La Grotta Dei Piccoli – Children’s Animation Film Festival

La Grotta Dei Piccoli is born as part of the 2016 edition of La Guarimba International Film Festival, as an entirely child friendly zone with the intent of offering non-formal educational paths through the language of cinema and illustration.

This project includes the screening of a selection of a hundred animated short films from all over the world, educational workshops around animation and illustration, and meetings with international directors and animators.

The initiative aims to challenge the children’s and young people’s craving for cultural innovation during this sensitive life stages and to support them in new an essential path, capable of developing creativity and discovering of new imaginaries, with a fundamental educational tool of social development.

To this day we suffer from the social divide that exists between the different Italian regions, and our goal is to give cultural dignity to the territory, where there is no healthy entertainment for children, cultural houses or libraries, places that have always been a symbol of social gathering and knowledge, so it is even more important for us to make culture accessible, paying particular attention to those who need it most.

The selected works have the objective of respecting the children and challenging them with sensitive themes and new narrative techniques, necessary for the development of creativity and critical sense, by still leaving them free to play and imagine “.

Screenings and activities take place during the days of the La Guarimba festival: at the entrance to Parco Della Grotta, parents will find qualified staff to entrust their children to. They will enjoy the cinema in complete safety, in a small festival designed just for them. The shorts are screened in parallel with the official festival competition, in a space adjacent to the main screen.

The project plans to make children protagonists of the festival through their voluntary participation to the Young Jury, who will nominate the winning short film of La Grotta dei Piccoli stimulating an active participation and a constant involvment.

Since 2017, the competition takes place within the festival in collaboration with UNICEF Italy, which acknowledges its relevance at national level for socio-cultural growth of young people.

In 2021 and 2022, the project received the Award of Representation of the Chamber of Deputies.


A fundamental part of the project is represented by the educational workshops, which take place in the afternoon, before the screenings.

The activities are coordinated by Gabriele Tangerini and use non-formal educational path such as the Montessorian Education, the Cooperative Learning and the Learning by Doing in order to entertain and educate at the same time. Within an open and collaborative context, we create moments of community where we attempt to transmit values of participatory democracy, integration and accessibility.


Director of La Grotta dei Piccoli

Valeria (Italy, 1991) is an Italian/Sri Lankan illustrator working in Animation. After her first degree in Media Arts focusing on filmmaking and cinematography, she specialised in Character Animation at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts ( London), joining her passions for the world of cinema and illustration. She collaborates with various names of the editorial world as well as creating concepts and characters for animation. She currently lives in Ireland working within the design team of an award winning animation studio for an upcoming feature film.

Curator of the workshops

Gabriele (Italy, 1992), graduated in Education Sciences, with experience in cultural teaching for children and teenagers. He gained professional experience in projects of psychology of art and development of cultural spaces. He is the project assistant for the company Ad Meliora and the coordinator of cultural mediation activities at the National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art in Rome.

Brand Image & Graphic Design

Mikel (Spain, 1985) is an illustrator and comic artist. With a degree in Fine Arts, Mikel collaborates with different Spanish agencies and magazines. He also works in Connecting Brains, a company focused in graphic recording and visual thinking. Since 2013, Mikel is in charge of La Guarimba International Film Festival’s visual identity, making drawings and illustrations for its web and social media as well as for posters, catalogues and flyers.