an avalanche strikes.

Wildlike – Unsettling drama about a young girl who tries to make her way back to Seattle after fleeing her uncle’s home in Alaska.

The Hip-Hop Fellow – Documentary following Grammy award winning producer 9th Wonder’s tenure at Harvard University where he explores 40 years of hip-hop history and lays out the case for hip-hop as part of the larger evolution of the universal language of music.

Visit the Cucalorus website for tickets and the complete film schedule. We hope to see you all there!

It's more than a message in a bottle.

Subscribe to our newsletter to get all the latest from the island sent right to your inbox