Startups Chosen For Cucalorus 10x10 Challenge

By Jenny Callison, posted Mar 29, 2021
The lineup of startup players in this year’s Cucalorus 10x10 Challenge has been announced,  and they'll be warming up prior to the project’s start on April 11.
The annual project pairs each of the 10 young ventures with a young filmmaker, a business student and a production company in a five-day challenge to produce a short film about the business.
On April 11, the starting gun goes off as all the players meet their teammates at Wilmington’s Genesis Block business accelerator, which joined with Cucalorus and the University of North Carolina Wilmington’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship to produce this year’s event. The resulting films will screen in the backyard of Jengo’s Playhouse on April 16. 
“The Cucalorus 10x10 Challenge is a unique opportunity to bring two critical clusters of the economy together for an intensive, short-term experiment in storytelling and media-making,” Rachel Taylor, managing director of the Cucalorus Film Foundation, said in an email Monday. “The program provides professional development opportunities for filmmakers and startups on many levels, from the practical side of shaping a message to the inspiration drawn from intense creative production.”
This year’s startups are either minority- or woman-owned. They are:
  • Art by Nugget – Two street artists who create commissioned public art and offer art classes
  • Creators’ Print House – A company offering digital printing of clothing and other fabric products
  • Healing Your Almond – A clinician who provides counseling and trauma healing in the workplace
  • Lapetus Solutions – Scientists who have developed tools to enable industries to predict life events more accurately
  • Leath HR Group’s WorkTok – An employee engagement app
  • MeMa’s Chick’n Ribs – A Burgaw restaurant serving up Southern specialties
  • MoB Theatre Company – A troupe of young adults focusing on new works and community engagement
  • Poseidon Elite Athletics – Trainers who offer athletic training in the areas of conditioning, strength and sports performance
  • Prosein – A Venezuelan company specializing in porcelain and ceramic tile products, bathroom fixtures and stonework that has established a showroom in Wilmington
  • Zizi – A marketplace for independent retailers
"We had an incredible pool of applicants this year with close to 30 startups interested in participating in this unique experience, where arts and innovation converge and cool things are created,” Laura Brogdon-Primavera, manager of programs and operations at the CIE, said in her email to the selected businesses.

Brogdon-Primavera told the participants they will be randomly matched with a film production company, a film student and a business student who will form the team.

At the initial Genesis Block meeting, “you will then have time to work with your team and lay out your schedule for the rest of the week,” she wrote.

UNCW film studies and business students have been part of the 10x10 project since its inception in 2014, giving them an opportunity to work alongside professionals in their fields of study, Brogdon-Primavera said.

“It’s an incredible journey through the creative process and provides them an incomparable applied learning experience that they can share in future interviews with potential employers and even make connections ‘on the ground’ with potential employers that may want to hire them post-graduation,” she added. “No two films are the same, no two experiences are the same. Each year we know it’s possible a team or two may not finish, but so far those involved are so committed to seeing it through. We want the businesses to understand that it’s not about the final product, rather the journey to get there, that matters.”

Correction: This version has been updated to correct Zizi's company description.
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