Submit a Film

The non-competitive festival showcases more than 200 films from all over the world and attracts thousands of 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 lifelong friendships. Festival programs focus on dance, music videos, emerging artists, social justice, works-in-progress, and international cinema. 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.


Cucalorus accepts entries on a rolling basis. Submit anytime of the year!

*Entry fees are waived for all current residents in the City of Wilmington.

Call For Entries 2016! Submission Methods include...

Find the CONNECT application here

        OR     +

Deadlines and Fees

  Type Deadlines/Fees Ways to Submit


  General Entries


  Early / June 2 / $25

  Regular / June 23 / $35

  Late / July 14 / $45

  Extended / July 28 / $55

  | Film Freeway |

  | Entry Form + Submit Fee |






  Regular / May 26 / $35



  | Film Freeway |

  | Entry Form + Submit Fee |





  Regular / July 28 / $0




  with information below






  Regular / June 23 / $35



  | Entry Form + Submit Fee |







  Regular / June 23


  Late / July 14  

  | Application Form


















Submission Requirements

1.     Completed entry form for each submission via Film Freeway or Online Entry Form.

2.     Two (2) DVDs or an online screener that includes:

       Submission title

       Entrant’s Name and Contact Details

3.     The applicable entry fee paid via Film Freeway, Paypal, or check (payable to Cucalorus Film Festival)

4.    Your self portrait as a flame-breathing sea creature. Yes, we're serious. Have fun with it!


Please send all packages, checks, toys, baby goats, receipts and films to:

Cucalorus Submissions

Jengo's Playhouse

815 Princess Street

Wilmington, NC 28401


Exceptions, Payments and Refunds

  1. There are no exceptions to these deadlines or fees, except when we make exceptions!
  2. Please make all fees payable to Cucalorus.
  3. Entry fees are non-refundable.
  4. There are no entry fees for residents of the City of Wilmington.
  5. Bribes are welcomed and encouraged.
  6. Cucalorus endorses reckless behavior, generally.

Program partickulations

General Entries

Submissions made through Film Freeway or our online form are considered for a wide range of festival programs focusing on emerging and innovative filmmakers, North Carolina artists, social justice, student films, films by youth, shorts, and international cinema. The festival strives to showcase diverse, international artists of all ages, genders, races, economics, hairstyles, religions, and backgrounds.

Music Videos : Visual/Sound/Walls, our music video program, is an experimental venue crammed full of music vids, surf movies and installation oriented artistical evolutions. The centerpiece of the program is a seamless mix of mind-blowing music videos from visionary artists projected onto multiple surrounding surfaces that transitions into a life-altering live performance by one of the bands in the videos. How can you jump on this??? --->   just make a music video and send it to us. Booom. No really, send us your music video, we really really wanna see it.

Youth Films Youth films is a showcase of short films made by youth or made for youth. Films in this category must be appropriate for ages 9 and up. The Youth program provides a unique opportunity to celebrate the artistic achievements of young artists and promotes the appreciation of filmmaking as a critical tool for self-expression and personal growth.


The Works-in-Progress program plays on the double meaning of the word “progress” by supporting films in-production by progressive filmmakers exploring social justice. The program creates an intimate opportunity for artists to share unfinished works and engage target audiences in the filmmaking process. The program will showcase up to ten projects and provide direct financial support to at least 15 filmmakers through honorariums, travel stipends, lodging, airfare and rental fees with a special focus on supporting North Carolina filmmakers. The program includes community engagement events, public and private screenings, impact strategy sessions, and one-on-one consultations. Films in the 2015 program focused on the environment, popular culture, sociopolitical action, race, and the South. The Works-in-Progress program is a partnership between Alternate ROOTS, Working Films, the Southern Documentary Fund and is funded in part by the North Carolina Arts Council and Alternate ROOTS


Launched in 2005 through a partnership with local choreographer’s collective the Dance Cooperative, Dance-a-lorus has grown to be one of the most important programs at the festival. Through Dance-a-lorus, the organization supports choreographers collaborating with filmmakers and choreographers experimenting with film. Dance-a-lorus includes a live showcase of new works, a series of master classes, and a curated program of dance films. The culminating performance serves as the opening night event for the annual Cucalorus Film Festival. Forty-five dancers, 14 filmmakers and 14 choreographers participated in Dance-a-lorus last year.

The live performance event of the Dance-a-lorus program combines a choreographed dance with a film component. There is no entry fee for live performance submissions. All other dance-related films are submitted under general entries.

How to Apply to Dance-a-lorus ::

This year's selection process will consist of two options:
* a live audition
* OR a recording of your proposed work in draft form (up to five minutes in length).

Email with your intent to apply, including:
* Working title
* 100-word description
* Names of choreographer and filmmaker
* Preference to submit a recording of your work or attend the live audition

More details will be sent in late August to all artists who submit an intent to apply.



Cucalorus CONNECT showcases visionary leaders who are using innovation, technology and creativity to transform our world. Apply here



Norwood Cheek's 10x10 program pairs ten filmmakers with ten entrepreneurs and challenges them to make a video together during the week of the Cucalorus Film Festival. Final vids are screened for audiences on the last day of the festival. Interested filmmakers and entrepreneurs can apply here by September 9 to participate in the project. 10x10 is a part of the Cucalorus Connect conference that will take place in conjunction with the film festival.

Frequently Asked Questions from Filmmakers

Are you serious about sending in an illustrated invitation to my own funeral?
Quite. But it's just for good fun. Take your best crack at it. This is what keeps us going in the wee hours of the night.

Should I send my film to Cucalorus?
We encourage all filmmakers to send us their work. Anything goes! All films are screened by a dedicated team of programmers, made up of accomplished filmmakers, industry professionals, artists, the occasional preacher and one socialist realtor. We accept student films, funny films, erotic films, political films, experimental films, fancy big-money films, and backyard duct-tape films. Anything you can put on a dvd or hide on the internet, send it in. Even though we don't give awards (see below), only one in every ten films get into the festival - so send us your best stuff and be nice to us because we have to watch a lot of movies and we love you.

Why doesn't Cucalorus give out awards?
Cucalorus says: competition sucks. It often takes hundreds of people to make a film, so why does one guy get the little statue? Ideas shouldn't be owned by people, and people shouldn't be singled out and ordered in a hierarchy. In order to create an open environment, where ideas are exchanged freely, Cucalorus avoids the competitive tension so prevalent at other fests. Laid back and low down rule the day in Cucaloria.

How can I get my film into Cucalorus?
Make a good film. Don't sweat the graphics on your DVD cover. Sweat the story and the camera. Keep making films, and keep sending them in.

Where is Cucalorus?
Cucalorus takes place in historic downtown Wilmington. Most festival events are within walking distance of each other, helping to ward off movie-butt syndrome. Wilmington is home to EUE Screen Gems studios, an unruly lot of indie filmmakers, and a thriving, progressive arts community.

When should I submit my film?
Cucalorus accepts submissions on a rolling basis. We use our submission base year round in scheduling Jengo's screenings and for our festival line-up. Submit your film as soon as you've finished it. Download whatever entry form is on our site (even if it has old dates and stuff on it. We live at the beach, where everything's cool all the time.)

Do you accept student films?
Yes. At each festival we present a collection of the best student films from around the world.

Can I submit a 'rough-cut'?
Absolutely. Send your film in and then send in newer versions as you make changes. This happens all the time, just make sure to note that it is a rough cut.

What does 'Works-In-Progress' entail?
The Works-in-Progress Category offers filmmakers at all stages of production an opportunity to showcase their films in a workshop-style setting. Narrative and non-fiction films are eligible to apply. Films focused on social issues and justice are especially encouraged to apply. The workshop is intended to foster dialogue between filmmakers and target audiences, thereby providing critical feedback for moving your project forward. This will be an invaluable opportunity for those hoping to eventually screen their finished film in other notable festivals.

What if I have another question?
Not finding the answer you need? No problem. Contact our programming coordinator. Or visit our staff page for the full directory.