By Krys Estes
A federal agency that supports the arts has raised its grant donation to the annual Cucalorus film festival while also adding a University of North Carolina Wilmington publication to its list of grant recipients.
The National Endowment for the Arts will award the Cucalorus film festival with a $25,000 grant in 2016 to support the annual downtown event that showcases more than 200 films and events. The grant is an increase in previous NEA funding. The festival was awarded $15,000 last year and $20,000 in 2013.
“We’re proud to be one of a select group of organizations who have achieved the support of the most respected funding source in the country,” said Cucalorus executive director Dan Brawley. “Continued support from the NEA highlights and uplifts the long-term commitment that Cucalorus has made to supporting the boldest and most visionary filmmakers. In addition to helping us put dollars in the hands of artists, an award from the NEA acts as a catalyst for further funding and for a deeper understanding of the value of film festivals and their ability to touch people.”
The NEA also awarded a $10,000 grant to the Ecotone journal, a project of the University of North Carolina Wilmington that is produced by faculty and staff of the Masters of Fine Arts program in the creative writing department. The magazine has been published since 2005 and will be promoted at national conferences, as well as through the website and social media, the North Carolina Arts Council said.
“Ecotone’s mission is to publish and promote the best place-based work being written today,” the journal’s website said. “The award-winning magazine features writing and art that reimagine place, and our authors interpret this charge expansively. The magazine explores the ecotones between landscapes, literary genres, scientific and artistic disciplines, modes of thought.”
Cucalorus, which recently concluded its 21st film festival in Wilmington, was praised in MovieMaker Magazine as “One of the Coolest Film Festivals in the World” for 2015 and has grown into one of the largest film festivals in the South.
The event drew more than 17,000 and screened 269 films from 27 countries. The festival touts a commitment to “multi-disciplinary arts, supporting emerging and innovative creative professionals, a residency program, a summer camp for teen filmmakers, a micro-cinema, technology and entrepreneurial conferences and an extensive community engagement program.”
The grant will help fund the 22nd annual Cucalorus Film Festival, scheduled for Nov. 9-13, 2016, in downtown Wilmington and will feature more than 150 events, including screenings, workshops, installations and performances.
Overall, the NEA supported 16 organizations in North Carolina, distributing a total of $320,000 in grants. The NEA plans to support 1,126 projects across the United States totaling $27.7 million in grants this year.
“Supporting projects like those in North Carolina offers more opportunities to engage in the arts every day,” said Jane Chu, NEA chairman. “The arts are part of our everyday lives, no matter who you are or where you live. They have the power to transform individuals, spark economic vibrancy in communities, and transcend the boundaries across diverse sectors of society.”