The 24th annual Cucalorus Festival takes place November 7-11, 2018 in downtown Wilmington, North Carolina. The non-competitive festival showcases more than 300 films from all over the world and attracts an accumulated audience of 19,000 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), 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

Entries to Cucalorus are accepted on a year-round basis. 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 2017 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 (screener links only, NO DVD's)

2. The applicable entry fee paid via FilmFreeway.

3. Send us a photo or drawing of the best thing in your closet (literal, figurative, dreamed up, criminal, etc.) Yes, we're serious. Have fun with it!
**disclaimer** - we may post this on social media!!


Please send all packages, checks, drawings, toys, baby goats, photos, and films 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 residents of the City of Wilmington.
Cucalorus endorses irrational behavior, generally.

Overall Rating
  • Annie O'Neil

    Quite simply a great film festival. Saw films there that I didn't see anywhere else on the circuit, and loved them. Very grateful to have been included.

    October 2018
  • Justinsuperstar Johnson

    Gosh, where to begin?? They treat you like royalty here, I just had a short doc, and still felt very well taken care of. Of all the festivals I've been to, this one, the filmmaker lounge really felt like a lounge, always someone cool to talk to, or just a nice place to chill and grab a drink (or five).

    I also simply fell in love with the city of Wilmington - what a perfect town for a film festival! Was great that the locations were all very central and I was able to walk just about any where.

    Looking forward to making my way back here for future festivals, thanks for everything, Cucalorus!

    December 2017
  • Clyde Petersen

    Funnest film festival on the planet.

    December 2017
  • Via Bia

    An extremely hospitable and tuned-in festival. Not only do you have the chance to see some legitimately incredible films, but the festival includes live music, live theater, and dance.

    Plus parties. So many parties.

    The audience for my screening was super responsive, and Wilmington itself is easy to get around. Not every festival is walkable, in a gorgeous location, and with tons of restaurants and activities on top of everything happening at the festival.

    Plus, great staff who really care about inclusion and making a better world.

    What more could you want? Submit, says I!

    December 2017
  • Enlightened, respectful, celebratory. Quirky, eccentric, unique. Cucalorus is a special festival. The level of generosity and hospitality they exhibit is outstanding and astounding. To be chosen to screen a film here is to join a warm and welcoming community within the charming community of Wilmington. I can't recommend it too highly.

    November 2017