WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - It started with just 16 films.
Now, in its 23rd year, the Cucalorus Festival will screen around 300 independent films, narrowed down from more than 2,000 submissions, and the festival is no longer just about film. Cucalorus even dropped the word "film" from its branding.
Dan Brawley, who organizes the yearly event, said this year marks the biggest transformation in the history of the festival.
The festival is growing its Connect Conference portion of the event, which highlights Wilmington's innovation economy. Cucalorus first launched Connect in 2015.
"A couple things were happening," Brawley explained. "Downtown Wilmington is changing; the new hotels and all of the infrastructure in downtown really encouraged us that this was the time for Cucalorus to grow a little bit. The other thing is the emerging scene of companies driven by technology and the entrepreneurs in Wilmington who are changing the economic face of the city. So, we felt like this was a really good opt to showcase the evolving economic identity of the Cape Fear region."
Connect has more than 50 events including speeches, panel workshops and parties.
Still, Brawley said fans of the film portion of the event will recognize the festival they know and love.
For a schedule of events and for ticket information, click here.