Nov. 13--A complete list of works in progress is available at the end of this article.
Polished new films hit theaters every week, sporting the latest in special effects and perfectly scored music to elicit just the right emotions. Often forgotten once the film's name is up in lights are the months, and sometimes years, of work and planning.
Since 2008, the Cucalorus Film Festival has been a home to films not quite big-screen-ready with its Works-In-Progress program. Allowing filmmakers the platform to present rough cuts, clips or even script readings, the program creates a dialogue between the filmmaker and audience about what works, what doesn't and what goes into the production process.
Cucalorus director Dan Brawley said the program grew out of conversations about how to position Cucalorus as a distinct festival among other festivals nationwide.
"The program provides a fascinating peek into a filmmaker's process," Brawley said. "It is valuable for audiences to see how a filmmaker builds a film."
During this year's festival, which runs through Sunday, content from 13 in-progress films will be screened at Jengo's Playhouse, with each filmmaker making an appearance to speak with audiences.
Past participants in the program have gone on to complete their films, appear at festivals and gain theatrical runs. One film that began as a work-in-progress selection will return to the festival this year as a finished product.
"Revenge of the Mekons," directed by Joe Angio, is a bass-bumping documentary about The Mekons, a genre-defying rock band that formed in the wake of the punk era and has survived 36 years with its original lineup intact. The film focuses on the band's history, comeback and how its members have reinvented their style.
The film was one of the first Works-In-Progress in 2009, when Angio and Mekons band member Jon Langford showed clips of completed footage and then discussed them with an audience to see which parts worked.
"Revenge of the Mekons" will have its world premiere on Friday in New York City before its Cucalorus screening 7:30 p.m. Saturday at City Stage.
WORKS IN PROGRESS
All works in progress are screened at Jengo's Playhouse, 815 Princess St.
'A Quiet Inquisition': This stirring project follows an OBGYN in Nicaragua whose job was changed in 2007 when a newly elected official banned therapeutic abortions. The film follows the doctor and the health care system as they find ways to obey the law and save lives. 10:45 a.m. Friday
'Bipolar Girl Rules the World and Other Stories': Told through animation, this documentary allows five people living with mental illness to voice their stories about the trials, tribulations and potential gifts that come with mental disorders. 1:30 p.m. Sunday
'Freedom Fights': Exonerated after having spent years in prison, three men start a detective agency in Dallas to help free the falsely accused still behind bars. Director Jamie Meltzer has had other documentaries shown on PBS and in film festivals nationwide. 1:30 p.m. Saturday
'Irene': Filmmaker Maurice Martinez, a professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, directs this documentary about a Pender County woman in who grew up impoverished but found success in the U.S. Navy. 11 a.m. Sunday
'Living Off the Line -- Stories from the Clothesline Muse': This documentary explores women's increasingly distant relationship with doing laundry. 4:45 p.m. Friday
'Rodents of Unusual Size': In the wetlands of Louisiana, the locals are facing an environmental crisis perpetrated by 20-pound semi-aquatic rodents known as nutria, which have increased coastal erosion and made the area more vulnerable to hurricanes. This doc introduces a group of colorful locals who have taken matters into their own hands. 4:30 p.m. Saturday
'Tenants of the Earth': A trilogy of short films directed by North Carolina-resident Martha Daniels, this project chronicles a downed B52 bomber and its lost nuclear warhead, a mortician who unearths the dead and a rural pet cemetery. 1:30 p.m. Thursday
'The Bill': A documentary about the battle over legalizing birth control in the Philippines. Director Ramona Diaz has previously won an award for cinematography at the Sundance Film Festival. 10:45 a.m. Friday
'The Real Black Swans': A look the lack of diversity in professional ballet companies, as told through the stories of three dancers who have defied the odds. 10:45 a.m. Saturday
'Tommy! The Dreams I Keep Inside Me': The moving story of a 60-year-old autistic man who follows his dream to a become a big-band singer. 1:45 p.m. Friday
'Trapped': Documentary about the workers of a clinic sidelined by the Alabama legislature's ban on abortions. With the help of a Chicago doctor, the clinic tries to finds ways to maintain a woman's right to choose. 7:30 p.m. Thursday
'Untitled': Documentary highlighting the history of sterilizations of Native American woman in the 1960s and 1970s at the Los Angeles County Hospital. 10:45 a.m. Friday
'Wilmington on Fire': The infamous story of the 1898 Wilmington race riots, widely called the only successful coup d'etat in American history. 4:30 p.m. Thursday
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