Anyone looking for a good reason to take an autumnal sojourn down I-40 this weekend needs to look no further than the 13th Cucalorus Film Festival in Wilmington, which begins Wednesday, Nov. 7 and runs through Saturday, Nov. 10.
Over the four-day fest, more than 200 films will be screened at four venues throughout the Port City, compared to 129 films shown at last year's festival. For the first time, Cucalorus will venture beyond the confines of the venerable downtown district and hold some screenings at UNCW's brand new Lumina Theater.
Included in the program are four works associated with the Durham-based Southern Documentary Fund. In Moving Midway, director and Indy film critic Godfrey Cheshire uses the relocation of his family's historic Raleigh plantation home as a springboard for a deeper analysis of race and the role of the Southern plantation in American history and culture.
Durham director Rex Miller's Somay Ku: A Uganda Tennis Story follows a top-ranked Uganda tennis player as he attempts to rise out of his war-torn homeland and embark on a improbable professional tennis career. Love Lived on Death Row tells the story of four siblings on a journey of forgiveness and reconciliation with their father, who is imprisoned on North Carolina's death row for the 1990 murder of the children's mother. And, Pittsboro director Michael O'Connell will present Mountain Top Removal, which examines the issues surrounding the titular, insidious form of strip coal mining.
A number of other docs featured at last April's Full Frame Film Festival with also receive encore presentations at Cucalorus, including Greensboro: Closer to the Truth (to be introduced by Tim Tyson, a historian who recently wrote a lengthy treatment of Wilmington's 1898 racial pogrom) and Banished, another study of Southern racial violence, by Marco Williams.
Passes to attend Cucalorus are available for purchase at Schoolkids Records in Chapel Hill and Raleigh. For more information, visit www.cucalorus.org.