Cuc’ alum Zach Clark curates Cucalorus’ “Bus to Lumberton”

Heineken? Fuck that shit! It’s Pabst Blue Ribbon time.
Frank Booth here. You wanna go for a ride?
I hear there’s some suave motherfucker in town making an installation inspired by “Blue Velvet,”
and if you don’t go, you fucking fuck, you may never go to pussy heaven.
A ride, you say? Now that’s a good idea.
Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper) and Dorothy Vallens (Isabella Rossellini) in "Blue Velvet."

Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper) and Dorothy Vallens (Isabella Rossellini) in “Blue Velvet.”

Cuc’ Alum Zach Clark (“White Reindeer,” “Vacation!”) will curate the 20th annual Cucalorus Film Festival’s “Bus to Lumberton” installation, an immersive experience that will take audience members into the beautifully grotesque world of locally filmed “Blue Velvet.”

The films of David Lynch often bridge the gap between a sense of childlike nostalgia and nightmarish paranoia, and you can expect this theme to run through the installation, though Clark refuses to reveal too much before-hand. Like in a David Lynch film, the dirty deets aren’t quite so obvious to the untrained eye; you’ll have scratch beneath the surface before the seedy underworld of suburbia will reveal itself. (There may be some hidden hints in this blog… who? knows!)

One twist we can reveal is that the experience will be an individual one, letting audience members into the space one by one. Clark says that this will foster a more personalized, immersive experience for the participant and will allow everyone to take it on their own terms.

Jeffrey Beaumont (played by Kyle MacLachlan) finds a severed human ear in "Blue Velvet."

Jeffrey Beaumont (played by Kyle MacLachlan) finds a severed human ear in “Blue Velvet.”

“I’m seeing something that was always hidden. I’m involved in a mystery. I’m in the middle of a mystery. And it’s all secret.” -Jeffrey Beaumont, “Blue Velvet.”

What’s behind the red curtain? Get your peek at 9 p.m. Nov. 15 at the Murchison building. No ticket required.

 

Local project “NC Sixty” features local actors, crew

NC Sixty screened Friday afternoon at Thalian Hall, and reminded audiences what film festivals are all about: tech problems. (We’re kidding. Sort of.) After filmmaker and Cucalorus sweetheart Erica Dunton delivered a moving speech about her history with Cucalorus, the film began in a beautiful, sweeping dolly shot of a woman singing in a church – only audiences couldn’t hear the woman. There was no sound.

“Tanya,” Erica said, her voice carrying through the theater. “Would you like to come up here and sing?”

A woman named Tanya, the same woman audiences had just seen moments ago on screen, dressed in a sparkly black dress, hesitantly made her way toward the stage.

Emcee Matt Malloy handed her the microphone, and wow, did Tanya sing.

Her powerful voice was only interrupted when she would forget the occasional lyric, and Dunton would chime in to help her out. This is when audiences got to experience the beauty of a local film festival  – the spontaneity, the community, and the authenticity of personal interactions with filmmakers and actors that we think big cinema just can’t offer.

The tech issues quickly resolved themselves, but the opening song couldn’t have gone better if it had been planned. It was a perfect introduction to this very special project that features 60 local actors (many at the start of their careers) and even more local crew.

Local actors joined Dunton on stage for the live Q & A

Local actors joined Dunton on stage for the live Q & A

“NC Sixty” is the product of work-shopped scenes from a range of local actors who worked with Dunton over the course of a month. The short scenes, which feature each actor in both lead and supporting roles, will provide those who are starting out in the industry with rich material for their reels.

There wasn’t, however, much narrative connection between scenes.

“They’re all disconnected,” Dunton said, “but where you will find commonality is the theme of human connection … I kept telling my actors you’re not performing, you’re not acting, you’re humanizing.”

Dunton opens up the floor to one of her child actors from the film.

Dunton opens up the floor to one of her child actors from the film.

Dunton expanded on that sentiment, explaining that people are never characterized by one simple emotion.

“No one is only scared,” she said, “you’re scared and angry and there’s a whole person behind those emotions that you have to take into account.”

She gave audiences a little taste of the kind of in-depth discussions she had with “NC Sixty” actors over their month-long workshops, and the Cuc’ crew already feels like the group has benefited from the experience.

If you’re interested in some of Dunton’s other work, check out the live script reading of her latest work in progress, “An Untitled Love Story,” at 10:30 a.m. Nov. 16, at City Stage.

Black Silkie Shorts a Cucalorus Crowd Favorite

The Black Silkie Shorts block proved to be a universal crowd pleaser during Cucalorus’ first day of screenings Thursday. The films’ unifying force were excellence – the filmmakers masters of their craft. The block featured local film and audience favorite, “Times Like Dying,” and “Satan Has a Bushy Tail,” from visiting filmmaker Louis Paxton, among others.

Many of the films seamlessly blended moments of grit and comedy with sentimentality.

Whether it was a rosy-cheeked waitress serving up dead banker to customers to protect her restaurant (“The Dandelion”), or a gang of cowboys robbing a bank to save the family farm (“Times Like Dying”), the films focus on the good intentions behind less than honorable actions.

Festival Director Dan Brawley lead the Q &A with the "Times Like Dying" cast and crew.

Festival Director Dan Brawley lead the Q &A with the “Times Like Dying” cast and crew.

“It’s ultimately a story about good people doing the wrong thing and having to live with the consequences,” director Evan Vetter said of “Times Like Dying” during the live Q&A session following the screening. Producer and writer, Anthony Reynolds, discussed the seven-year process behind the film and admitted to writing 83 drafts of the script. Working in his niche of “cowboys, guns, and robbers,” Reynolds said he noticed a lack of “Wild West” stories set east of the Mississippi and set to rectify that with “Times Like Dying.”

Audiences seemed excited to see “Times Like Dying” actor Jim Cody Williams (“Dodgeball,” “Pirates of the Caribbean,”) after the film, and Williams joked about his appreciation of playing a character out of his comfort zone.

“I’m usually the leading man, the love interest, the confused high school guy…” he said. “Now,” he continued, “this is my wheelhouse.”

Director Louis Paxton and cinematographer Richard Dunton discuss "Satan Has a Busy Tail" with audiences

Director Louis Paxton and cinematographer Richard Dunton discuss “Satan Has a Busy Tail” with audiences

The Q&A continued with director Louis Paxton and cinematographer Richard Dunton of “Satan Has a Bushy Tail,” who shared tales about filming with a squirrel on set. A squirrel handler specializing in small rodents managed “Harriet” the squirrel, who was “particularly motivated by peanut butter on a stick,” Paxton said. “No squirrels were harmed during filming,” Paxton added, “only tired cinematographers.”

We can only imagine.

For more information on our other titillating shorts blocks, check out our website.

 

Documentary Shorts Highlight the Importance of Community

Dorking Shorts left audiences speechless (in a good kind of way) after the lineup of docs played this morning. The shorts block featured local film “Guns in the House,” directed by Cucalorus Film Festival resident-artist Amanda Edwards, and local filmmaker Will Davis’ “Metal Man,” among others. A theme of community was present in each film, connecting  the films in a deeper way than their documentary category.

Whether it was a town dog bringing a group of neighbors together (“Fred the Town Dog“), guns and political violence tearing people apart (“Guns in the House,” “Not Anymore: A Story of Revolution”), or different communities learning from one another (“Mipso in Japan,” “Heartbeats of Fiji,“), each film inspired reflection on what makes a community and the responsibility we have to ourselves and others. “Not Anymore: A Story of Revolution,” ended the block with a powerful and inspirational call to action in regard to the Syrian struggle for freedom.

The shorts block was followed by a Q & A session with visiting and local filmmakers Davis, Edwards, and Ava Lowrey (“Fred the Town Dog”).

Filmmakers take on questions from the audience during the Q & A

Filmmakers take on questions from the audience during the Q & A

Audience members were curious about Edwards’ inspiration for “Guns in the House,” which tackles the issue of gun violence in Wilmington.

“I found it fascinating that, in America, anyone can have a gun at any time,” Edwards explained. She went on to mention that while guns are not a problem in her native England, decapitations are becoming more common.

Lowrey discussed growing up in a town close to Coosa County, Alabama, where “Fred the Town Dog” is set, and hearing about Fred’s death in her local newspaper. Lowrey’s film is a heartwarming tale about how a pooch united a small southern community on its way to becoming a ghost town.

“Metal Man” profiles 84-year-old Ernie Taylor, who creates unique metal sculptures on his Indiana farm while discussing his life philosophies. Davis said it was difficult to cut certain footage during edits because Taylor was such a fascinating subject.

Edwards agreed, adding, “It can be really heartbreaking.” “There will be deleted scenes on my website,” she added with a smirk. We look forward to it.

Catch a repeat screening of the Dorking Shorts at 10:15 a.m. Nov. 14, at Thalian Hall’s black theater. Additional filmmakers will be in attendance, including “Heartbeats of Fiji” and “Mipso in Japan”‘s Jon Kasbe.

Get your tickets here!

Cucalorus + SAG present: The Inside Scoop on Indie Casting

Mark and Lisa Mae win Emmy Award in 2012 for "Homeland"

Mark and Lisa Mae win Emmy Award in 2012 for “Homeland”

Local filmmakers and actors will have a chance Thursday afternoon to learn what it takes to snag a gig on productions ranging from big-budget Hollywood blockbusters to smaller, independent films from top casting directors.

The Screen Actors Guild Foundation and the Cucalorus Film Festival are proud to present a panel featuring four long-time film industry casting directors at 1:30 p.m. at Thalian Hall Center for the Performing Art in downtown Wilmington. The directors will school attendees on the casting process and the ins-and-outs of film production, including navigating budgets, negotiating contracts and perfecting auditioning techniques. Panelists include:

Brad Gilmore
Recent film credits include “Burying the Ex,” directed by Joe Dante, “The Automatic Hate,” directed by Justin Lerner, and “Default,” directed by Simon Brand. Gilmore was nominated for the 2012 Casting Society of America’s Artios Award for outstanding achievement in casting for “A Bag of Hammers.”
IMDB

Paul Schnee
Recent projects include “The Judge,”Dallas Buyers Club” and “August: Osage County.” In addition to casting for film, Schnee is a theater director in New York.
IMDB

Christian Kaplan
Kaplan is Senior Vice President of Feature Casting for 20th Century Fox Film. Some credits include “The Fault in Our Stars,” Wilmington-filmed “The Secret Life of Bees,” and “The Devil Wears Prada.”
IMDB

Lisa Mae Fincannon  Working with the creative team of Fincannon and Associates in Wilmington, N.C., Fincannon has amassed an eclectic body of work, including: “Ender’s Game,” “Looper,” “Red,” “Homeland,” “The Walking Dead,” “Eastbound & Down,” and “From The Earth To The Moon.” She boasts four Emmy nominations, three Emmy wins and five Artios wins.

Fincannon, who is based in Wilmington with her husband Craig Fincannon, and his brother, Mark, got her start almost 30 years ago when studio executive Frank Capra Jr. and film producer Dino De Laurentiis were lured to the North Carolina coast for Stephen King’s “Firestarter.”

Now, the Fincannon casting agency has grown to more than 180 agents from its start with four employees during “Firestarter.”

For more information on the panel or to purchase tickets online, click here.

 

A Communion of Cinematography + Choreography

The Cucalorus Film Festival will kick off festivities with The Dance Cooperative this Wednesday with Dance-a-lorus, a synthesis of dance and film in a live stage event that champions collaboration as a fundamental form of creative expression in a unique sensory experience. Filmmakers have paired with choreographers to create 9 interactive performances, ranging from artistic abstraction to dramatic documentary.

Dancealorus '13

Dance-a-lorus ’13

Much like the interaction between music and the moving image, dancers engage the medium in a dialogue, inspiring audience members to intellectually and emotionally participate on a much deeper level. (No, we won’t make you get up and dance..save that for one of our dance workshops!)

Some highlights from this year’s lineup include:

-“Love or Not,” explores themes of love in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby,” and the profound effect love can have on us.

-“Silent Shout,” provides a thoughtful commentary on the constant rush and varied sources of information our generation is exposed to and how we each try to grapple with this overwhelming overload in different ways.

"Silent Shout" will premiere at Dance-a-lorus on Wednesday.

“Silent Shout” will premiere at Dance-a-lorus on Wednesday.

-“Crawl Space Lovers” offers a new way of finding oneself by an investigation of risk-taking as a vehicle to discover deeper and more intense pleasures.

-“Two Twin Brothers” examines various points of view surrounding the pivotal events of 9/11 and its consequences

Actors in "Crawl Space" explore some risk-taking techniques

Actors in “Crawl Space” explore some risk-taking techniques

-“Capture” is a structured improv performance that centers around 2 humans and various Apple equipment.

-“The Devils Are Really Angels” is a meditation on the allure of the earthly and the freedom found in renunciation

"The Devils are Really Angels"

“The Devils Are Really Angels” will premiere at Dance-a-lorus.

-“In the Pines” pulls its inspiration from an ancient Japanese poem as a meditation on solitude.

-“Lexicon” utilizes a game board as a platform that the dancers must navigate on a journey that begins with instructional narration and graduates to adventures with a puppet named Lu.

Dancers assemble on a game board in "Lexicon."

Dancers assemble on a game board in “Lexicon.”

-“A Home is a Home is a Home” explores the notion of “home,” capturing a range of emotion as it investigates multiple narratives of home.

 

Film and Dance meet in this multimedia art form

Film and Dance co-exist in this multimedia art form

Come experience one of the festival’s most popular traditions of interactive art at 7 p.m. Nov. 12, at Thalian Hall.

Tickets available here >>>

Resident Artist Ruth Paxton on Inspiration and Oysters

For those of you that saw “Nevada,” in the Reelfoot Shorts at Cucalorus 19, it will be no surprise that visionary filmmaker Ruth Paxton has returned to the Cucalorus Film Festival from her native Scotland to grace us yet again with her unique style and uncanny ability to tap the intimacy and complexity of the seamy, sexy, scary and sad sides of life. We couldn’t wait to welcome her back as an artist-in-residence for Cucalorus 20. Paxton returns to Cucalorus with a script of her feature film, “A Hymn For Mars,” currently in development.

A Hymn for Mars” is a dramatic love story about self-discovery set between the Orkney Isles of Scotland and North Carolina. The script follows an emotionally battered Scottish folk singer, Kari, as she travels to Wilmington to discover her voice. There, Kari meets a hardened but hurting U.S. Marine, Mars, who has recently left active duty. Both are stuck and waning in uneasy, temporary states of being.

Paxton will debut selected scenes from “A Hymn for Mars,” at 4:30 p.m. Nov. 16 at Bourgie Nights. The performance will feature local talents Kendra Goehring-Garrett, Jacob Keohane, Nicole Farmer, and Audrey Speicher.

The local cast of "A Hymn For Mars" rehearse for Sunday's event.

The local cast of “A Hymn For Mars” rehearse for Sunday’s event.

We sat down with the filmmaker to discuss her plans for the project, her time in Wilmington thus far and to establish the definitive ranking of the Paxton siblings.

Q: Explain your path to Cucalorus. What specific opportunities did you see in the artist-in-residence program?

A: Lady [festival] ambassador HOPE DICKSON LEACH: Holler! Back in 2013, ahead of Cucalorus that year, she alerted me to the artistic residency. Cucalorus programmed my short “Nevada” and invited me to the 19th edition, where I was able to meet and bribe [festival director] Dan Brawley and [festival programmer] Ash McGuire. I was thoroughly charmed by the festival and it’s locale and applied with forceful enthusiasm … I knew I would use the opportunity to write, but as my feature, “A Hymn for Mars,” started to take shape over summer, it was a joy to know I’d be bringing it to its setting for intense development, thanks to the support of Cucalorus and Creative Scotland.

Q: What have been some personal highlights of your career?

A: I’ve been lucky enough to travel considerably with my work, and I’m very grateful for that.  I’ve been a juror at a phenomenal festival in Lviv, Ukraine called Wiz-Art International Short Festival … Saw great shorts too, obviously. I’ve been a member of various Talent Labs including Toronto International Film Festival and CPH:PIX in Copenhagen, which were particularly memorable. I was a very young filmmaker when I was taken to Beijing and Kolkata to screen work and I spent six months as a resident in Amsterdam developing my first feature screenplay. The globetrotting is fab, but it’s the people you meet along the way, the ones who you keep, that make the experience remarkable, and I’ve collected some rare gems.

Q: What have you been working on while in Wilmington?

A: I arrived with what I’d call a ‘vomit’ draft of my feature, which means it’s the first stab and it’s hella-rough – an exploratory version. Over the first six weeks of my stay, I polished this and was able to inject a HUGE amount of fresh observational detail from walking the streets my characters walk, looking at houses they might live in, hanging in bars where scenes will be set and finding unexpected inspiration in the sounds and nature around me. I’ve even flavored the dialogue with N.C. zest and other things I’ve picked up from Cuca-staff and other locals. The experience of being here, and for the exact same time-period as my lead character, adds SO MUCH depth I can’t tell you. After completing this version, I moved into a period of preparation for my reading.

Q: You’re holding a script reading of your film “A Hymn for Mars,” during the festival. What sort of things, as a director, do you do to make a script reading more dynamic/prone to a performance-type setting than audiences might typically see?

A: So, I cast four local actors, and feel extremely fortunate to be working with Wilmington’s elite (Goehring-Garrett, Keohane, Speicher, Farmer, and production/stage manager Erika Edwards). In the first instance, we read the screen material in a table setting. Then, we met again to breakdown the crucial scenes, which chart the love-arc of my two leads, Kari and Mars. Then, I handpicked the most stage-worthy/dynamic bridging scenes.

After this, I wrote a stage-play version of the material (in two and a half days, which was a bit killer, I’ll be honest – but we read through this material and it flows really nicely). Many of my team are very experienced theater practitioners, so I’m learning a lot from them. Today, we got the piece to its feet and started blocking and shaping the scenes physically. It’s actually been a lot of fun to write theatrically, and allow for experimental performance to express the character’s inner workings. This is all gold dust for me when it comes to continuing development of the screenplay. The actors are now invested in their characters and they are telling me what needs to happen – this is the real gift of this process.

Together we are devising ways to demonstrate theatrically, moments that a close-up on camera would deliver on film. So, you’ll experience the actors delivering a mixture of prose-like narration, private thoughts and dialogue. It’s hectic and heavy. There are some major feels.

Paxton discusses the script with actors during a read-through

Paxton discusses the script with actors during a read-through

Q: Any interesting anecdotes or specific thoughts and experiences that inspired you to write “A Hymn For Mars?”

A: When I was at Cucalorus last year, I stayed at the Hilton Riverside, where every night I’d return to a foyer crowded with Marines celebrating at the USMC birthday balls. I also met a friend (who’d become my cyber pen pal and advisor), who has served as a U.S. Marine. It was an exchange with him over breakfast at a downtown diner that made me want to explore why young men (in particular) choose to join the military. I carry a journal everywhere, and I filled a single one cover to cover on the flight home with thoughts about a feature. I wanted to set a Scottish character against the backdrop of Wilmington and its military element.

Q: We’ve loved having you here in Wilmington as part of the crazy Cucalorus fam. Any highlights/anecdotes/friends from your time here that have stood out?

A: If all goes swimmingly, I’ll be back to shoot my feature in the next year.

This has been pretty special. Man, I’m tearing up just thinking about the people I’ll pine for … Cucalorus runs on pure, unbridled passion and the people who work here are, without question, the most dedicated, hardworking lionhearted humans I’ve had the pleasure of co-existing with.

Above all, however, I will miss Dock Street Osyter Bar’s mussels steamed in beer. I will miss them so much it hurts.

Q: And then lastly, the most important question we have for you: who is the more talented Paxton sibling? (Or are you all just brilliant?)

A: I think Louis [Paxton] would agree, I am.

RSVP to the live script reading and selected performances of “A Hymn for Mars” here!

Paxton gathers with her local cast of "A Hymn for Mars" after a successful rehearsal

Paxton gathers with her local cast of “A Hymn for Mars” after a successful rehearsal

 

 

Film + music merge for HEAD FIRST at Cucalorus

You may have seen her at our Kickstarter Birthday Party. She was the bad ass seamlessly blending her more classical flute training with her ethereal voice and the distinct timbre of electronic instruments. We’re talking about Rozalind MacPhail, of course, Cucalorus artist-in-residence and musical maestro, hailing from St. John’s, Newfoundland.unnamed

The Cucalorus Film Festival is stoked to present the U.S. Premiere of MacPhail’s most recent project, “Head First,” at 7 p.m. Nov. 16, at Bourgie Nights. “Head First” combines a collection of silent films from various Canadian filmmakers with original music composed and performed by the artist and friends.

MacPhail’s electroacoustic music is modern but also “rooted in traditional songwriting,” according to her website. Much of her work emphasizes live performances. We sat down with the artist to discuss “Head First,” her experience at Cucalorus, and the distinct challenges and opportunities her art form offers.

"Head First" will make its U.S premiere at Cucalorus 20

“Head First” will make its U.S premiere at Cucalorus 20

Q: You’ve said before there seemed to be “signs from the universe” that lead you to Cucalorus. What specific opportunities led you to Cucalorus’ artist-in-residency program?

A: The idea of becoming a Cucalorus artistic resident was just a gentle whisper at first, but the message that my gut was trying to tell me kept getting louder and louder each time I ignored it. One of my film mentors, the DIY queen of Canadian filmmaking, Ingrid Veninger (“The Animal Project“), posted about the residency on her Facebook page while I was attending the Banff Centre last year. I remember thinking to myself, “well that’s something I would totally love to do but I could never get that much time off!” All of my insecurities totally held me back from applying. I kept saying to myself that I wasn’t ready for it, couldn’t afford it, could never get the time off work and would never get in. There was just too much at stake.

But the signs kept coming and they were hard to ignore. Ingrid sent out another reminder on Facebook about the residency, almost like it was a sign from the universe that I should apply. I had experienced signs like this before and every time I had acted on them in the past, something beautiful and magical always came out of it. I really wanted to apply but once again, my fear of losing everything I worked so hard to create held me back. When I got in touch with Ingrid to ask her about the residency, she encouraged me to apply, saying that it was the perfect fit for me.

I kept hearing more and more great stories about this amazing film festival in Wilmington. I started having dreams about North Carolina, a place I fondly remembered from visits during my childhood, and I kept hearing about Cucalorus in different creative circles. But it was through a meaningful conversation with close friends that I finally decided to apply, despite not knowing how I was going to make it work. I even wrote to [Dan Brawley,] the director of the film festival, explaining my fears about taking that much time off, and he encouraged me to apply. And as with all things that are meant to be, my application just flowed out of me when I finally decided to complete it. There was no struggle to find the right words.

A few weeks after I submitted my application, I was invited to become an artistic resident which totally blew my mind away. It’s a real honor to be invited to a film festival like Cucalorus. A dream of mine is about to come true: I get to perform the U.S. premiere of “Head First” and collaborate with a vibrant group of filmmakers.

Q: What have been some personal highlights of your career (besides Cucalorus, obviously)?

A: I would have to say the most recent one was performing films from “Head First” at TEDx St. John’s. Never have I worked with such an amazing production team who helped bring everything to such a high level of professionalism.

Another highlight for me was performing the world premiere of “Head First” at the Rolston Recital Hall at the Banff Centre. I used to train at that centre as a classical flutist during my younger years and always dreamed of premiering an important work of my own on that stage. When I was given that opportunity last fall, it was a magical experience. At that moment when I was bowing to my audience, it hit me: years of preparation, years of rejection letters, years living in the fear of the unknown – yet there I was accepting my first standing ovation. All of those moments were preparing me for that very moment. It felt great.

I’ve had so many wonderful experiences performing as guest flutist with some of my favorite indie bands/songwriters. Performing flute with New Jersey’s Yo La Tengo was a dream come true for me. It was from working with Yo La Tengo that I learned the important lesson of less is always more. Finding your place in the flow of what’s already happening is so important.

Q: When scoring a silent film, what informs your sound?

A: Each silent film inspires me to try something new. With that being said, there’s always a common thread in what I do to begin the composing process. I usually begin by watching the film many times in silence, feeling for a tempo that flows with the visuals. Sometimes I will play tunes from my music collection as I watch the film. I played Four Tet’s “Everything is Alright” to the film, FLOE, a number of times before I began sorting out what instrumentation I would use. Now, I’ve been focusing a lot on creating groove in every composition I write for film. Once I find that groove, I work out what instrumentation I hear and the rest just happens with lots of time to let the music breathe.

Rozalind from the lens of fellow artist-in-residence Ruth Paxton

Rozalind from the lens of fellow artist-in-residence Ruth Paxton

Q: What have you been working on while in Wilmington?

A: When I first arrived, I was madly working at completing the DVD authoring of “Head First” with local film editor and filmmaker, TK Turbo. Once the authoring was complete, I was focusing on the DVD design and then it was sent off for manufacturing. Just last week, I received the manufactured DVDs and they look beautiful!

Since completing “Head First,” I have been collaborating with local filmmakers on “Wilmington.” Through this project, I plan to capture some of the images and sounds that have inspired me during my time in the area. I’ve written two songs for the project so far … It’s gotten to the point that I don’t leave the house without my field recorder, just in case I can capture another new sound for the project. We’ll also premiere Matt Gossett’s silent film from “Wilmington” as I perform the music live during Cucalorus resident artist Shona Thomson’s presentation, “To See Ourselves as Others See Us.”

Thanks to the amazing staff at Cucalorus, I have also been fortunate to intern with a local cooking TV show, “Secrets of Coastal Chefs.” I’ve been learning so much from those talented folks about lighting, product shots, location recording, working with actors and writing scripts. I also worked as crew for a wedding video shoot, which taught me a great deal.

After the festival, I’ll spend two weeks focusing on creating my own silent films with the help of my Super 8 camera and inspiration from Wrightsville Beach. I plan to hand process the film using vitamin c and coffee grinds to see if I can pull off a more environmentally friendly way of hand processing. It should give the films a gritty look – which I like.

Q: Your project “Head First” will make its U.S. Premiere at Cucalorus 20. Explain how that feels and what your journey with the project has been like.

A: “Head First” has been a real labor of love that has taken me seven years to complete. It is a real collaborative effort, involving 11 filmmakers, 13 musicians and a multitude of engineers, film editors and photographers from all across Canada. I couldn’t be more excited … It’s always been one of my goals to not only tour Canada, but to see the world through sharing my music. The U.S. was the next step in making that happen. Europe is next.

Q: “Head First” focuses on various Canadian talents, whereas “Wilmington” will highlight talent from the Cape Fear region. What ingredients would you say make these two communities ripe for this kind of storytelling?

A: Silent film and music pair so beautifully together. I could spend my entire lifetime trying to capture the magic this wonderful medium brings. Each person has a unique story to tell and every community has many stories to share. Silent film and music help to bring those stories to life in a way people can relate to.

Q: We’ve loved having you here as part of the crazy Cucalorus family. Any highlights/anecdotes/friends from your time here that have stood out?

A: It’s a very special time. I can feel it in every inch of my being. I will be cherishing the wonderful memories we have created here for years to come … But it’s the people who have taught me the most here, from my wonderful artistic resident roommates, Ruth Paxton and Addison Adams, to the amazing folks who make the magic happen here at Cucalorus. This is such a supportive community. It will be difficult to leave this magical place when the time comes, although I know I will return.

Now that I’ve gotten a taste of this beautiful place, it won’t be long until I’m itching to get back to share the new project in the place where it was created.

RSVP to the LIVE Premiere of MacPhail’s “Head First” here!

“Bag Boy Lover Boy” makes its NC Premiere at Cuc’ 20

Andres Torres’ “Bag Boy Lover Boy” will make its NC premiere this Sunday at City Stage as part of our Convulsions program. The soon-to-be cult classic follows the awkward, at-times cringeworthy life of Albert (Jon Wachter), a Canal Street hot-dog vendor dubbed by Indiewire as “strangeness personified.

Click to watch the trailer!

Click to watch the trailer!

When Albert is discovered by voyeuristic photographer, Ivan (who sees Albert as a path to grotesquerie a la Diane Arbus,) he agrees to pose in a series of depraved photo shoots with the promise that Ivan will teach him about art. After witnessing countless photographers pick up women, lonely Albert thinks this might be his “in” with the bohemian girl of his dreams, Lexy.

Soon Albert begins to take his own photographs, now well versed on Ivan’s unsavory muses and techniques. Spurred by a lengthy history of unfortunate encounters with women, Albert’s endeavors delve deep into the dark side of the human psyche, taking audiences on a violent, strange and unforgettable ride that’s sure to knock the waffles right out of you. Folks can check out the disturbed world of “Bag Boy Lover Boy” at City Stage on Sunday, November 16 at 7:15 p.m.

Buy tickets here.

 

 

Volunteer with Cucalorus, earn street cred

Interested in FREE tickets to screenings and adding the best festival in the intergalactic universe to your resume? Join the fam and volunteer for Cucalorus! We pay in the currency of moonshine and waffles.

Volunteer Coordinator Tommy “Waffles” Van Arsdale is getting all his chickens in a row and is still looking for a few key volunteers!

(That's Tommy on the left.)

That’s Tommy on the left.

Open positions include:

• Drivers with their own set of wheels (magic pumpkins and other gourds will be taken into consideration) to transport filmmakers to and fro.

• Emcee wrangler. They’re a wild, rowdy bunch. (Lasso optional.)

Jengo’s Playhouse Backyard Manager. Responsible for overseeing set up, breakdown, and maintenance of the carefully crafted chill vibrations of Jengo’s backyard.

• Security. Big, burly men and women with a well-rehearsed authoritative stare-down.

• Craft services/food transportation. Reliable form of transportation required, along with a controllable appetite (Never again, James Martin…)

Contact volunteer coordinator Thomas Van Arsdale at volunteer@cucalorus.org or stop by Cucalorus headquarters at 815 Princess Street for more information.