Edition 2023

The 11th edition of La Guarimba International Film Festival took place in Amantea (CS) from the 7th to the 12th of August, 2023.

This year’s was a special edition, homemade at Il Terrenito, the abandoned space that, step by step, we are transforming into an increasingly active and colorful cultural center. We opened it up to the community that was created over six days of cinema, art and beauty.

La Grotta Park, which hosted the festival in previous editions, was closed at the beginning of this year due to unsafe conditions. The municipality was unable to offer us alternative solutions, so we bet on Il Terrenito, which gave us unexpected surprises.

By huddling together in this new home, we gave a strong signal to the city: to continue to offer a quality event with free admission, remembering that it is not the space that makes La Guarimba what it is.

159 short films, 45 nations represented, 90 international guests, 15 works of illustration exhibited, 6 lectures and workshops, 2 concerts, and 300 spectators each night: these are just some of the numbers that show the impact of our festival in a small town in the Tyrrhenian Coast of Calabria.

The 11th edition of La Guarimba International Film Festival was made possible thanks to the support of the Calabria Film Commission Foundation and the Italian Ministry of Culture, the UNHCR, GIPHY, the Embassy of Canada, the Representation of the Government of Flanders in Italy, the Academy of Hungary in Rome, the Embassy of Israel, the Embassy of Germany, the Austrian Cultural Forum, and the Polish Institute in Rome.

It received the High Patronage of the European Parliament, the Patronage of the Senate of the Republic, the Council of Ministers, the Province of Cosenza, and the Italian Touring Club.

This year’s partners include: MyMovies, UNICEF Italia, Fichi Marano, Short Film Conference, GLAS Animation, Caffè Guglielmo, Color Fest, Agriturismo U’Casinu Da Scala, Orchestra di Fiati Mediterranea Città di Amantea.



The second decade of La Guarimba Film Festival began with a bold and disruptive program. From the 1246 short films received, the programming team composed a selection of 159 works from 45 countries representing all continents, with 53 percent of them made by women, consistent with Eurimages’ “Aiming for 50/50” program.

With 20 Fictions, 20 Animations, 10 Documentaries, 10 Videoclips, and 5 experimental shorts in the INSOMNIA category, the official selection speaks Italian, Quechua, Farsi, French, Swahili, Swedish, Kurdish, English, Cantonese, Spanish, Arabic, German, Greek, Irish, Georgian, and Finnish.

We offered our audience an overview of contemporary independent cinema, giving space to countries and cultures that are underrepresented in Italy, such as Congo, Estonia Jordan, Kazakhstan, New Zealand, Qatar, Tanzania, and Togo. Different cinematic styles and languages were brought to the big screen, highlighting stories that moved, touched and, above all, challenged our audiences.


We opened the evening of the festival, as we do every year, with the opening concert of the Orchestra di Fiati Mediterranea Città di Amantea, composed of musicians of different ages, which has been promoting band culture and music education in the town for years.

This year, the orchestra paid tribute to U.S. composer Henry Mancini, performing his most famous pieces while film images were projected on the screen.

The opening screening was the short documentary film produced by our partners at UNHCR: Rebuilding Ukraine showed the humanitarian aid process of rebuilding buildings damaged in Ukraine during the bombing by the Russian army. This film was a thought-provoking moment to remind us that despite the normalization of the conflict, the Ukrainian people are still suffering from the Russian invasion, and the war is still going on at Europe’s doorstep.

The special program Stories from Iran was held on the last evening, showing three short films from a country still full of contradictions and problems related to its government’s repressive policies. Three independent filmmakers, including two women, used the language of film to give voice to their individuality and let the world know about the situation in which they live.


On the morning of August 9, we organized a conference session dedicated to the festival’s international guests and cultural operators from Calabria.

We chose Lido Azzurro as the setting for this event in order to hold the meetings outdoors and in front of the sea, in an unstructured and informal setting that followed the form of an interactive dialogue.

The lectures gave attendees useful and concrete information on topics relevant to their profession.

We began by talking about audiovisual accessibility: presenting her work was Marta Miquel Iriarte, PhD in Audiovisual Translation and Media Accessibility and, since 2015, subtitling coordinator for La Guarimba films. Her lecture, “Subtitling as a Filmmaker Tool,” was designed for the festival’s guest filmmakers and focused on the impact of subtitles in the viewers’ experience of enjoyment and their importance as film content, not just linguistic content. Marta answered some technical questions about the format, speed, pacing, and software used, and provided advice to producers on how to go about making subtitling part of the creative process, from the very beginning of making an audiovisual product.

The second conference featured Adama Sanneh, Co-Founder and CEO of Moleskine Foundation, who visited our festival and spoke about creativity and cultural impact on society. La Guarimba is part of Creativity Pioneers, a community of organizations that use creativity as a tool for social change, collaborating throughout the year to exchange ideas and virtuous practices. Adama outlined the four pillars on which Moleskine Foundation relies to select partners and grow the network: organizations that are process-oriented rather than results-oriented; have a “g-localdimension, meaning they work on specific contexts but are internationally relevant; are focused on youth targets and uncovered segments; and are intersectional, meaning they deal with social problems organically, recognizing their interdependence. The discussion then focused on the importance of activating processes that start from the bottom and actively involve the local communities in which they develop, daring to ask “big questions.”

Finally, the discussion table opened to funding opportunities for film productions in Southern Italy and Calabria, with the meeting “Le Voci Calabresi Del Media Talent,” co-organized with the Calabria Film Commission Foundation and Creative Europe Desk Italy MEDIA, which gave space for testimonies from a large table of guests: Giampaolo Calabrese and Luca Ardenti of the Calabria Film Commission Foundation on one side; Luca Marino (Indaco Film), Saverio Tavano (Lighthouse Films), Alessandro Gordano (Lago Film), Matteo Russo (Calabria Movie International Short Film Festival) on the other. Moderating the meeting was Andrea Coluccia of Creative Europe Desk Italy MEDIA, who presented the opportunities offered by the MEDIA: Talents On Tour project, in an active dialogue with Calabrian producers, who recounted the paths they have taken over the years in this program and the opportunities to work in international productions in Southern Italy.

The Calabria Film Commission provided very useful information to festival guests, pointing out the presence of funding for international productions taking place in Calabria. The new objectives illustrated by the foundation are directed at overcoming the stereotyped image of our region as a land of the sea and organized crime, to make it a production hub capable of addressing the international market through a series of tools, including: access to calls for productions based abroad; guaranteeing local executive productions to support logistical and bureaucratic aspects; and opening up to start-ups and small businesses without historicity.

At the end of the lectures, we had lunch with all the guests and then enjoyed the rest of the afternoon at the beach. We then alternated between informal and structured moments and free meeting opportunities to foster human connections and a sense of community.


The animation workshop organized in collaboration with GIPHY was held on the morning of August 10, involving 23 participants of different levels and experiences, who shared a desire to produce animated GIFs, get to know each other, and explore the tools of the GIPHY ARTS platform.

The event was led by Valeria Weerasinghe (animator and illustrator) and Gabriele Tangerini (educator), and took place in two spaces, the inner office and Il Terrenito.

We started with an informal breakfast that allowed teachers and participants to break the ice and helped creating the relaxed and playful atmosphere that characterized the entire workshop. Afterwards, we moved to the office for a brief introduction to the workshop. Director Giulio Vita introduced the GIPHY ARTS platform and told how the relationship with La Guarimba came about. He talked about the creation of GIFs and their use through hashtags.

The organizers Valeria Weerasinghe and Gabriele Tangerini introduced the workshop program and its objectives:

  • Learn about the GIPHY ARTS platform, its use and opportunities for both content dissemination and professional collaboration.
  • Foster meeting, dialogue and exchange among artists through an informal work environment and free creative task.
  • Making GIFs through the free ANIMADE FRAMES app.

We also scheduled special guests: Sacha Beeley, a British director and animator, spoke about her collaboration with GIPHY ARTS and the techniques used to make one of the commissioned short films. Next, Italian directors and animators Francesca Colombara and Matteo Dang Minh of the Ciang duo also showed the mini-series ‘Gods of Grease,’ another product commissioned by the Giphy Arts platform.

After this first theoretical phase was over, we returned outdoors, where we set up a table covered with drawing paper and participants found abundant resources for drawing (markers, pencils, wax crayons, brushes and watercolors).

For an hour and a half, participants then created GIFs using the free ANIMADE FRAMES app, drawing on a grid with 8 frames provided by the app itself.

All participants managed to make at least one GIF, and many produced more than one. The immediacy of the task and the ease of using the app were highly appreciated. From the monitoring questionnaires we had the participants fill out at the end of the workshop, we received interesting and very positive feedback: all of the artists who got involved appreciated the opportunity to work together, making the individual work of animation illustration a collective and meeting experience.

All the GIFs made during the workshop were then assembled to create the SUPERLOOP, which was screened to the festival audience the following evening.


“I, like La Guarimba Film Festival, am convinced that beautiful culture makes people happy, and that everything should be done to share it. I am also convinced that sexual cultures belong to everyone and everyone, like the sea, and should be distributed, like water.”

During the last Guarimba we hosted the Venetian multidisciplinary artist Benedetta Panisson on the jury. Out of a casual conversation came the idea of organizing a special program of feminist porn cinema together, designed to start a conversation about the artistic value of pornography and challenge the stereotypes of a traditionally male chauvinist industry.

A year later, on the night of August 11, this crazy idea came to life: we set up a screen on the beach, in a secret location that we shared with interested viewers. In front of an audience that flocked in large numbers, we shared a unique moment of community and intimacy.

In her introduction speech, Benedetta shared some questions to the audience:

  1. Why are we on a beach by night, in a secret location?
  2. Following question: Are we marginal?
  3. Do you hide when you watch porn?
  4. Do you share your favorite porn with your friends, lovers, family, sons and daughters?
  5. Is porn still in the nexus of prohibitions and moral structures?
  6. What should porn be in a society without religion?
  7. Is feminist porn for female, male or non-binary gaze?
  8. What sexual practices are feminist? Is penetration feminist? Is anal sex feminist? Is oral sex feminist?
  9. Is pleasure just always socially, economically, politically constructed?
  10. Is consent transgressive?
  11. Is inclusivity erotic?

and, the last one:

When in front of a porn, does our physical arousal coincide with our intellectual arousal?

After warming up with the Feminist Porn program, Afro-Caribbean music was unleashed on Amantea beach with Dayana Chaparro Garcia, aka Guayaba, an interdisciplinary artist and activist from Colombia. Her set combined Afro-Caribbean sounds, cumbia, champeta, salsa and guaracha, contaminated with electronic, psychedelic and wild rhythms from multiple underground scenes.


As in previous editions, 15 international illustrators from five continents were invited to create their own version of the festival poster for the Artists For La Guarimba exhibition curated by Valeria Weerasinghe, interpreting it in their own style and language. The posters were displayed to the public in a dedicated space near the stall access, as well as in an online gallery.

The participating artists of the 11th edition:

Mikel Murillo (Spain), Carlos Luis Sánchez Becerra (Venezuela), Matteo Dang (Italy), Kelly Schiesswohl (United States), Margaux Bigou (Tahiti), Vishnu M Nair (India), Sacha Beeley (United Kingdom), Ngadi Smart (Sierra Leone), Des Skordillis (Australia), Santiago Pérez (Colombia), Antonella Pastén (Chile), Yaka Hara (Japan), Khoren Matevosyan (Armenia), Liana Raberanto (Madagascar), Mikkel Sommer (Denmark).


Once again this year, La Guarimba dedicated part of its program to the children of Amantea, in collaboration with UNICEF Italy, with the aim of stimulating the curiosity of young viewers and immersing them in a rich and varied program of stories and techniques.

The film program consisted of 100 works of animation selected by Italian-Srilankan animator and illustrator Valeria Weerasinghe. During the days of the festival, we hosted the young participants in our offices, setting up a safe and comfortable space with a large screen for them to experience the magic of cinema.

With the aim of combining entertainment with education, each day’s screenings were preceded by creative activities organized by educators Valeria Weerasinghe and Gabriele Tangerini.

The first day was dedicated to the Doodle Space workshop, a creative free drawing space in which to find everything you need to unleash your imagination. Young and grownups, including several guest illustrators and animators, found a place to unleash their creativity and tell new stories and new worlds through different shapes and colors.

The second day we started the Drawing-stories Corner, a three-meeting educational workshop on communication, for girls and boys ages 4 and up, in which we learned about and recognized the many different ways we use words, voice, expressions and our bodies to relate to others. We used visual art and storytelling as tools to experience relationships and reflect on different ways of communicating.

The first day was dedicated to storytelling, putting the children into play and asking them what it means to communicate, what a story is, and creating stories together with them. On the second day, the young participants drew their own stories and explored the different ways we each interpret a message. Finally, during the last day of workshops, the children told the stories they came up with to those who then drew them, thus practicing communication and listening.

On August 11, we wanted to give viewers a chance to discuss and express their opinions on the short films screened, by holding the screenings in the form of a cineforum. In this way, children were able to discover and get in touch with the many different styles and approaches that characterize contemporary animation, from stop motion to 2D, from 3D to mixed techniques, developing their own aesthetic and artistic sensibility.

Each day, moreover, the children had the opportunity to meet the filmmakers present at the festival, exposing their questions and curiosities directly with the authors of the works they saw.

Also this year, viewers of the La Grotta dei Piccoli were able to vote daily for their favorite short films, joining the Children Jury. By doing so, the children felt even more participation and responsibility within the project that ended, during the last day, with the announcement of the winning film and the presentation of the respective award. It was exciting to see the joy of the little participants in being on stage to announce the victory of the film “It was only a rock that looked like someone” directly to its creator, Bolivian filmmaker Matisse Gonzalez who, in this way, was able to see her work awarded directly by the audience for whom her film was intended.

La Grotta dei Piccoli, which began as a small entertainment program to allow parents to drop off children during “grown-up” screenings, has become a high-impact educational project inspired by non-formal education methods such as Cooperative Learning and the Montessori School.

Awards - Day 06 - 223_Festival 2023_Sergio G Durre copy


The 11th edition of La Guarimba International Film Festival hosted 90 people including directors, producers, festival organizers, institutional representatives and cultural workers, relying on 9 hotels in Amantea for their stay. The guests came from 18 different countries – Argentina, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Ireland, Kuwait, the United Kingdom, Spain, Switzerland, Tahiti, Hungary, and Venezuela. For many of them it was the first time in Italy, for some the first time in Europe.

Since the first year, we have pursued a very precise idea of a festival: a community experience to be lived as a multicultural celebration. Therefore, we designed a series of activities to encourage guests to get to know each other and be together, as well as to discover our Calabrian-Venezuelan culture and identity.

For the six days of the event, we invited participants to Il Terrenito for community lunches, prepared by our team using local products and ingredients. Through the lunches we were able to meet and get to know each other better, sharing a moment of great symbolic value and exchange through food.

In particular, for the last collective lunch we organized a feast of Venezuelan cuisine, preparing and serving more than two hundred arepas, a traditional South American dish that also won over the palates of guests from distant parts of the world. In this way, in addition to making the participants try something new, we were able to consolidate the strong bond that combines the Calabrian and Latin American origins of the festival.


Each year, the festival inaugurates its arrival in Amantea with a morning dedicated to cleaning up the beach. Thirty-three people including team, volunteers and guests gathered on the waterfront to help us collect the trash on the shoreline and return a cleaner, more livable place.

In addition to contributing to our environmental sustainability project CAMBUR, this activity allows, from the very beginning, to consolidate the sense of community that accompanies us throughout the festival and to show the result of a collective work.


In the Artists in Residency program, artists from different disciplines come to Amantea and create their own project during the days of the festival, inspired by the places and personalities of Amantea and working together with the festival community. This year we invited Colombian artist and animator Santiago Pérez Rodríguez to create a mural on the facade of our offices, next to Il Terrenito. During the festival days, Santiago gave a new identity to our walls, which now house his colorful and hallucinatory characters.


Every year we organize a tour of Amantea’s historic center dedicated to our guests, to help them discover the town even more deeply and make them feel an integral part of our community.

On the afternoon of August 8, we met at Il Terrenito to start the guided tour and retrace the history of our marine center, visiting its most picturesque corners. We also saw strong participation from tourists and locals who, by joining the group, were able to explore, admire and remember the beauty of their area. We passed by the Sicoli Arena and the Via Noto parking lot, where we organized the first and ninth edition of La Guarimba, presenting the urban regeneration intervention by street artists Cesáh and Sara Fratini. We went up to the historic center and explored the oldest alleys, passing from the Mother Church to the ruins of the Byzantine church of St. Francis, and then to the Angevin mastia tower. Finally, we visited Palazzo Carratelli, a historic mansion overlooking the city skyline and the sea, now owned by former Italian ambassador to Canberra Gian Ludovico De Martino and his wife Camilla de Martino di Montegiordano, who recently completed its restoration.


La Guarimba community has brought variety, internationality and human and social richness to a small Calabrian town rich in history, beauty and culture. Consistent with the goals of the Calabria Film Commission, La Guarimba works to free Calabria from the stereotypes of a place to go on vacation, to make it an appealing cultural hub, capable of attracting funding and sponsors of different kinds.

Our total budget for this edition was €130,000. The festival cost nothing to the Amantea community, and all funding was raised through writing regional, national and international calls for proposals, sponsors, embassies, donations and gadget sales. La Guarimba has been self-financing since the first edition, and it brings to the area an indirect economic inducement that we have estimated to be €170,000, including all consumption for hospitality and catering by festival visitors, as well as those of our guests.

The visibility and positive publicity that the festival brings to the city of Amantea is evident: our country’s name is mentioned in the Calabria Film Commission‘s “Bella Come il Cinema” project, in the international Short Film Conference and Creativity Pioneers networks, in reports from embassies and partner organizations, as well as in the press review that this year involved major newspapers such as Repubblica, Sky Arte, Il Fatto Quotidiano and the Regional TG. We have entered into a media partnership with MyMovies, streaming a selection of 15 short films made during our artistic residency programs, on the MyMovies ONE platform.

Through social media, we shared all the formal and informal moments of the festival, creating daily photo albums, video reports and stories that helped increase the engagement of our audience. All the videos we have produced have been accompanied by the Venezuelan band La Pequeña Revancha.


The Jury that awarded the competition category prizes consisted of Colombian animator and illustrator Santiago Pérez Rodríguez and the two Hungarian animators Zsuzsanna Kreif and Borcsa Zétényi. Among the competition category awards and special awards, we made 9 wooden trophies representing the guarimbera monkey. This year, we gave recognition to bold filmmakers and works from underrepresented countries, such as Bolivia, Jordan, Tanzania and Congo.


BEST FICTION: Our males and females by Ahmad Alyaseer | 11′ | Jordan

BEST ANIMAZIONE: My year of dicks by Sara Gunnarsdóttir | 25′ | United States

BEST DOCUMENTARY: Apostles of cinema by Darragh Amelia, Gertrude Malizana, Jesse Gerard Mpango, Cece Mlay | 16′ | Tanzania

BEST VIDEOCLIP: Chasseur chassé by Lolita Do Peso Diogo, Gabriel Wéber | 4′ | France

BEST EXPERIMENTAL FILM “INSOMNIA”: AMO by Emmanuel Gras | 20′ | France

JURY SPECIAL MENTION: Mulika by Maisha Maene | 14′ | Congo

LA GROTTA DEI PICCOLI AWARD (awarded by the Children Jury, composed of more than 30 children and teenagers, who announced the winner on La Guarimba stage, presenting the award to the director at the festival): It was only a rock that looked like someone by Matisse Gonzalez | 11′ | Mexico/Bolivia

GUARIMBEROS AWARD (assigned by the festival organizational team): Romeo by Sara G. Cortijo | 11′ | Spain

NONNINA AWARD (assigned by Nonna Saveria, the first La Guarimba spectator): The other end of the street by Kálmán Nagy | 22′ | Austria


The third edition of the “Vitaliano Camarca” Audience Award has confirmed itself as a successful initiative to continue the testimony of the figure of the great cultural programmer from Amantea and cultivate the collective memory of the town.

This year we collected 242 votes from the audience who, using a digital form, were able to express their preference and assign the Camarca Trophy, a handcrafted bronze medal depicting the church of S. Francesco, one of the symbols of Amantea.

With 39 votes, the most voted film was “An Irish goodbye”, an Irish family comedy by Tom Berkeley and Ross White, which moved the audience for its immediacy and emotional strength.