‘The Devil’s Stomping Ground’ will open 2022 Cucalorus Film Festival

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - When the curtain rises Wednesday evening for the 28th Annual Cucalorus Film Festival in Wilmington, a movie shot and produced in North Carolina will be the event’s opening feature. “The Devil’s Stomping Ground,” produced by the team of Jon and Marty Landau, will be shown at 7:00 p.m. at the Thalian Hall Main Stage.

“It’s a found footage movie like the Blair Witch Project was,” said Jon Landau, who wrote and directed the film, along with being one of the producers. “It’s about 15 college students that are in filmmaking school, and their senior project is to make a short narrative movie. They decided that they’re going to make their movie about some college kids that go up to this real place in North Carolina called The Devil’s Tramping Ground, which is south of Siler City. The legend is that once you go up there, and you spend the night in the circle, the circle where nothing ever grows if you spend the night in that circle, you will be forever changed.”

Landau says the production team shot at the actual Devil’s Tramping Ground in Bear Creek, NC, and at sites in Wilmington. The veteran producer says he first heard about the legend as he wrapped production on a short film called “The Vamprentice” in 2016. Once he studied its history, he decided to work on the story involving the film students.

“I purposely cast people that were either still in college or were not necessarily actors,” Landau said about the young cast in his film. “I wanted them to have the feel of being real people, and I definitely think that comes through in the movie.”

The chance to open Cucalorus, which has grown to be one of the top independent film festivals in the world, is not lost on Landau. It continues his long history with the event, which started with the promotional short “My Friends and Me” showing at the inaugural festival in 1994.

“It does mean a lot,” Landau said. “The very first Cucalorus, which was at Water Street Restaurant downtown, a movie that I made was the closing film, and now 28 years later, I have the opening night feature. So, you know, it is pretty amazing to think that I’ve been doing this long. I guess I’m feeling pretty old!”

To get tickets to “The Devil’s Stomping Ground” opening night premiere at Thalian Hall, you can click here. For more information on passes to all of the events included in Cucalorus 2022, you can click here to visit the event’s website.

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Jon Evans

Jon Evans

Jon Evans is marking his 39th year in television news in 2022 and his 45th year in broadcasting. He anchors “WECT News at 5:30”, co-anchors “WECT News at 6pm” and “WECT News at 11pm” with Frances Weller, and co-anchors “WECT News at 10” on Fox Wilmington with Daniella Hankey. Jon hosts and produces the award-winning “1on1 with Jon Evans” podcast.