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Cucalorus Launches Kickstarter To Hold Its Annual Festival In Person

By Johanna Cano, posted Jul 7, 2021
Cucalorus Film Festival has launched a Kickstarter campaign aimed at bringing the annual film festival back in person this year.

The campaign has the goal of reaching $27,000 in donations, having received more than $5,000 as of Wednesday afternoon.

According to the Kickstarter post, the pandemic has taken a big toll on the organization.

Dan Brawley, head of the festival, said the pandemic last year made it tough with the organization not being able to gather in person.

“So last year really took the wind out of our sails. The drive-in screenings were a nice solution to a difficult situation, but we really thrive on being together,” Brawley said in an email. “And also, we lost about $200,000 in revenue. We did make up a little bit of that with some relief funding, but we were on a pretty exciting run of building our revenue to a sustainable level with many years of more than 10% growth.”
 
Cucalorus, in partnership with UNCW Office of the Arts, StarNews and WHQR Public Media, hosted the Curbside Cinema series, bringing films in a drive-in format during the height of the pandemic.
 
The organization always relies on donors to make the festival happen, Brawley said, adding that this is the ninth crowdfunding campaign that Cucalorus has run in the past 12 years.
 
“The good news is that we're okay. With some tight financial management, new income sources from hosting more than 60 drive-in and outdoor screenings last year, Cucalorus is in a stable financial position,” Brawley said.
 
Hosting a crowdfunding campaign is the most effective way to connect with donors, who come from all over the world, he said.
 
The crowdfunding campaign is open through July 28 at midnight and will only be funded if it reaches its goal by that date.
 
Pledges can be made without a reward, but donors can also choose from many perks, including writing a message on a Jengo’s Playhouse bathroom wall, bumper stickers, T-shirts, event tickets, a voicemail recording by Brawley and more.

The 27th annual Cucalorus Film Festival takes place November 10-14. Last year’s festival included a mix of virtual and in-person events with films being viewed at drive-ins and online.

In addition to donations, many of the programs Cucalorus runs, including providing funding for filmmakers, regional festivals, a residency program, youth education programs and more, are funded through specific contracts through grants, government and foundations, Brawley said.

“The money we raise through Kickstarter is really critical to our overall health and our ability to host a creative, imaginative experience,” he said. “Funding from donors gives us the flexibility to respond and adapt in ways that are just so important to both running a business but also putting on a great festival.”

Click here for the Kickstarter campaign.
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