“Wandering Cinema: stories of integration” is a project that was designed to bring integration through culture. It was held from may 23rd until may 29 in Amantea (CS) and it was organized by La Guarimba with support from ‘Migrarti – Cinema” a call for proposals issued by the Italian Ministry of Cuture.
It is hard to summarise all of the events and feelings of the project, but we will do our best to describe “Wandering Cinema”. We were sure that we were not going to be selected in the ministry’s call for proposals because it is said that in Italy it is very difficult to win a contest organized by pubic bodies if you don’t have connections on the inside.
But we were wrong: The Ministry actually judged the project based on our organisation’s history and our proposal. We decided to work even harder to make something bigger and better than what they were expecting.
With the money from the ministry we organized a new Guarimba School ( #ScuolaGuarimba) based on integration and partecipatory democracy. We were doing this in Calabria, a region with as many problems as there are opportunities. We gave the chance to learn documentary ad collaborative processes to 19 people from 10 different countries: Italians, foreigners and asylum seekers. The tutor behind this method was Tomás Sheridan.
We organized an illustration workshop within the asylum seeker centre of Amantea because we believe in defending the right to happiness. The persons who participated in the workshop they left they imagination fly, making stamps, matte masks and drawings that we then hung on the wall, making some areas of the centre more colorful.
The tutor was Sara Fratini. She also made a mural on one of the walls of the centre with the help of some of the asylum seekers. The subject of the mural was dozens of faces of people from different cultures, races and religions.
We programmed screenings of short and feature-length films that had integrations as their main subject. The objective of the screenings was to make people think and learn more about immigration issues that are offen marred by over-simplified media portrayals and prejudices of our society.
For the first time in the history of the town, asylum seekers were welcomed into the local theater. For some of them it was the first time they entered a theater in their lives. It was an emotional experience, not only for them but for us too.
Part of the program was aimed at the Schools of Amantea and Campora San Giovanni. After the screenings we discussed the meaning of immigration today and how it relates to Italian immigration after World War II. Carmen Iallorenzi, our cultural mediator was in charge of the debates. As an NGO we were keen to involve the students in our “Wandering Cinema” project because we believe in using cinema as a tool to create awareness and as a way to discover new and different things.
As well as the screenings and the workshops we organized meetings with NGOs to understand more about their work in our region.
We had a panel debate with EMERGENCY and Pietro Protasi, chair of EMERGENCY and we listened the experiences of Roberto Aloe from AUSER, Amantea who gave us the chance to enter the asylum seeker centre for the first time. We also welcomed Giovanni Manoccio, former mayor of Acquaformosa, a town where integration helped human and economic growth of the town. Representing the institutions we hosted Enza Bruno Bossio (Camera dei Deputati) and Monica Sabatino (Mayor of Amantea). Their presence gave the public and the attending asylum seekers the opportunity to ask questions relating to the daily issues they deal with in Italy. The event was moderated by L’Espresso’s journalist Floriana Bulfon, who I personally admire and who I met and got to know thanks to this project.
We also invited Don Giacomo Panizza from Comunità Progetto Sud who made us dream with his stories of rebellion and the successes in his battles against injustice, his work of solidarity and reception of the most vulnerable in society.
Nicola Barbuto made a documentary on the whole experience of Scuola Guarimba.
The cinema workshop resulted in 7 amazing documentaries that tell the story of integration through the eyes of the participants. Even if the participants had a short amount of time to get to know each other, create, produce, edit and make the subtitles, I am so pleased with their work that the resulting shorts will screened as part of La Guarimba International Film Fetsival 2016’s programme, in August in Amantea.
We ate Gambian rise, we danced to Latin-American and African music and to our Tarantella and we sung songs of Rino Gaetano and Battisti.
We laughed, we cried and we loved, hoping it might never end! The party is over but my heart is full in the knowledge that I was part of this amazing project made with love and talent.
I want to thank all the participants and journalists that they have spread the word of La Guarimba, the audience, the institutions, and the private sponsors who believed in us, all the collaborators and all who believed in the importance of loving each other and working together to reach success.
Thank you rebels! Thank you Guarimberos!