The 25th annual Cucalorus Festival takes place November 13-17, 2019 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 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, 2018), 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 2018 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 the title and cover design for your upcoming autobiography. Yes, we're serious. Have fun with it! You can mail this to our office at Jengo's Playhouse or email the design to Rachel at **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 residents of New Hanover County. For a waiver code, email Must have a valid NHC mailing address. Cucalorus endorses irrational behavior, generally.

Overall Rating
  • Dave Merson Hess

    The kindest, most thoughtful, most welcoming team of any festival I've ever attended. Fantastic screenings, parties, panels, and tons of opportunities to meet and spend quality time with programmers and other filmmakers. Any time I make a film, I will always submit to Cucalorus.

    April 2019
  • Efe Kabba

    Cucalorus was my first festival as a filmmaker and boy was it an amazing experience! As a small scale festival, they really treat their filmmakers like royalty. The whole weekend was jam packed with great films, talks, and parties parties parties. So many opportunities to meet cool filmmakers. Wilmington is a cute small city (great food!) with a sort of Lynchian vibe at night. I found myself just wandering around taking everything in. Cucalorus has a place in my heart and I can't wait to submit in the future!

    March 2019
  • 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