The 26th annual Cucalorus Festival takes place November 11-15, 2020 in downtown Wilmington, North Carolina. The non-competitive festival showcases more than 150 films from all over the world and attracts an accumulated audience of 18,000 cultural travelers who come to celebrate the art-form and connect with peers. The festival's spirited celebration has been recognized as a breeding ground for young artists, new ideas and future collaborations.

Festival programs focus on dance, music videos, emerging artists, social justice, works-in-progress, and international cinema. Voted "One of the Coolest Film Festivals in the World" (MovieMaker Magazine 2013, 2014, 2015), and "50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee" (MovieMaker Magazine 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019), Cucalorus creates an opportunity for intimate engagement between audience and artist through the festival’s retreat-like atmosphere, resulting in friendships that extend far beyond the festival’s 5-day celebration.

Unlike many film festivals, Cucalorus does not give out awards, preferring instead to foster and support the growth of independent film in a non-competitive environment. At Cucalorus, we focus on breaking down artificial boundaries in order to strengthen the connection between artist and audience.

“Bold, insightful programming, a laid-back rock and roll atmosphere and gorgeous seaside locale no doubt contribute to the ‘summer camp for filmmakers’ vibe, making Cucalorus the best kept secret on the indie fest circuit.” - MovieMaker Magazine

Cucalorus accepts films from all genres by filmmakers of all backgrounds. Films must have been completed within the past two years, and films with world premieres before November 2019 are not eligible. All films must be Wilmington, NC premieres to qualify. If you have questions about your eligibility, please contact


1. Completed entry form for each submission via FilmFreeway

2. The applicable entry fee paid via FilmFreeway.

3. Send us a drawing and/or collage of the future. You're future, our future?!! Yes, we're serious. Have fun with it! You can mail this to our office at Jengo's Playhouse or email the design to **disclaimer** - we may post this on social media!!


Please send all packages, checks, drawings, toys, baby goats, and photos to:

Cucalorus Submissions
Jengo's Playhouse
815 Princess Street
Wilmington, NC 28401

Exceptions, Payments and Refunds

There are no exceptions to these deadlines or fees, except when we make exceptions! Please make all fees payable to Cucalorus. Entry fees are non-refundable. There are no entry fees for Directors who are residents of New Hanover County or the City of Wilmington. Must have a valid New Hanover County or City of Wilmington mailing address. We are also offering waivers for all filmmakers who identify as Black, African American, or Latinx in an effort to show more films by makers of color. For a waiver code, email Cucalorus loves you!

Overall Rating
  • Prarthana Mohan

    This was our second time and we had so much fun. This is truly a festival for filmmakers with lots of opportunities to network. Highly recommend!!!

    February 2020
  • Janique L Robillard

    Absolutely amazing event! Diverse and stunning array of films to enjoy, people to meet, and parties / performances to attend. Well organized. Really happy that Paulius and I made the trip from NYC - Wilmington and hope to return again in the future. Well worth the submission fee.

    December 2019
  • Cucalorus was an incredible experience. The communication was great and the staff were super nice, when we picked up our badges and mentioned the title of our film one said "I loved that film!" which was way more heartwarming than I ever would have imagined. The festival has resources to help cover filmmakers travel and housing and the hospitality was phenomenal. We had a great time networking with other filmmakers in the filmmakers lounge and after the screening blocks. The film lineup was quite impressive and each of the screenings were held in very cool historic locations. This festival is all about the filmmakers and downtown Wilmington was a delight, so I truly look forward to attending again.

    November 2019
  • Bex Singleton

    So, so glad both that our film was selected by Cucalorus, and that I was able to attend. The overall vision for the festival is really inspiring, and the level of care given to every detail really impressive. I would have loved just attending the festival itself, the films, the special events, the receptions, the dance performances and more, so to have a film screened was really special. Both screenings were packed out, and the audiences really engaged with the Q&As. Can't thank the team enough!

    November 2019
  • mina sewell mancuso

    I loved my time at Cucalorus, and given the variety and quality of the programming I saw I was honoured to be included in their lineup. It was my first time attending, and the whole team made my experience an absolute dream. They treat their filmmakers so well, communication was excellent, and there were so many different kinds of events to attend. The block of short films I screened in sold out, so you know local community engagement is high. The atmosphere was a fun and supportive one. I highly recommend this fest!

    November 2019