Associazione Culturale La Guarimba

La Guarimba is a cultural organisation situated in the southern Italian region of Calabria that uses culture as a vehicle to promote values of participatory democracy, integration and accessibility. Our main goal is to bring the cinema back to the people and the people back to the cinema.

Founded by Calabro-Venezuelan Giulio Vita (1988) and street artist and illustrator Sara Fratini (1985).

Guarimba, in the venezuelan indigenous language, means “safe place”.

HOW WAS LA GUARIMBA BORN?

Giulio Vita was born in Italy and grew up in Venezuela. He studied Journalism in Caracas and, after being kidnapped and tortured by the police for protesting against the government, he decided to return to Italy. He went on to study Cinema in Madrid. There he met Sara Fratini, a Venezuelan illustrator who was studying Fine Arts at the time. After graduation, together with Pablo Cristóbal and Alicia V. Palacios Thomas, they started drinking beer in a city centre bar, complaining about how superficial the world of film festivals was. And so, as if for a game, they decided to create La Guarimba.

At the end of 2012, Sara and Giulio went to live in Amantea, the small village in Calabria where Giulio’s grandparents are from, while Pablo and Alicia stayed in Madrid with the idea of selecting the short films from there. They gave themselves a year’s time. Sara started her project as an illustrator and Giulio started producing what would be the first edition of the film festival.

WHAT IS LA GUARIMBA?

In the beginning, La Guarimba was born as a short film festival and an event. It was notarised as a Cultural Association, then smarter people than us called it Social Innovation, and later the volunteers and directors who came to the first editions renamed it Community Experience because of our way of doing. But for us it is a life’s project, a bet won over pessimism, global economy and the myth that tells children that there is nothing to do in the South.

WHAT IS OUR MISSION?

Our main goals is to bring cinema back to people and people back to the cinema.

Creating a Multicultural Area in which there is a political connection with the world. La Guarimba must contribute to creating an atmosphere of empathy, understanding, integration and action.

Reintroducing cinema as a social act with which we oppose to living in an increasingly individualistic world. We need to create a meeting point where we can share ideas and live a collective but also a personal experience.

FAQs

HOW DID YOU CHOOSE WHERE TO SCREEN THE FILMS?

In 2012 we were faced with Amantea’s cultural reality: all the cinemas were closed. But at the same time with the History of the town: in the past it was a cinematographic gathering centre for a good part of the Tyrrhenian coast, especially for the legendary Arena Sicoli, an outdoor colossus with 938 seats that many years ago managed to pack the house. In 2013 we convinced Sergio Sicoli -the owner- to lend us the cinema for four days of festival in exchange for repairing it with our hands and our resources. So we went to work, helping the social media to tell what we were doing and to motivate the local community to help us. Many responded to the call and on 7 August 2013 we reopened the Sicoli Arena. Sergio, touched, was able to relive the joy of the spectators.

The following year, due to issues within the Sicoli family, we were unable to get back the permission to host the second edition there. Without wasting much time, we immediately set to work to find a new cinema. La Grotta Park is one of the most beautiful properties of the Municipality of Amantea. It is a huge natural cave once close to the sea that was able to accommodate many boats.

The space was perfect. The problem was the screen, the chairs, the system. In short, everything else. We called screen and service companies all over Europe. Finally, AIRSCREEN from Austria offered to help us with their 12-meter inflatable screen. The Municipality helped us with the chairs and our friends from the Cleto Festival lent us the sound system.

Over the years we have invested in a sound system of our own and we have improved our understanding of how to use the park without being intrusive, but engaging the viewers to experience cinema as a social act, with the freedom of outdoor space without losing its intimacy. We are cortazarians: we strongly believe in the seriousness of fun.

WHAT IS YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE?

We believe in the democratization of culture, accessibility and the green carpet. We have the goal of normalizing art house films, taking them out of the living rooms and getting them back on the streets. In contrast to what characterises mass audio-visual entertainment, we like to respect our audience, challenge them rather than satisfy them.

Respecting the audience means offering a selection of pleasant but thoughtful works. Showing short films that are not merely compliant with viewers. Assistants must be able to enjoy quality entertainment with interesting narratives, and we must ensure the opportunity of seeing art house cinema that revives our senses and investigate both ourselves and the experience of living in a shared world.

Over the years the audience has grown a lot and now the festival is not only local but has a strong international appeal. And even if this makes us proud, our main target is the old farmers and sailors, our grandparents’ generation, the one that had neither the time nor the money for education or culture. Being able to see that generation every night there, in front of films that challenge even the great critics, has been a strategy that every year proves successful: we are among those short film festivals that can guarantee a presence of 300-1000 people per short film.

HOW DO YOU ENGAGE THE AUDIENCE?

When we organized the first edition we realized some challenges that we had to overcome in order to be successful: we found ourselves with a young local population that was not used to going to the cinema, and with the older one that used to go but not to see films in original language, let alone the short film format. There was a generation that grew up with viral videos on their phones and another that remembered Ben Hur without ever having heard Charlton Heston’s voice. But the biggest challenge was that of mistrust. The Calabrian society has a strong lack of trust towards others and even our greatest efforts of Venezuelan optimism have been in difficulty in these years. With time, however, we realized that many of these problems were located in the way we communicate. Improving our communication is one of our pillars for creating a better relationship with our audience.

We worked with the local audience, from explaining what a short film was, to creating a programme that reflects all our categories. All the films that are screened are subtitled in Italian and English. The festival offers contents for all audiences and all ages, with the aim of shedding light on current issues not only from a cultural but also a social point of view.

In truth, we haven’t invented anything new. We have only been more romantic than others: inspired by the stories of our parents and grandparents we wondered how it would be to recover the charm that they felt for something as simple as going to the movies. We like the idea of ​​cinema as a social act, as a meeting point. The idea of ​​going to the cinema not for the film itself but to be with friends and strangers in front of a giant screen with your head upwards and not downwards as the TV requires. Reclaim the cinema from the living rooms to give it to the people.

The screenings are free entry and start at 9 pm. Within the park, we have created La Grotta dei Piccoli in collaboration with UNICEF ITALIA, which offers animation films and illustration workshops to the young. A sort of festival inside the festival.

During the year we carry out various initiatives to raise awareness through cinema, such as films on the environment during Earth Day, conferences on the rights of the LGBT community and meetings on the theme of hospitality. It’s all part of La Guarimba On Tour, a way to share our work and our contents outside the days of the festival. Obviously, the Tour not only allows us to bring our reality to other places but also gives us the chance of creating synergies with subjects that share our values. Over the years our partner network has become increasingly large.

Another important aspect to engage the public is the use of social media as a tool for virtual aggregation, documenting all our adventures and maintaining a conversation with those who follow us.

HOW IS THE FESTIVAL’S SELECTION PROCESS?

The selection of short films has the goal of discovering new film talents or works that haven’t reach the mass audience. The Festival allows people to watch a series of difficult-to-access works and the opportunity to see good cinema out of the big industry circuits.

Our selection seeks various themes and styles that build a mosaic through restlessness, critical visions, fantasies and obsessions of new (or experienced) creators and artists. All the continents are represented in all the editions, with particular attention to those lands far away from us both geographically and culturally.

We believe in respect for the directors, without policies of favouritism and discrimination. We believe in the horizontality for which veterans and novices, renowned and unknown directors will be selected and evaluated on an impartial basis. The directors will be selected based on the quality of their work, not on the basis of positive discrimination. We consider that the inestimable quality of their works will speak for itself and will give us a selection that, without seeking it specifically, will be gender equal.

HOW DO YOU SUPPORT YOURSELVES ECONOMICALLY?

The festival, like most of our initiatives, is supported with the help of private sponsors, public funds and donations. Ensuring a free entry event without losing quality obliges us to invest a good part of our time in public tenders and looking for private sponsors. Fortunately, there are many who understand the importance of our work and support us with donations.

We have learned from scratch to write projects for calls, making mistakes and failing without giving up. Over the years we have achieved important goals and today we can say that the La Guarimba festival is recognized by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and the Calabria Region as a historicized event.

WHAT TECHNICAL EQUIPMENT DO YOU USE?

For the main projection we use a SANYO of 15.000 ANSI Lumens that projects on a 12 meter AIRSCREEN. The films are screened in Apple Pro Res from a Macbook Pro with the HDMI output.

DO YOU HAVE OTHER PROJECTS?

The festival is the Association’s biggest event, but during the year we work on various projects that contribute to our mission and allow us to explore good practices that meet our needs in social and cultural terms.

CINEMAMBULANTE a multicultural integration project in Calabria which consists of a Cinema Review and a residence for filmmakers.

CAMBUR PROJECT the sustainable project of La Guarimba.

BIBLIOTECA GUARIMBA a library for Amantea’s refugee center.

I CUMMARI STREET ART PROJECT is an urban regeneration initiative.

SCUOLA GUARIMBA a Montessori school of cinema and an illustration with the aim of giving tools and teaching their use through participatory democracy and teamwork.

MISCITA an event that has put together the best of the Calabrian cultural scene in Sicily.

LA MIA MANTIA: STORIE DI PAESEa documentary series about the people of Amantea conceived, produced and shot by Giulio Vita and Sara Fratini.

ARTISTS FOR LA GUARIMBAan exhibition within the festival that involves artists from around the world.

THE TEAM

Our team is made up of 20 and 30 year-olds from Calabria, Lombardia, Emilia Romagna, Spain, Venezuela, Belgium, France, Senegal, USA, Japan and Iran. During the days of the festival, different languages, dialects, races and creeds meet, all united by the passion for cinema and the desire to create.

GIULIO VITA
Director & Animation Programmer
giuliovita@laguarimba.com

Giulio (Italy, 1988) grew up in Venezuela. He studied Journalism in Caracas and Cinema in Madrid. He deals with Communication and Cultural Management in all phases: from the conception to the implementation of projects that have a positive social impact. Expert in turning good ideas into excellent realities.

SARA FRATINI
Co-Director, Animation Programmer
& Curator of the Illustration Exhibition “Artists For La Guarimba”
sara@laguarimba.com

Sara (Venezuela, 1985) grew up in Puerto Ordaz, in the south of Venezuela. She graduated in Fine Arts in Madrid and specialized in Nancy, France. Illustrator, street artist and cultural operator. She published the books “La Buena Vida” (Lumen – Penguin Random House, 2015) and “Una Tal Martina” (Lumen, 2016). She participated in the collective book “No te calles” (Nube de Tinta, 2018). There are many cities that host her murals.

ALICIA V. PALACIOS THOMAS
Head of Programming

Alicia (Spain, 1982) has a degree in Audiovisual Communication and is specialized in digital content. Editor of the film critic magazine El Tornillo De Klaus and Head of Digital Content in a Marketing and Advertising Agency.

She is one of the founders of the La Guarimba festival where she plays the role of Coordinator of Programming for the Official Selection.

PABLO CRISTÓBAL
Head of Media Content & Programmer
pablo@laguarimba.com

Pablo (Spain, 1980) is a voracious cinephile, melomaniac, comic book reader and audio-visual project creator. He writes for the film critic magazine El Tornillo de Klaus, created by him. He is one of the founders of the La Guarimba festival, the Fiction selector and the responsible for the festival’s audio-visual content.

MIKEL MURILLO
Brand Image & Graphic Design

Mikel (Spain, 1985) is an illustrator and comic artist. With a degree in Fine Arts, Mikel collaborates with different Spanish agencies and magazines. He also works in Connecting Brains, a company focused in graphic recording and visual thinking. Since 2013, Mikel is in charge of La Guarimba International Film Festival’s visual identity, making drawings and illustrations for its web and social media as well as for posters, catalogues and flyers.

MARTA MIQUEL IRIARTE
Head of Subtitling, Coordinator of the AVA Project
& Documentary Programmer
marta@laguarimba.com

Marta (Spagna, 1984) is an audiovisual translator and researcher. With a PhD in audiovisual translation and media accessibility and a long experience in the translation of short, feature films and documentaries, she currently combines her research and professional activities. In 2015, Marta became subtitling project manager at La Guarimba International Film Festival, where she also coordinates the AVA Library project. Since 2018, Marta is also part of the documentary programming team.

DANIELE ZUCCALÀ
Coordinatore Traduzioni Sottotitoli

Daniele (Italia, 1987) has been living in Spain for more than ten years. He graduated in Modern Languages and Literature, Master in Translation and PhD student in Linguistics and Translation. He works as a professor of Italian language and culture at the Dante Alighieri Málaga and the Fundación General de la Universidad de Málaga. He is president of the Association of Italian Culture Artenativa Málaga and director of the Festival de Cine Italiano in Málaga. He coordinates the audio-visual translation of La Guarimba.

ALEJANDRO RONDA
Technical Director

Alejandro (Spain, 1981) graduated in Cinematography. He is a Professor certified by BlackMagic Design for DaVinci Resolve.
In addition to teaching, he plays the role of Director of Photography and Producer for several audio-visual productions, among which the short film Animation UKA by Valle Comba, nominated for the 2017 Goya Awards, stands out.
For La Guarimba he oversees the electrical system, the lights and save us when all the disastrous things that can happen in a festival, happen.

CARLOS GARCÍA
Sound Engineer

Carlos (Spagna, 1991) is La Guarimba’s Sound Engineer and the director of the Radio Guarimba podcasts. Also an Art Historian, Carlos is currently studying a Masters in Radio in Spain’s national broadcaster, RTVE. He also works as a video editor. He edited 2012’s Documenta Madrid winning short film “El Mundo Conmigo”. 

ALEX SPAGNOLO
Director of La Grotta dei Piccoli, Videoclip & Experimental Programmer

alex@laguarimba.com

Alex (Italy, 1993) is a Milan based graduate student of Economics and Business Administration with a lifelong fascination regarding the world of cinema, always trying to explores the relation between sound and images.
Since 2015 he started following private courses about the different roles inside the film industry, from screenplay to distribution (including classes with Luca Bigazzi, Alina Marazzi, Paolo Segat and more). He is the artistic director of La grotta dei piccoli and the programmer for the Music Videos & Insomnia section at La Guarimba International Film Festival.

DIANA SCALFATI
Head of the Sustainability project CAMBUR & Social Media Manager
green@laguarimba.com

Diana (Italy, 1990)  is a freelance filmmaker and photographer focused on the interaction between people, conservation and human-rights. She has created and managed content for several NGOs like WWF Australia and the Large Marine Vertebrates Research Institute Philippines. She now collaborates with La Guarimba International Film Festival by curating their social media, creating visual stories and managing the sustainability project.

FRANCESCA PIAZZA
Projectionist

Francesca (Italy, 1986) is a social media manager, a Yoga instructor and an English teacher. After taking a Bachelor’s Degree in Musical Computing, she started an internship program at a local television in Brescia as a Production Secretary, Cameraman and Editor, while also attending a Master Course in Web Communication. In 2012 Francesca moved to London to attend the MA Creative Economy & Film Making (Kingston University). After she graduated she stayed in the UK until 2016. There she worked as a Video Editor and also collaborated with many startups as a Content Strategist. In 2014 she discovered   La Guarimba International Film Festival and propose herself as a volunteer. Since then she is in charge of the projection: she checks if all the videos and their subtitles could play smoothly, and creates all the playlists.

COLLABORATORS

The festival wouldn’t be so rich in content without the contribution of our external collaborators who help us every year to put together a multicultural and multidisciplinary proposal.

SAM MORRILL (STATI UNITI), Vimeo

KEBA DANSO (SENEGAL), Karmala Cultura

FILIPPO BERARDONE (ITALIA), OFM

MARÍA ELENA POMBO (VENEZUELA), Fragmentario

ELLIE ZAHEDI (IRAN), Illustration Artists

FABRIZIO MARTIRE (ITALIA), Gummy Industries