Edition 2022

The tenth edition of La Guarimba International Film Festival took place in Amantea (Calabria) from the 7th to the 12th August 2022, including screenings of short films, cinema programs and workshops for children, conferences, illustration exhibitions and community events that involved over 80 guests from all over the world and hundreds of spectators flocked to rejoice the Guarimba celebration together.

After two years of limitations, which influenced the organization of the event and reduced the number of international guests, we were able to celebrate the 10th anniversary milestone together with the people who accompanied us on this journey, with the new faces who have just arrived and the community of Amantea.

2022 was another year in which we worked hard to build. A cultural center, obtained from an abandoned land. A new office and a study room, built in an old warehouse. Two self-produced books, two Kino Guarimba residencies, a summer program of cultural events with local associations, new networks with sponsors and associations.

An event born of two twenty-year-old Italian-Venezuelans who wanted to start a crazy and visionary project in the wildest region of Italy, after ten years it has become a community experience that has bet against pessimism and abandonment, to build a safe place for monkeys hungry for experiences and beauty.

The Tenth Edition of La Guarimba International Film Festival was awarded with the Medal of Representation by the Italian President of Republic Sergio Mattarella, the Representation Award by the Italian Chamber of Deputies for La Grotta dei Piccoli, the European Parliament Patronage, the Italian Council of Ministers Patronage, the Italian Senate Patronage; it received the financial support from the Calabria Film Commission, the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of China (Taiwan), from the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Austrian Forum of Culture, the Korean Cultural Institute, the Flanders State of Arts, the Institut Français in Italy, the Embassy of Portugal, the Embassy of Spain, the Embassy of Slovenia, the Embassy of Israel, the Embassy of Norway and the Embassy of Ireland.

Among the partners that supported this edition: MyAirBridge, MyMovies, GIPHY Artists, Touring Club Italiano, UNICEF Italia, Durex, Klean Kanteen, e Zai Urban Winery, Amarelli, Color Fest, Fratelli Marano, Caffè Guglielmo, Grafiche Calabria, Orchestra dei Fiati Mediterranea Città di Amantea, Suriano Esse Auto, U Casinu da Scala Agriturismo.


As every year, the day before the festival starts is dedicated to community activities to introduce the event to guests and spectators. In the morning, the team, volunteers and guests gathered on the Amantea seafront for the traditional beach cleaning, as part of our CAMBUR environmental sustainability project. We collected 40 bags, for a total of about 300 kg of waste, which were correctly sorted and taken to the collection point. This practice, in addition to helping to cement the sense of community, helps us reflect on the state of abandonment of the natural environment in which we live, to restore a cleaner and more liveable beach and show the community the result of collective work.

In the evening we moved to Il Terrenito, the association’s new cultural space, to present the self-produced book ARTISTS FOR LA GUARIMBA – 10th ANNIVERSARY EDITION, an illustrated catalog of all 225 posters exhibited in these 10 years. The editors Mikel Murillo (author of the cover and the official posters of the last 9 editions) and Valeria Weerasinghe (illustrator and programmer of La Grotta dei Piccoli) presented the project to the public, explaining the editorial choices and the process behind the evolution of the monkey, the symbol of the organization.

The idea was to avoid those self-congratulatory books full of self-referential photos and newspaper articles that are often found at festivals, but to create a quality product that can be appreciated for its graphic content. The book was printed in a limited edition of 500 copies and put on sale during the event.

Following, CALABRIA O’RAMA was screened, a selection of short films produced in Calabria during the five editions of the Kino Guarimba residency: experimental works, dance performances, documentaries, musicals and fiction that involved professionals and international students and Amantean actors, capturing different aspects of the territory through the points of view of many emerging directors.


La Guarimba 2022 presented 163 short films from 54 countries of all continents: 4 African countries, 15 Asian, 24 European, 9 American, 2 Oceanic. The selection complied with the Eurimages “Aiming for 50/50” program, which promotes gender equality in the film industry: 91 films, more than half, were directed by women.

The program was curated by an international team of programmers: Alex Spagnolo (coordinator), Marta Miquel, Mikel Murillo, Valeria Weerasinghe, Sara Fratini and Giulio Vita viewed the 1144 short films from 78 countries that applied, putting together works chosen for their artistic quality and the ability to represent the cultural diversity of distant countries, giving the viewer a heterogeneous panorama marked by innovation and avant-garde, in a territory where cinemas are closed or non-existent and if they exist, they offer non-innovative commercial cinema.

The first day of the festival coincided with the return, after a year of absence, to the Parco della Grotta di Amantea, which was reopened after months of uncertainty and troubled bureaucratic procedures. The park had been closed due to an unusability in early 2021 caused by a landslide, and has been abandoned since then. In just one day of work, we set up a 250-seat outdoor arena, with a 7-meter inflatable screen, a space dedicated to children’s activities and the Artists For La Guarimba illustration exhibition, with 15 posters made by 15 international illustrators from five continents who created their own version of the festival poster, interpreting it in their own style and language. The posters were printed in 100×150 panels and displayed at the entrance to the huge natural cave every night of the festival.

The artists represented were: Mikel Murillo (Spain), Jonathan Phanhsay-Chamson (France), Diana Ejaita (Italy/Nigeria), Kamila Bassioni (Egypt), Christella Bijou (Rwanda), Delaram Faghani (Iran), Maria Niño (Venezuela), Catalina Vázquez (Colombia), Christoph Sarow (Germany), Amanda Mijangos (Mexico), Monica Liaw (Taiwan), Samantha Curcio (Australia), Rehua Wilson (New Zealand), Ruwangi “Roo” Amarasinghe (Sri Lanka) e Satu Kettunen (Finland).

The opening of La Guarimba celebration was assigned, as every year, to the concert of the Orchestra di Fiati Mediterranea Città di Amantea, which paid homage to Hans Zimmer by performing some of his compositions for films, while the scenes were shown on the big screen.

Subsequently, the short La Mia Mantia was screened, a project shot in Amantea by Giulio Vita and Andre Paduano in 2012, when La Guarimba was not yet born. The production involved people who would later become part of the festival team and many Amanteans, representing the first step towards the rooting of the project in the Amantea community.

The screenings of the official competition offered a selection of independent films of different genres, from different countries, in different languages, and were screened in the original language with subtitles in Italian and English, divided into the categories of Fiction, Animation, Documentary, Videoclip and Insomnia – Experimental Films. The festival trailer was accompanied by the song “Сонце” by the Ukrainian band Океан Ельзи. Productions from countries and cultures little represented in the circuits of international festivals and reviews took part in the competition, which instead found space in the guarimbera competition, with shorts from Lebanon, Slovenia, Thailand, North Macedonia, Cambodia, Ghana.

The Insomnia section, dedicated to the most daring and uncomfortable works received, was presented during the night of 7 August, and introduced the public to the craziest side of our programming.

The response from the public was very positive: in every evening, the 250 seats were all occupied, with many people also sitting on the lawn and on the park benches.

We have chosen to maintain and respect the idea of ​​the park as a public and open space, allowing viewers to experience it freely, constantly getting up, walking between the exhibition and La Grotta dei Piccoli, without the limitations of an entrance, reservations or architectural barriers.

The four special programs presented during the festival focused on relevant themes of the contemporary world, deepening productions of little-explored countries.

SLÁVA UKRAYÍNI! was presented during the first night, with three short films by Ukrainian directors who were able to register for free, in support of the Ukrainian people during the Russian invasion.

INDIGENOUS FILMS, presented on the last evening, celebrated five indigenous cultures from five continents, representing the Atayal, Sami, Maori, Mosotho, and Wayuu peoples; Laha Mebow, Atayal indigenous director and author of one of the films on the program, was a guest of the festival.

The TAIWAN FOCUS program, dedicated to Taiwanese independent cinema, was presented by the Ambassador of Taiwan to the Holy See Andrea Sing-Ying Lee, who praised La Guarimba and his work in promoting Taiwanese culture.

Finally, A SCREEN FOR GLAS ANIMATION was screened, a selection of the winning shorts of the Californian animation festival partner of La Guarimba, which this year had to take place online for the third consecutive year: we decided to offer them a screen where they can project their films with an audience in attendance.

The last screening of the 2022 edition was the documentary “About The Resistance“, made by the collective El Tornillo De Klaus during the first edition of La Guarimba at the Sicoli Arena, which posed several questions on the need to organize an event community in a country like Amantea.


La Grotta dei Piccoli is the animation festival for children and teenagers that takes place every year during the main competition, created in collaboration with UNICEF Italy. The program consisted of 100 animation works selected by the Italian-Sri Lankan animator and illustrator Valeria Weerasinghe, projected in a space set up inside the park.

Together with the screenings, the Grotta dei Piccoli team organized various activities aimed at the young spectators of the festival to increase their level of engagement and integrate a training course with entertainment.

During the first three days of the festival, the creative workshops MONKEYS, PENCILS AND WORDS were held, curated by the tutor Gabriele Tangerini, on communication for children aged 4 and up, to learn about the ways in which we use words, the voice, expressions and our body to relate to others, using visual art and storytelling as tools to experience relationships and reflect on our expressive modes.

The screenings on 11 August were carried out in the form of a film club, giving the spectators of the Grotta dei Piccoli the opportunity to discuss the shorts they saw among themselves and express their opinions, comparing themselves with peers with the support of the tutors, thus enriching the understanding of the programming. This moment meant a way of being exposed to the many different styles and approaches that characterize contemporary animation, from stop motion to 2D, from 3D to mixed techniques, as well as being an opportunity to work on one’s aesthetic sensitivity and on the discovery of self.

During all the days of screening, the directors present at the festival presented their works in English, creating very stimulating moments of confrontation for the children, who interacted directly with the authors of the works they saw.

Finally, we directly involved the young spectators with the Youth Jury, empowering them and valuing their opinion.

The tutors explained the functioning of the voting system to each spectator, letting them vote independently at the end of each screening day.

It was a successful experiment in terms of engagement, creation of group dynamics, peer consultations during the screenings, in the ways in which the kids tried to manipulate the vote in a group to win a short, despite having nothing to gain, a confirmation of the very high level of engagement.


La Guarimba 2022 hosted 80 people including directors, producers, festival organizers, institutional representatives and cultural officials, from 25 countries: Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, France, Germany, Hungary, Iran, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Poland, Senegal, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United States, Venezuela.

For many of them it was the first time in Italy, for some the first time in Europe. We have employed six hotels in the historic center of Amantea to host these people during the days of the festival.

For the six days of the event, we invited our guests to the Terrenito for community lunches, prepared by our team using typical local products and km0 ingredients. The lunches were an opportunity for all our guests and our team to meet and get to know each other, a moment of great symbolic value that uses food as a social glue and a moment of exchange.

The guests formed a temporary collective of creatives who met for the first time in this small village in the wildest region of Italy, sharing an intense and formative community experience.

Among the institutional guests, we received a delegation from the Taiwan Embassy to the Holy See and the Taipei Cultural Office, who met the Taiwanese guests of the festival and presented the special program dedicated to Taiwan. The delegation was received by Gianludovico and Camilla De Martino in Palazzo Carrattelli, one of the most important historic residences in Amantea.

Representatives of the Calabria Film Commission, the Cultural Office of the Embassy of Slovenia Tina Kokalj, a delegation from UNICEF Italia to visit La Grotta dei Piccoli and a representation of the Sharjah International Film Festival, which brought two students from the Emirates, were present at the festival. Arabs to participate in the training activities offered by La Guarimba.


 During the days of the festival, we organized a workshop for animation and creation of GIFs in animated format, sponsored by GIPHY Artists, with the aim of exploiting the tools offered by the platform to create content with a visual impact with the personal style of each artist.

Tutors Valeria Weerasinghe and Mikel Murillo followed a group of international students and guests of the festival, bringing their experience into the creative process of illustrated and animated content, focusing on character design and coloring.

The workshops were held outdoors, using a horizontal Montessori approach, where teachers and students confronted each other in identifying creative and innovative solutions together.

The official competition was opened with the screenings of films in the categories of Fiction, Animation, Documentary and Videoclip, while at the same time the screen of La Grotta dei Piccoli showed the best of animation for children to dozens of children.

On the morning of August 9th we hosted four conferences open free to the public and dedicated to issues relevant to the film industry, with the aim of creating stimulating moments in which artists, cultural organizations, institutions, activists and citizens can discuss and find meeting points for new ideas and ideas.

TAIWAN / INDIGENOUS / CINEMA: Taiwanese director Limuy Asien talked about the history of representations of Taiwanese indigenous peoples during the Japanese colonial period (1895 – 1945), the Kuomintang dictatorship (1945 – 1987) and the contemporary era in Taiwan. The discussion also involved a festival guest, Laha Mebow, an indigenous Taiwanese director whose short film “A Tayal” was screened in the INDIGENOUS FOCUS section as a representative of the Atayal people.

ON UNCERTAINTY, VULNERABILITY, AND EMOTIONALITY IN ANIMATION: A conference on the creation of animated films and music videos and on the construction of narratives that connect films beyond the individual project. Speaker Raman Djafari, German animator and author of music videos for artists such as Elton John and Dua Lipa, spoke of doubt and uncertainty as a motif, theme and creative strategy, of how to search for poetry in animated worlds, which become means to explore questions of belonging and identity. Raman wanted to involve other animators who were guests of the festival to discuss together the creative process in the world of independent animation and discuss the approaches adopted in every corner of the world.

SUBTITLING AS A FILMMAKER TOOL: Marta Miquel Irarte, subtitle coordinator of La Guarimba, and Sherin Abu Taleb, translation assistant of La Guarimba, conducted a workshop aimed at analyzing the role and impact of subtitles addressed to festivals, platforms, distributors and translators. Marta spoke about the evolution of the subtitling process of La Guarimba’s films, presenting her methodology, while Sherin spoke about the challenges she faces in translating into Italian in the most faithful and natural way possible.

WORKFLOW WITH MYAIRBRIDGE: Giulio Vita, the director of La Guarimba, carried out a workshop on the use of the MyAirBridge.com platform, which allows the sending of digital files and the management of office work remotely, talking about the improvements that the Guarimba office has known since using the platform.


On the morning of the 11th of August, we met at the Terrenito for a guided tour of the historic center of Amantea, where our guests were able to retrace the history of the town and visit the most evocative corners of the ancient maritime center. We explored the oldest alleys, reaching the Mother Church, the ruins of the Byzantine church of S. Francesco, and the Angevin tower. We also visited the abandoned Sicoli Arena and the Via Noto car park, where we organized the first and ninth edition of La Guarimba, presenting the urban regeneration intervention by street artists Cesáh and Sara Fratini. The tour ended at the Sicoli ice cream shop, where the guarimberos refreshed themselves with the local specialty, pistacchio gelato.


The jury of the tenth edition of La Guarimba was made up of three established personalities from the audiovisual world, from different countries and cultures. All of them have already been guests and have won an award in one of the previous editions: the Italian visual artist Benedetta Panisson was the winner of the Documentary section in the first edition of 2013 with her film “Come To Venice”; Canarian director David Pantaleón won the award for the Fiction section in 2016 with the film “The Passion of Judas”; Senegalese director Khadidiatou Sow won the Audience Award in 2017 with “One Seat in the Plane”.

The winners:

BEST FICTION: The Criminals by Serhat Karaaslan | 24′ | Turkey

BEST ANIMATION: Bestia by Hugo Covarrubias | 15′ | Chile

BEST DOCUMENTARY: Salvo by Federico Cammarata | 30′ | Italy

BEST MUSIC VIDEO: Summer 91 by Rupert Holler | 4′ | Austria

BEST EXPERIMENTAL FILM “INSOMNIA”: Motorcyclist’s happiness won’t fit into his suit by Gabriel Herrera | 10′ | Mexico

LA GROTTA DEI PICCOLI AWARD (assigned by the Youth Jury, made up of over 30 children and teenagers, who announced the winner on La Guarimba stage, delivering the prize to the director present at the festival): Bye Little Block! by Éva Darabos | 9′ | Hungary

GUARIMBEROS AWARDS (assigned by the festival programming team): Los Colores del Niño Dios by Santiago Pérez Rodríguez | 2′ | Colombia

NONNINA AWARD (assigned by Nonna Saveria, the first spectator of La Guarimba): Lili Alone by Zou Jing | 22′ | China

AUDIENCE AWARD “VITALIANO CAMARCA” (assigned by the audience through an online voting system): Like the Ones I Used to Know by Annie St-Pierre | 18′ | Canada

GIPHY CONTEST WINNER: Eze Matteo (Argentina)