Hold onto your eyeballs! We're in the final stages of selecting films for this year's festival. Over 910 films were submitted for Cucalorus 13. That's a lot of films - and a huge increase from previous years. Our savvy programming team deserves big kudos for feeding their dvd players throughout the summer in order to select out the spectacular films of Cucalorus 13. In addition to receiving a record number of entries, the festival also reworked the programming process by breaking programmers into teams to focus on particular genres and subject matter. We launched our diversity programming scheme with Kimberly McLaughlin-Smith (aka "The Night Nurse") and Travis Corpening as our African American programmers, Irene Edwards as our Hispanic/Latino Programmer, and Stephanie Avery as our Asian programmer. Our diversity programmers have been instrumental in building our Spotlight Africa, World Film and Racial Rewind programs.

Twisting their brains to inventive new rhythms, UNCW professors Jim Kreul, Andre Silva and Shannon Silva served as our experimental film programmers. Watch out for their signature blocks when the schedule is announced in a couple of weeks. Rocking out to the short stuff, filmmakers (all Cucalorus alumni!) Ben Fancy, Kenneth Price and Meg Lansaw rounded out the shorts team.

Documentary features continue to dominate Cucalorus. Nobody could make this stuff up! Artist Dixon Stetler, Socialist Realtor Steve Fox, Jeff Sanchez, Working Films staffer Anna Lee, and Books-a-lot Gwenyfar previewed, scored and selected this year's world-class selection of feature documentaries. Filmmaker Bo Webb, Actor Bill Ladd, Film Grad Travis Currin and filmmaker Dylan Patterson worked their way through an outstanding list of international and American indie films, coming up with the strongest narrative slate that the festival has ever presented. Cucalorus programming coordinator Joel R. Wells worked his way through the submissions watching and researching in all categories. And I have been watching films all night and all day in an effort to bring you the most thoughtful and entertaining Cucalorus ever.

The final list of selections is being massaged and polished in a secret vault and will be announced early next week. If you're a filmmaker who submitted your work - we will notify you of the status of your film! And to all the submitting filmmakers, a HUGE thanks, by submitting your work you've already participated in an amazing process. Each film submitted to our festival is previewed and considered carefully. We're filmmakers, so we know what it means to wrestle your soul and squeeze it through a lens, edit it down to unrecognizable bits and then send it out into the vacuum of festival land. Buried inside of the 700plus films that won't make it into Cucalorus there is genius, humor, and wisdom. When we invent a mechanism to extend the hours in the day, we'll show them all. But until then, join us at Cucalorus 13 - we'll be screening over 200 films to make you think, laugh and cry.
Staff and Volunteer News
One of the biggest changes for Cucalorus this year is a much bigger staff. But don't worry, you'll see lots of familiar faces like Dan Brawley (me!), the multi-faceted Joel Wells (Programming Coordinator/Print Traffic), and the ever-present, guitar playing emcee Matt Malloy. Staff building began last fall when we welcomed Beth White Steelman as our new development director. Beth has had a major impact on Cucalorus, helping to build the resources for and expand the reputation of the festival. Around the office, Beth is the secret machine that keeps this thing going.

This past summer, Margee Herring became the festival's public relations director. Margee's creative energy and experience with other successful non-profits (like the Children's Musuem of Wilmington) will certainly help Cucalorus to establish itself as one of the finest film festivals in the Southeast. I knew that we'd be dangerous with Margee on our team when she took all of my flighty dreams seriously. Watch out!

After years of covering the film beat for the Star News, Allison Ballard unleashes her pen as the Cucalorus marketing director. Allison also works as a free lance journalist and has a dog named Jorja. Also joining the staff this year is recent North Carolina School of the Arts graduate Mary Kerley. Mary is the festival's travel and hospitality coordinator. UNCW film major and Cary native Carolyn Maher has joined the staff as the festival services manager. You'll have to go through Carolyn to get your pass to the festival!

Knocking down his third year on the staff, Rob Hill will serve as the media coordinator for Cualorus 13. UNCW intern Kyle Carter will serve as the media assistant and fellow UNCW intern Caroline Roberts will be this year's pass coordinator. Noelle Pflum (ass-kickin, Cucalorus 11 alumni) is the Operations Manager and Scott Davis (everybody knows Scotty!) wil be the Moving Arts Expo coordinator.

Several volunteer positions are still available. Please contact me at dan@cucalorus.org if you're interested in one of the following positions.
• Volunteer Coordinator - The volunteer coordinator works one day a week in October and then for 10 days straight, sunup to sunrise. The volunteer coordinator should have great communication and people skills. If you like to smile and can be nice to anyone, you'll love this job. Begins immediately.
• Screenings Coordinators - The screenings coordinator is the hub of communication for screenings and produces the live aspects of each event. Full time positions for one week.
• Box Office/Merchandise Staff - Selling tickets, tees and a few other things along the way. Full time positions for one week.
• Staff Food Coordinator - Keeps the team fed. Full time for one week.
• Transportation Technicians (aka Drivers) - Good, sober drivers needed for the week of the fesitval.
• Projectionists - Technicians to operate projection equipment during the festival. Experience and knowledge of projection equipment helpful.

Stay tuned next week as we announce another 48 films screening at this year's festival...