You can go to the movies any day. But only once a year can you watch 150 films made around the world and featured in Wilmington. The Cucalorus Film Festival starts tomorrow.
Take away the glitz, the glamour, and the red carpets and bring on about 10,000 pouring into the Port city to celebrate the art of filmmaking.
Film festivals have exploded around the world in the last decade. But what makes Cucalorus different, is unlike the others often focused around making business deals, Cucalorus celebrates the creative side of film-making. No awards are given out in hopes of crafting a humble communion.
"Instantly that makes the filmmakers much happier to talk to each other because there's no competition in that sense, so that gives it a specific atmosphere," says Scottish filmmaker Matt Hulse who's debuting three films at the festival. The films are "Dummy Jim", featuring a deaf Scotsman 10 years in the making and still a work in progress, "A Pilgrimage", making its world premiere, and "The Audible Picture Show", which doesn't have any pictures. "Sound and audio is generally overlooked in production," says Hulse. "By stripping away the picture it's saying, 'look sound can actually carry the story, the emotions, all of that.'"
New York filmmaker Brett Haley's small-budget production "The New Year" stars a Wilmington native who gives up everything to take care of her terminally-ill father. "It's an extremely honest portrayal that avoids stereotype, avoids cliche," says Haley. "It's honest. It's about real people, so it's about the people watching I think."
Already generating Oscar buzz is "A Film Unfinished", a documentary about the Holocaust. Cucalorus screenings have gone on to win Acadmey Awards, like "Precious." But Haley says it's not about the accolades. "Just to be here in this beautiful place, to me that's success."
Cucalorus staff members say the film festival will have a huge economic impact on the business community during the time of year when tourism is slow.
Eighteen films screened at Cucalorus have been nominated for Academy Awards.
Another film in the festival, "Any Given Friday," is the story of former Laney High School football coach Gordon Walters and his quest to transform the South Brunswick High team into a perennial power. "Any Given Friday" screens today.
For more information on this film or any others go to http://cucalorus.org.