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Cucalorus Film Foundation Receives Grant For Program Focused On Black Filmmakers

By Staff Reports, posted Jun 4, 2021
The Cucalorus Film Foundation was recently approved for a second Grants for Arts Projects award from the National Endowment for the Arts, according to an announcement this week.

The $15,000 grant will support the Cucalorus Works-in-Progress Lab, a program organized through a partnership with Working Films for unfinished social justice documentaries made by Black filmmakers, a news release stated.

With an award announced earlier this year to support the 27th annual Cucalorus Film Festival, the latest award makes a total of $40,000 in funding from the National Endowment for the Arts for the Wilmington-based nonprofit organization, according to the release.

The lab is among the more than 1,100 projects across America totaling nearly $27 million that were selected during the second round of Grants for Arts Projects fiscal year 2021 funding, the release stated. 

“As the country and the arts sector begin to imagine returning to a post-pandemic world, the National Endowment for the Arts is proud to announce funding that will help arts organizations such as the Cucalorus Film Foundation re-engage fully with partners and audiences,” said NEA Acting Chairman Ann Eilers in the release. “Although the arts have sustained many during the pandemic, the chance to gather with one another and share arts experiences is its own necessity and pleasure.”

“We’re so honored to be recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts for the Works-in-Progress Lab. The lab is a deep collaboration with Working Films and supports our effort to create sustainable career opportunities for Southern Media makers but especially to promote, uplift and sustain the careers of Black filmmakers,” said Cucalorus Executive Director Dan Brawley in the release.

The Cucalorus Works-in-Progress Lab, a seven-day residency on the Cucalorus campus, was launched in 2008 through a partnership with Working Films.

"The lab focuses on documentaries about Black historical injustice in the South, telling stories that have been under-represented in mainstream media, and often only told by white media makers. Themes covered by the program range from issues surrounding systematic racism to a celebration of Black cultural traditions," the release stated.

According to the release, alumni of the program include Christopher Everett with Wilmington on Fire, chronicling the massacre of African Americans by white supremacists in Wilmington on November 10, 1898; Ricky Kelly with Black Beach/White Beach: A Tale of Two Beaches, exploring racial tensions that boil in Myrtle Beach each year when a primarily black and a primarily white motorcycle festival are held simultaneously; and Jacqueline Olive with Always in Season, illuminating how the trauma of more than a century of lynching African Americans bleeds into the present.
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