The Cucalorus Film Foundation has been approved for a second Grants for Arts Projects award from the National Endowment for the Arts. The $15,000 grant will support the Cucalorus Works-in-Progress Lab, a program organized through a partnership with Working Films for unfinished social justice documentaries made by Black filmmakers. With an award announced earlier this year to support the 27th annual Cucalorus Film Festival, this makes a total of $40,000 in funding from the National Endowment for the Arts for the Wilmington, NC-based non-profit. The lab is among the more than 1,100 projects across America totaling nearly $27 million that were selected during this second round of Grants for Arts Projects fiscal year 2021 funding.

“As the country and the arts sector begin to imagine returning to a post-pandemic world, the National Endowment for the Arts is proud to announce funding that will help arts organizations such as the Cucalorus Film Foundation re engage fully with partners and audiences,” said NEA Acting Chairman Ann Eilers. “Although the arts have sustained many during the pandemic, the chance to gather with one another and share arts experiences is its own necessity and pleasure.

“We’re so honored to be recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts for the Works-in-Progress Lab. The lab is a deep collaboration with Working Films and supports our effort to create sustainable career opportunities for Southern Media makers but especially to promote, uplift, and sustain the careers of Black filmmakers,” shared Cucalorus Executive Director Dan Brawley.

The Cucalorus Works-in-Progress Lab, a seven-day residency on the Cucalorus campus, was launched in 2008 through a partnership with Working Films. The lab focuses on documentaries about Black historical injustice in the US South, telling stories that have been under-represented in mainstream media, and often only told by White media makers. Themes covered by the program range from issues surrounding systematic racism to a celebration of Black cultural traditions. Alumni of the program include Christopher Everett with Wilmington on Fire, chronicling the massacre of African Americans by White Supremacists in Wilmington on November 10, 1898; Ricky Kelly with Black Beach/White Beach: A Tale of Two Beaches, exploring racial tensions that boil in Myrtle Beach each year when a primarily black and a primarily white motorcycle festival are held simultaneously; and Jacqueline Olive with Always in Season, illuminating how the trauma of more than a century of lynching African Americans bleeds into the present.

For more information on the projects included in the Arts Endowment grant announcement, visit