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 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.

The following documentary films were selected for the 2021 WiP lab:

2021 Works-in-Progress Lab Participants

Little Sallie Walker by Marta Effinger-Crichlow

Play is a lifeline for Black girls across the generations. Little Sallie Walker tells the story of Patricia, Billie Jean, Raisha, and Kristi, who instinctively understood that coming-of-age in America involved creating and cultivating worlds-of-make believe through different types of play. Pattycake, dress-up, double dutch, dollmaking, and hide-and-seek offered sanctuary from discrimination, violence, and poverty.

My Mother is an Artist by Maya Horton

My Mother is an Artist tracks the impact of one mother’s incarceration and follows her journey to get justice, make art and find joy. After serving 30 years in prison for murder, Lajuana Lampkins is now a staple in Wicker Park, Chicago, where she sells her drawings to the late-night crowd.

Humble in the Jungle by Ricky Kelly

The Jungle Brothers are known as the pioneers of the fusion of jazz, hip-hop, and house music.Their hip-house club hit single, “I’ll House You” changed the course of hip-hop and dance music by expanding it across the globe. With all the fame and success, Michael Small aka “Mike Gee”, an unassuming licensed plumber and family man shows humility and astounding work ethic by continuing to work full time as a plumber while performing with The Jungle Brothers

Paradise by Gabby Sumney

Paradise is deep dive into a multiracial Caribbean American family history exploring race, immigration, and imperialism. Featuring interviews from Sumney’s family, historians, and others and using a variety of stylistic elements to interrogate these issues, the film is a series of five non-linear acts tied together by the central themes of race and national origin.

Duality: A Collection of Afro Indigenous Perspectives by Kimberly M. Knight and Frederick Murphy

Duality is a collection of experiences by individuals who identify as Afro Indigenous from various tribes across the United States.The film will explore the history of the two ethnic groups individually and as a collective via the institution of slavery,food ways, dance, dress, spirituality, legal challenges, marginalization, resilience, state/federal recognition and much more.

The Works-in-Progress Lab is designed and led by Working Films, a twenty three year old Wilmington based nonprofit organization that is nationally recognized for their work to inform and involve communities by resourcing them with Documentaries that address social and environmental issues that impact their lives. The 2021 Works-in-Progress Lab mentors include acclaimed filmmakers Byron Hurt and Jacqueline Olive.

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