Edition 2020

The eighth edition of La Guarimba film festival took place from the 7th to the 12th of August 2020 in Amantea, registering more than 3,000 admissions in 6 days, showing 170 short films from 54 countries.

The decision to organize the festival in this very challenging period, in the midst of a global pandemic and in a municipality closed for mafia infiltrations, proved to be a winner. A very polite audience was rigorous towards the anticovid rules, whilst showing enthusiasm about being able to return to share visions and enjoy a cinema experience under the stars. Never before has the mission to “bring cinema back to the people and people to the cinema” seemed essential and desirable as it was this year, rekindling the cinema in the city without theatres and helping to break the myth of Calabria as the land of the impossible. The 8th edition of La Guarimba not only offered to Amantea six evenings of open-air cinema, but it also led to a real battle of civilization and legality with success.

La Guarimba International Film Festival 2020 received the Representation Medal from the President of the Italian Republic Sergio Mattarella, received the High Patronage of the European Parliament and the Patronage of the Presidency of the Italian Council of Ministers. It was funded by Ministry of Culture, the Embassy of the United States, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Embassy of Ireland, Embassy of Germany, Embassy of Canada, Embassy of Australia, Embassy of Norway, Embassy of Sweden, the Representation of the Government of Flanders in Italy, the Rome Austrian Culture Forum and the Korean Cultural Institute, a sign of significant international cooperation and the main objective of the Festival, to convey culture to promote values ​​of participatory democracy, integration, and accessibility.

An important contribution to the realization of the event are the sponsors from the private sector: GIPHY Arts, Mediacare Spa, G-Technology – the latter guarantees the hard drives to store and project the video material – and Mini, which made its contribution to the Festival providing two Mini Clubmen. Among the sponsors also Fichi Marano and Grafiche Calabria, two Calabrian companies that have decided to bet on the festival even in this particular historical moment.


The conferences for the emerging film industry usually hosted during the Amantea festival, this year have been transformed into online masterclasses and workshops proposed in the months preceding the festival, in collaboration with our partners, to give continuity to our educational mission, guaranteeing a useful set of tools for our public and allowing us to reach a wider audience.

Here is the complete list:

with Anayansi Prado
in collaboration with AFS, USC & U.S. Embassy in Italy

with Maegan Houang & Miranda Tiano
in collaboration with WE DIRECT MUSIC VIDEOS

4th JULY – IL GESTO SERIALE un’indagine sul cambiamento
with Maurizio Amendola
in collaboration with Scuola Holden

with Cyrill Gutsch
in collaboration with Parley for the Oceans

in collaboration with Joy of Rome
with Francesca Pagliaro & Alberto Pati


La Guarimba Film Festival opened with an exciting tribute to Ennio Morricone performed by the Orchestra dei Fiati Mediterranei, giving  Amantea a magical moment accompanied by images of the most iconic films of the master’s ­career.

The official selection included eleven short films belonging to the different categories of Fiction, Documentary, Animation, Videoclip from all over the world, divided into two programming slots.

The second part of the evening was introduced by Laura Gabrielaitytė-Kazulėnienė and Tomas Kazulenas, cultural officials of the Lithuanian Embassy, who presented the short film “Community Gardens” by Lithuanian director Vytautas Katkus, also in competition at the Semaine de la Critique of Cannes and “The Milkshake Bar” by Urtė Oettinger, selected in the program of “La Grotta dei Piccoli”.

At the same time as the main screen, “La Grotta dei Piccoli” has screened animated short films dedicated to the small audience, in the presence of Tamás Rebák, Hungarian director of “Escape velocity”, in competition in this section of the festival. The selection of 100 short films for children and teenagers, curated by Valeria Weerasinghe, is a real festival within the festival created in collaboration with Unicef Italia.

For the brave ones, the evening continued on the beach at 2:00 in the morning, screening the shorts from the experimental cinema selection “Insomnia”, curated by Alex Spagnolo.

The evening recorded over 500 admissions, confirming the festival’s mission to bring people back to the cinema and the cinema to the people, in the magical atmosphere of La Grotta Park in Amantea, opened on August 6th after months of closure, thanks to the commitment of the team and the volunteers of La Guarimba, who worked to grant the practicability of this important historical asset.


The second evening of the La Guarimba international short film festival offered short films in competition from all corners of the world. Norwegian director and guest of the evening, Ingrid Liavaag, introduced her film  “Fisk” to the public of Amantea. The short, included in competition in the Fiction section, tells the story of Sarah, who suffers from severe eczema which turns her skin into fish scales.

Like every year, you can visit the exhibition “Artists for La Guarimba” in the park, which selects 15 international illustrators every year. The artists are asked to create a poster promoting the new edition of the festival through their own personal interpretation of the Guarimba monkey, the symbol of the festival.

The artists involved in the exhibition are Mikel Murillo (Spain), Aicha El Beloui (Morocco), Yeye Weller (Germany), Valeria Weerasinghe (Italy), Federico Manzone (Italy), Ramón Amorós (Argentina), Meredith Jensen (United States), Juan Molinet (Argentina), Andra Badea (Romania), Bistra Masseva (Bulgaria), Konrad Czernik (Poland) Helena Bonastre (Spain), Gizenth (Colombia), Sara Cifuentes (Colombia), Raman Djafari (Germany).

Among the audience of the evening was Abbas Mian Nadeem, finally freed after the misfortunate incident he went through. The Pakistani man with a regular residence permit had been deported to the Cara (reception center for asylum seekers) in Crotone on July 16th by a mistake that still needs to be clarified. He managed to return to Amantea thanks to La Guarimba Association, which took action immediately to re-establish the constitutional rights of Abbas.

This story intrigued the Dutch director Laura Hermanides, one of the artists selected for the “Artists in Residency” project, who is investigating the issue with the aim of shooting a short film together with Luuk Hoogstraten and Tommaso Stingo.


The third evening of La Guarimba Film Festival continued with great audience participation offering a screening of 10 films, among the 160 in competition, starting at 9.00 pm at Parco La Grotta. with short films from the UK to Singapore, through Belgium and Sweden, the audience of La Guarimba had a glimpse of each director’s unique point of view.

One of the additions of this year’s edition was that Giphy Arts wanted to finance a contest for the Best GIF of La Guarimba Film Festival 2020. The 416 GIFs that entered the competition were projected during the break between the two slots in a Superloop created especially for the occasion. To accompany the images on the screen, the Calabrian artist N.A.I.P. composed an original soundtrack.


During the fourth day of the festival, Maria Clara Macrì, photographer from Reggio Emilia in residence at La Guarimba, enriched the story of the festival through her photographs of the staff and volunteers at La Grotta Park.

The programming of the eleven shorts of the evening was introduced by a special guest: Dario Brunori. Once again he reminded us how important it is not to lose the idea and the value of coming together especially in this difficult moment. The health emergency shouldn’t become an excuse to give up on a sense of community and stay indoors, where nowadays everything is so accessible online. For this reason, today it is even more important to support realities that are committed to making this possible, such as La Guarimba.


The fifth evening of the festival was the last one dedicated to the films in competition, rounding up the selection of fictional shorts, animation, documentaries, and music videos. This was the last opportunity for the public to vote for the Audience Award, dedicated to Vitaliano Camarca, Editor, journalist, writer and cultural operator who “brought cinema” to Amantea by establishing the review of the Mediterranean Film in the legendary Arena Sicoli in 1964, location of the first edition of La Guarimba film festival.

In the late evening of August 11th, the special “Wonderland” was broadcasted on Rai 4. The episode, entirely dedicated to La Guarimba, showcased a selection of short films from the 2020 edition, most attuned with the channel and the magazine’s editorial line.


The eighth edition of La Guarimba Film Festival ended with the award ceremony of the various categories in competition and the screening of the three out-of-competition programs.


For the Fiction section, the prize was awarded to El Puente de los Niños Traviesos by the Mexican director Fabián León López, a film displaying the influence of the place where one lives, especially during the difficult period of adolescence.

The best Animation short film comes from Switzerland: Why Slugs have no Legs by Aline Höchli, a critique of capitalism. This category is growing every year at La Guarimba, showing more and more talent both from a technical and artistic stand point.

The best short film for the Documentary section also comes from Switzerland with Lasse Linder’s All Cats are Gray in the Dark, a film that talks about the loneliness and obsession of a man in an ironic and dramatic way.

Traveler by Raman Djafari & Daniel Almagor, on the other hand, is the best Music Video of La Guarimba 2020. Through the combined technique of 2D and 3D, the video clip from Germany is able to show the new technological processes in animation.

The experimental section, Insomnia, was awarded to  Don’t Know What by the Austrian Tho-mas Renoldner, performer and director of a peculiar work, also the protagonist of contemporary art exhibitions, able to leave the purely cinematographic field.

The competition of La Grotta dei Piccoli, the festival in the festival conceived for young spectators by Valeria Weerasinghe and created with Unicef ​​Italia, was won by Lia Bertels (Belgium / Portugal) for the short And yet we’re not superheroes: a journey into the extraordinary imagination of three little philosophers.

The Nonna Saveria award, the first spectator of the festival and grandmother of the guarimberos, gave the credit to Year of the robot by Yves Gellie (France / Belgium). A film projected in the near future where robots replace human beings employed in a geriatric center.

The audience of La Guarimba instead awarded the Vitaliano Camarca prize to Maradona’s Legs by Firas Khoury (Germany / Palestine). The film tells the story of two young Palestinians struggling with the search for the legs of the Pibe de Oro.

The best Gif creation for the Giphy Arts contest, the largest American platform in the world for the creation of animated GIFs, was instead awarded to Harriet Lenneman, USA.


After the awards ceremony, the evening continued with MigrArti, the section dedicated to second-generation Italians, presented by its creator Paolo Masini. The project, from which La Guarimba took inspiration, was born in 2016 from an idea of Masini, with the aim of involving the immigrant communities that permanently reside in Italy. On the program there was also the short film by Calabrian Natalino Zangaro who presented his “Schiavonea” to the public: in the fish market used as a temporary reception center, the encounter between two young people, Vincenzo and Ayana, will forever mark their lives.

Americania, the category curated by Sam Morrill, then presented a world premiere of films shot during the lockdown such as Law Chen’s “Delivered” which tells the drama of drivers, thousands of invisible workers put at risk to deliver food during the health emergency. Spike Lee’s short film “New York New York” also arrives from the States, a declaration of love by the director to the people of the big apple. The still unreleased film “We are George Floyd” by Julian Micheaux Marshall was also screened: the story of the overwhelming response of the city of New York to the killing of Floyd.

The evening was closed by the Karmala section, curated by Keba Danso with the aim of giving visibility to the cinema of Sub-Saharan Africa. This year Karmala has decided to screen “La Petite vendeuse de soleil” to pay homage to the Senegalese director, composer, and actor Djibril Diop Mambéty, known for his distinct surrealist style and his fascinating interpretation of themes such as politics, power, wealth and social conditions in Africa.


This year La Guarimba was able to count on widespread and international communication, attracting publications such as The New York Times, Il Corriere della Sera, Il Manifesto, Repubblica, Libero e interviste su Rai Radio 1 e Rai 3, without forgetting the regional dimension. with articles in local print and online newspapers from the Southern newspaper to the Gazzetta del mezzogiorno. LaCNews and the regional TG have dedicated some reports to us on different days of the festival.

Even this year La Guarimba managed to bring cinema back to the people and people to the cinema, and thanks to our sponsors and the 11 embassies that supported us, it guaranteed a free festival for everyone. La Guarimba managed to offer the ticket to spectators in this complicated year without cutting the salaries of its workers, which are essential for the success of the event and because it believes cultural work needs a fair salary that is often lacking in this sector.

At the end of this edition of the festival it can be said that despite all the difficulties, at La Guarimba cinema won, active citizenship won, the desire to redeem this wild Calabria full of possibilities won. We won.