The Works-in-Progress Lab (WiP) is a partnership between Cucalorus and Working Films that supports the audience engagement and impact strategies of social issue documentaries being made by Black filmmakers. The week-long virtual residency is a key program of the annual Cucalorus. Five filmmakers receive extensive community feedback during a series of public and private screenings, workshops, and one-on-one consultations with expert mentors.

We’re thrilled to announce that the following documentary films have been selected for the 2020 WiP lab:

17 Days directed by and about Christine Varisse, is a dissection of her immigration journey prompted after receiving a notice of deportation. In the film, she retraces her footsteps towards citizenship while rebuilding the relationship with her mother broken by the immigration system while examining a variety of issues that historically and still today impact the system, in particular black immigration rights.

Saltwata Vibes: Sankofa Seeds from Geechee Roots directed by Sherard Duvall examines how the 20-40 year old generation of Gullah Geechee are redefining their identity and reclaiming their power through creating a modern musical expression that is wholly their own. Following a Gullah Geechee brother and sister, descendants of the enslaved from West Africa, who are on a quest to evolve their culture. Can evolution keep it alive?

This Belongs To Us directed by Atinuke Diver questions how beer brewing, a practice that began in Africa, became synonymous with White male identity in the United States, and will cover the historical, systemic and current barriers faced by Black-owned breweries in general, as well as in particular for a Black, woman/female brewer in the American South, Eastern North Carolina.

These Kids This City directed by Dorian Munroe, is centered around the young people of Liberty City Miami and its infamous bike culture, which reaches its pinnacle every Martin Luther King Day, when thousands flood the streets on dirt bikes and four wheelers riding in a form of rebellion and community.

They Tried to Bury Us directed by nationally recognized activist Bree Newsome, documents unfolding events as her hometown becomes the epicenter of national clashes over racism and other systemic problems, exploring how the city’s commitment to host the 2020 Republican convention highlights contradictions between Charlotte’s projected image as a progressive city and its continued legacy of segregation.

The Works-in-Progress Lab is designed and led by Working Films, a twenty year old Wilmington based nonprofit organization that is nationally recognized for it’s work using documentaries as a resource to inform and involve communities in addressing social and environmental issues that impact their lives. The 2020 Works-in-Progress Lab mentors include acclaimed filmmakers Byron Hurt and Jacqueline Olive.

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