The 7th edition of CinemAmbulante – Storie di Integrazione has been held in Amantea (Southern Italy) from the 10th to the 21st June 2022, composed of an independent film program and an international film residency.
THE FILM PROGRAM
The CinemAmbulante film program took place in four events at the Lido Azzurro in Amantea. The program was composed of a selection of 4 international feature films about cultural integration and refugees.
The program included a focus on Mantas Kvedaravičius, a Lithuanian film director and anthropologist who died at the age of 45 on 2 April 2022, during the assault of Mariupol by the Russian armed forces, while he was there to shoot a documentary on the war.
Kvedaravičius had already shot the documentary Mariupolis on the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, told through symbolism and images of great evocative power. The film was presented at the Berlinale 2016.
We thus chose, also thanks to the collaboration with the Embassy of the Lithuanian Republic in Italy, to pay homage to him with two of his films, which we shared with our community and the participants of the Kino. In addition to Mariupolis, we screened his experimental feature film Parthenon, which premiered during the 2019 Venice Biennale.
by Federico Francioni (Italy/France, 2021, 70′)
by Isabelle Ingold, Vivianne Perelmuter (Belgium/Iran, 2020, 63′).
by Mantas Kvedaravičius (Lithuania/Ukraine/France, 2019, 119′)
by Mantas Kvedaravičius (Lithuania/Germany/France/Ukraine, 2016, 90′)
For the fifth consecutive year, the small town of Amantea hosted Kino Guarimba, an international film training program structured in the form of an artistic residency.
For twelve days, professionals and students of the audiovisual sector from all over the world gathered in the Calabrian coasts to give shape to their ideas: directors, operators, screenwriters, editors, actors and technicians conceived, shot and edited short films, publicly screened for the whole city during the final evening.
Kino Guarimba is an extraordinary social experience and an innovative film training program that allows the artists participating in the project to explore their potential and unleash their creativity, overcoming the constraints and pressures of traditional productions and living a community experience in a new context such as Southern Italy.
The project aims to create a new awareness of the multicultural complexity that populates our region, fostering an encounter between different cultures, with the mission of supporting a mutual understanding between international participants and the local community.
For this reason, we have worked to build a heterogeneous community of artists, able to tell Amantea through their point of view and their perspective, constituting a mosaic of visions composed of short films that have captured many aspects of Calabria.
The participants of the 5th edition
The selection process was structured in two phases: a spontaneous application through a Google form and an interview on Zoom, to understand the candidates’ profiles and motivations.
Thanks to the collaboration with universities and film schools around the world, we received over 200 applications, which were then skimmed in the selection of 50 people (33 women, 16 men, one non-binary) from 22 countries: Australia, Austria, Canada, China, Finland, France, Germany, , Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Somalia, Syria, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States.
From the Middle East to Africa, from the Americas to Australia, this year the guarimberos represented all continents, bringing different languages, traditions and cultures to Calabria and coming into contact with the Amantean community for twelve days of exchange and dialogue.
For three participants, from the United States, Canada and Japan, Amantea was their first travel experience in Europe. For many others, it was their first meeting with Italy.
Girls and boys aged 19 to 60, full of enthusiasm and curiosity, explored abandoned medieval churches, pristine beaches and the ancient houses of the historic center, making this small Mediterranean village an open-air set where to tell new stories.
As every year, the level of experience of the participants was varied: actors with long experience in theater and cinema worked side by side with those who were approaching the world of acting for the first time; a Californian director with experience working on Hollywood sets such as Euphoria, Star Wars and Mank shared her knowledge with young film students and emerging operators.
Thanks to our partnership with the Kortfilmfestival Leuven (Belgium), we invited the German cinematographer Alexander Sussman to participate in the residency with a scholarship, as the winner of the Audience Award for the best documentary in the Flemish festival.
Eleven of the fifty participants had already taken part in a past edition of the Kino. This figure confirms the extent of the experience, which has convinced many to return to continue their journey in Calabria and deepen their relationship with Amantea and its community.
The fifth edition of Kino Guarimba was enriched by many moments of in-depth study of the Calabrian culture, which allowed participants to discover its original essence. We organized tasting sessions of typical products, in collaboration with two restaurants in Amantea specialized in Calabrian cuisine and a guided tour in the historic center of the town.
These moments were an integral part of the residence, which is not reduced to a production process, but represent a cultural enrichment to bring inspiration to the participants and allow the promotion of products, traditions and places among those who had never been to Calabria and he knew Southern Italy only through stereotypes.
On the first day, the participants were greeted with the traditional welcome dinner at Jolly Ristoria, which prepared a buffet of traditional Calabrian cuisine, with ingredients produced locally, which brought girls and boys from all over the world closer to our culinary culture, where food sharing plays an important social role.
On the 11th of June, we inaugurated the activities of the residency, hosted by the Lido Azzurro of Amantea. After breakfast, the Guarimberos team presented the project and introduced the participants to the rules and philosophy of experience.
The participants then had the opportunity to engage with a speed dating exercise, where they had a minute to talk, one at a time, with each of their companions, proposing their ideas and trying to find people to fill the roles necessary for their projects.
The first intense morning of exchange and discussion was followed by the lunch at the Cantina Amarcord, another gastronomic excellence of the area, which offered guests another taste of the authentic Mediterranean cuisine.
In the evening we organized a guided tour in the historic center of Amantea, along the old suggestive streets, telling anecdotes, stories and legends of the city, in order to give the participants further inspiration for their works.
The tour covered the convent of St. Bernardino, the ruins of the Byzantine church of St. Francesco and the Angevin tower, ending in the Mother Church of St. Biagio.
The casting of local actors took place on the third day of the residency, a further push to create connections between the project and the territory. Several children and young people participated, who were all involved in the various projects and had the opportunity to experience, as protagonists, the magic of cinema, as well as Amantean actors who have been taking part in the Kino sets for years, enriching their curriculum and building new connections and experiences.
After the casting, we created a training space for the masterclasses, held by the tutor of the residence Oscar Peña González, who condensed his knowledge into an intensive session of three different workshops: general organization of a ten-day production, sound recording and lighting. The tutor shared his knowledge gained in thirteen years of professional experience on sets, providing advice and shortcuts to produce a short film in such limited time and resources.
The indications on the use of video cameras, microphones and equipment were useful for those who wanted to try their hand at different roles in the production of a short for the first time.
The next day we hosted the pitching of the projects, where the directors and authors presented their ideas. The organization has not formed the working groups and has not assigned roles to follow, but has let the participants come together spontaneously to give life to their ideas, stimulating the freedom of the creative flow.
The teaching methodology used in the residency is the Cooperative Learning, which is based on the interaction of the participants and their collaboration to achieve common goals. The working groups were not formed as bubbles closed in on themselves, but were encouraged to confront each other, to exchange technical material and human resources and to find shared solutions for the success of their respective projects.
The Cooperative Learning method uses the emotional and cognitive involvement of the group as a learning tool that allows you to build an overall vision of the audiovisual production process, overcoming individualism and bringing each personal experience and vision as a contribution to the project.
The final screening
After the days dedicated to the production, shooting and editing, in which the working groups exchanged material, knowledge and ideas, the films made during the 12 days of residency were screened outdoors on the 21st of June at the Lido Azzurro in Amantea.
35 short films with a maximum duration of 10 minutes were made, including comedies, family dramas, horror, music videos, dance performances, documentaries and visual poems, performed in Italian, English, Calabrian dialect, French, Spanish, Arabic and German.
The 22 nationalities of the participants poured into this large fresco of Amantea, captured from different perspectives in almost three hours of screening in front of an audience of over 200 people of all ages, who were able to watch the films that showed their territory. Films not always perfect, many still to be finished, but which represent the closing of a path that has as its focal point not the final result, but the whole process of learning and growth that the participants of the residency experienced in a context that is new to them and full of challenges.
The impact of the project
CinemAmbulante project is part of a path of actions that our organization has built over the years with the aim of enriching the social and cultural capital of the Amantea area.
Hosting 50 young international artists and letting them work in a small town on the Calabrian Tyrrhenian coast is a revolutionary act as that these people do not live closed in their bubble, but enter into a relationship with the community, shooting their films in houses, shops, restaurants and public spaces of the city, involving Amanteans as actors and extras, buying food, drinks, technical material and props in their shops, transforming Amantea into a large open-air set.
The beauty and uniqueness of this cultural enrichment is impossible to convey in numbers, but it represents a fundamental point in the path of redemption of a culturally depressed territory, devoid of cinemas, theaters, libraries and recreational spaces, destroyed by a generation of politicians unable to enter into dialogue with citizens.
Kino Guarimba wanted to bring culture back into relationship with people, making them part of a process of co-planning and mutual listening.
To give a representative example: the young Mannarino brothers took part as protagonists in the film “Il Mare Maledetto”, produced by a team of Irish, American, Italian and English, shot on the beaches of Amantea with tones inspired by Italian neorealism. The children showed great talent and enthusiasm, and were able to see themselves on the big screen in front of their entire community.
Bringing fifty people in June to a city experiencing the busiest tourist season only a month later also had an important impact on the economic structure of Amantea: the rent of the apartments where the participants were hosted, the purchase of food items, meals consumed in restaurants, the many drinks purchased in bars, props, computer materials in shops, souvenirs: all these aspects generated an estimated cost of about € 2300 per participant, for a total of € 115,000 brought to the territory.
Unlike traditional mass tourism, however, the Kino stands out for a virtuous model, in which the tourist brings wealth and cultural exchange, working and returning a product that narrates the community in which it lived for two weeks, promoting it in all the world.
The films made will be distributed in international festivals, screened in different countries and spreading the name of Amantea and Calabria where it never could have reached.
The impact of the project does not only concern the local community, but has a profound effect on the personal and professional lives of the participants, who measure themselves with a new and intense training experience, full of exchanges, knowledge and experiments. The residence offers everyone the opportunity to shoot a small project without pressure, with creative freedom and support from the organization and an entire community: many have tried their to direct their first film, others have learned to shoot live audio, to use lights and spotlights, and others have moved to the other side of the camera and acted.
All this, discovering for the first time a magical and difficult territory like Calabria, so different from the one that many experience every day, capable of giving unforgettable emotions, new friendships and future collaborations.
CinemAmbulante is a revolutionary cultural and social project, unique in Italy and, with all its limitations and its possibilities for improvement, capable of reviving a context in deep crisis and of self-financing without big sponsors or foundations behind it.
A project born from the idea of two Italo-Venezuelans tired of old age and the self-referentiality of the cultural world, who want to grow and renew themselves to continue in its mission of bringing cinema back to the people and people to the cinema.
Kino Guarimba Coordinator
OSCAR PEÑA GONZÁLEZ