Il Terrenito is a multifunctional space located in the center of Amantea (Calabria), which we purchased at the end of 2021 and redeveloped during the following year. In July 2022, it hosted a program of 26 cultural events, involving artists, local associations and local sponsors, with whom we built together a cultural program of theater, dance, cinema, painting, photography, workshops for children and literature, organized in the town without cinemas and cultural spaces.
Il Terrenito 2022
To build the program of events, we have undertaken a path of listening and understanding the interests of the community. We organized meetings and carried out surveys to bring out the real needs of the reference target, to then analyze and understand them, finding the answers to the community’s questions through the most efficient and effective solutions possible.
We have learned that the participatory process is not the definitive solution to all problems and that there is also a need for control by the organization to filter all requests, but we still considered it important to start from this method, which is hardly explored by local policies, which prefers to follow standardized models and which, in recent years, seems to have stopped listening and talking to civil society.
This methodology has been applied since the constitution of the space and in the constitution of its parts, which was decided collectively, and continued in the drafting of the cultural program, which was created by putting together the proposals of the associations, leaving the possibility of using Il Terrenito the way they thought best.
We began to see this space as a blank canvas on which, every time, we could paint something new. The associations – the painters – were therefore able to use a flexible container, ready to empty and fill each time with a different content.
We did not ask for any contribution for the use of the space: we provided electricity, technical equipment and logistical support to the associations, letting them keep all the proceeds for their paid events.
To make it sustainable, we have built a network of local and national sponsors, who gave us their contribution.
Caffè Guglielmo, in addition to financial support, provided us with a coffee machine and pods, to offer coffee to guests. The Alfano construction company gave us some construction materials for the works, Zai Urban Winery the cans of wine to be distributed during the events, Callipo the ice creams, CONAD Campora S. Giovanni printed the flyers with the July program, which distributed in the houses of Amantea, while the publishing company People gave us copies of some of their main publications. The Goethe Institut and the Embassy of Japan in Italy sponsored the programs dedicated to Fritz Lang and Satoshi Kon, granting us the screening rights of the films.
On June 4, 2022, in view of the upcoming administrative elections of the municipality of Amantea, we invited the two mayoral candidates to meet cultural associations and discuss with citizens, exposing their cultural program and the initiatives to be taken to revitalize this sector.
It was an opportunity to show and open the space to citizenship, engaging it in our idea of open and democratic confrontation, where institutions cannot work without contact with civil society.
For the first time in the recent history of Amantea, cultural associations have joined forces, actively collaborating and creating synergies. During the events we confronted each other, exchanging materials, equipment and ideas. For example, the dance company Al Mantiah Ballet, after their performance, left the carpet that covered the stage to allow the theater company La Buffa to use it for theirs.
THE EVENTS OF JULY 2022
Il Terrenito was inaugurated on 2 July 2022 with the concert, with free admission, of the Orchestra dei Fiati Mediterranea Città di Amantea, which occupied the new stage for the first time with all its members, including three very young amanteans who exhibited for the first time. The Orchestra paid tribute to the great film music composers Nino Rota and Ennio Morricone, performing the pieces from The Godfather, Nuovo Cinema Paradiso, The Good The Bad The Ugly, Duck You Sucker!, La Dolce Vita and Amarcord. Iconic scenes from these films were projected on the large wall beside the stage, creating a highly suggestive effect for the audience.
The response of the citizens was very positive: the 100 seats were all filled, while many sat on the ottomans and on the sofa in the relaxation area, while others watched the exhibition standing, even from the street.
Starting this journey with the Orchestra, which for years has been inaugurating the festival with an opening concert, has had great symbolic value for us: they participated, in 2012, in the film La Mia Mantia, directed by Giulio Vita when he just arrived in Amantea to work on the first project of what would later become La Guarimba.
Every Sunday in July was dedicated to the “Entroterra” program, a hybrid format dedicated to various activities aimed at rediscovering the artistic and cultural traditions of Amantea. We asked to local artists and associations to take care of these events of reconnection with the historical memory of the territory.
On the 3rd of July we hosted an impromptu painting exhibition: six local artists were invited to collect their canvases and paint throughout the day, exhibiting the results at Il Terrenito during an aperitivo open to all citizens. For us it was an important first step to make the space known in a deconstructed context, without fixed seats, where guests could freely go around and experience the place differently from a traditional concert hall or theater.
The following week we hosted Associazione Amanteani nel Mondo, which organized an exhibition dedicated to the maritime culture that has made the history of Amantea. Objects used in traditional fishing were exhibited, such as the lampara, nets and boats, accompanied by photographs that captured the work of fishermen of the past and captions that explained their techniques and history. Under the lemon tree, we set up an exhibition of sculptures by Fortunato Pagliaro, an Amantean fisherman who carved religious wooden figures with a unique technique and a personal style, and videos with his testimonies were shown.
On July 17, it was the turn of Associazione RiScatto, which organized a multidisciplinary event on the theme of eco-sustainability in collaboration with the Convent Center and the sculptor Giampiero De Santis, creator of the Pupazzi Pazzi project. The day began with workshops for children on the environment, who then met De Santis and his puppets made with waste and recycled materials. The association then exhibited portraits of Amantean characters who have distinguished themselves in their commitment to environmentalism in their work and in their personal lives.
The last appointment was dedicated to setting up a vintage market, curated by the Vintage Star organization, which brought together several local sellers. We have made our tables available to display used books, comics, clothes, jewelry, notebooks handmade by the artist Chiara Staropoli, food products, natural soaps and spices from the Malva farm.
The market was a novelty in Amantea to promote sustainable and alternative consumption to the traditional commerce of the city.
The cinema program at Il Terrenito was designed to compensate for the lack of cinemas in the Amantea area, which has impoverished the cultural offer of the area and unaccustomed people to the magical experience of the movie theatre. Inspired by the magic of the summer outdoor arena, we screened twelve films, divided into three programs: historical cinema, modern cinema and social cinema.
The films were projected on the rock wall adjacent to the stage, creating a unique effect, especially for old titles, by simulating the grain of the film. The entrance was free, consistent with our social mission to bring cinema back to the people and people back to the cinema without creating barriers.
Fritz Lang’s Retrospective was dedicated to one of the great authors of the cinema of the 1920s and 1930s. Pioneer of the Weimar Republic expressionism, dissident of Nazi-fascism, first experimenter of sound cinema, Lang has influenced cinema as we know it today and has created masterpieces that are still able to excite and narrate society and the human soul.
We have selected four films representative of his poetics and the different phases of his career: two silent (Destiny and Metropolis) and two sound films (M and The Testament of Dr. Mabuse). The projection of Destiny was accompanied by a soundtrack composed of Italian and foreign psychedelic and progressive rock songs, to create a contrast between the old images and the modern sounds.
The Satoshi Kon Retrospective wanted to pay homage to a lesser-known Japanese animation master, author of a bold cinema that analyzes the psyche and the torments of the human soul.
We screened the films Roujin Z, Perfect Blue, Tokyo Godfathers and Paprika, showing the evolution of his language and the topics covered.
The films address ethical issues and show the dystopian worlds that the progressive society is generating. In this way, we made our audience rediscover the world of animation suitable for children and adults.
The Black Power in the USA program was dedicated to African American protest cinema, with four independent titles, three of which never released in Calabria: Do The Right Thing by Spike Lee, Beasts of the Southern Wild by Benh Zeitlin, Sorry to Bother You by Boots Riley and The Last Black Man in San Francisco by Joe Talbot.
The program wanted to show the social anger of African American communities, often told with irony but capable of generating reflections and doubts in the white audience, to approach the problem of racism and its representation in cinema with criticality. Bold and irreverent films were chosen, which questioned the value system we live in and Western society at its foundation.
The stage of Il Terrenito was filled with beauty with the theater and dance of three Amantean performance companies: Al Mantiah Ballet, La Casa del Vento and La Buffa, which brought three original shows and offered moments of cultural reflection connected to the territory.
In a town without theaters, it was an important signal to offer the three companies a space where they could perform in front of an audience without incurring costs.
Al Mantiah Ballet‘s show PASSI del Sud, directed by Elvira Tonnara, combined classical ballet with the reading of ten texts donated by five poets, four Calabrian by origin and one by adoption because he was in love with this land. A show that has set itself the intention of showing the footsteps praised by poets and has involved a wide and intergenerational audience, which has witnessed a triumph of beauty and elegance.
La Casa Del Vento organized an intense live reading of two stories by Dino Buzzati, taken from his collection Le Notti Difficili and a passage from Italo Calvino‘s Il Cavaliere Inestistente. The stories were interpreted by the actors Virginio Gallo and Loredana Ponti, who added pathos and dynamics to the readings, with the musical accompaniment of a trio consisting of synthesizers, accordion and cello.
Finally, La Buffa theater company organized the show La Leggenda di Colapesce, taken from the Sicilian popular myth, updating it in contemporary times with references to the 1908 earthquake in Reggio Calabria and Messina and to the change in identity values in Southern Italy.
The hypnotic original music, the extravagant costumes, the sets and the plays of light challenged the spectators, who flocked to let themselves be led into the abysses of the popular culture of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.
During the months of pre-production of the events, we met a manuscript of poems by Fortunata Morelli, an Amantean doctor who passed away in 2001 who, in her spare time, practiced poetry and painting. She had never published a book and only some of his poems, sent to literary competitions, were known in Amantea. After reading them, we fell in love with those lines and decided to digitize and collect all of her verses in a self-produced collection. We contacted her daughters and discovered new diaries together, with dozens and dozens of handwritten poems.
We have put together all the lines, respecting the typos and keeping as faithful as possible to the manuscripts and digitizing a small lost heritage.
The book was printed in a limited edition of 100 copies and presented at Il Terrenito in a very attended event, where Tina Morelli’s daughters and old friends read her poems and shared memories and anecdotes with the public. It was an opportunity to revive the memory of an illustrious person in the city and show the world her never valued art.
On July 26, we invited the former mayor of Riace Domenico Lucano to present his book Il Fuorilegge and to tell his experience and his work in Riace.
Mimmo Lucano spoke of his model of virtuous hospitality, capable of repopulating an abandoned village and creating a sustainable social, economic and environmental circle, against the logic of capitalism and neoliberalism that have devoured the hopes of the Calabrians.
His words and his courage filled us with hope, with the desire for redemption and optimism for a free Calabria full of opportunities for young people.
To conclude this first path, we have organized a final event as a moment to reflect together with the community on what has been done so far, thank all sponsors and partners and invite associations to propose new ideas for the future.
We also presented the mural created by the Sardinian street artist La Fille Bertha, who had already created a work for La Guarimba in Amantea in 2016. This time we assigned her the task of beautifying Il Terrenito, helped by Alessio Errante, to continue the work of redeveloping the space through art.
Finally, we invited the Roman singer and songwriter Marta Lucchesini, aka Marat, for a concert offered to the community. Marat had been a volunteer at the 2021 edition of La Guarimba Film Festival, and had already given us a small improvised concert on the beach. This year she released her first EP Tempesta E Calci and has performed in concerts all over Italy. We wanted to bring her back to Calabria to celebrate together the adventure of Il Terrenito, leaving her space for her music and her words, which captured the attention of the participants with a unique style, a mixture of songwriting, indie, synthpop and electronics, and introspective lyrics.
Thus ended the July program of Il Terrenito, a space that still has much to say and will experience transformations, adaptations and novelties. With these 26 events, we have laid the first stone of a path that wants to become an integral part of the life of the amanteans.
We imagine the Terrenito as a safe space where people can find refuge from the hectic and consumerist world, open to those who have something to say and to tell.
A space where associations will be able to offer their content for free and discuss with each other, growing together and learning from the community experience.
A space of constructive confrontation, of proactive and vital conflict for a community, an alternative to the flattening of uncritical consensus and devoid of stimuli for change.
A space of beauty that responds to the needs of our territory abandoned by the institutions, where to restore dignity to culture and the collective memory of a people, as a basis for its future.
PEPERONCINO JAZZ FESTIVAL AT IL TERRENITO
On the 24th of August 2022, Amantea returned to host, after more than eight years, a stage of one of the most important music festivals in the Region. The Peperoncino Jazz Festival, now in its twenty-first edition, is a traveling event that brings concerts of the highest quality in various Calabrian municipalities, including big names in world jazz and emerging artists.
The artistic director Sergio Gimigliano, impressed by the vital energy of our new space, offered us to host a date at the Terrenito. We have chosen to share it with the Amantea community for free, without the support of public or private funding, but with the intention of opening the space again to ideally end the season with our audience.
An all-Calabrian trio performed, but with international stage experiences: the Calabrian Jazz Experience project, which performed original songs taken from their first album Nebula, which combined jazz, fusion and funk melodies and rhythms, with vibraphone by Samuel Cerra, and the rhythm section of bassist Franco Marino and drummer Massimo Russo.
The response from the public was very positive, taking up all 100 seats and filling the lawn and the street, showing appreciation and enthusiasm for a genre that, between the closure of historic venues and the neglect of local politicians, was rarely heard live in Amantea.