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.