For the sixth edition of Kino Guarimba, the city of Amantea hosted, from 10 to 22 September, professionals, students and emerging artists from the audiovisual sector from all over the world. Directors, screenwriters, actors, operators, technicians and editors gathered in the small Calabrian center to experience a film training experience and to conceive, shoot and edit short films to be publicly screened during the last evening.
Given the difficult political situation currently affecting Ukraine, we have decided to offer a scholarship to 10 Ukrainian artists, thanks to the support of European Cultural Foundation. We strongly believe that art and culture are important and effective means of integration and awareness. For this reason, in our small way, we wanted to give these participants the opportunity to express their ideas and visions in a group as vast as it is diverse.
Kino Guarimba is a unique experience of its kind: thanks to the creation of a heterogeneous and eclectic community, and to the complete freedom offered from a creative point of view, this artistic residency allows its participants to learn and develop new skills, to know and collaborate with new artists and get involved in a context as difficult as it is fascinating as the one present in the Calabrian territory.
The participants of the 6th edition
Thanks to the collaboration with universities and film schools around the world, for the fifth and sixth edition we received a total of 241 applications through the specific Google form. Subsequently, the candidates were interviewed on Zoom in order to understand what drove them to participate in the Kino Guarimba and to comprehend if their profile was compatible with this type of experience. Of these, 50 creatives (37 women and 13 men) from 20 different countries were selected: Argentina, Belarus, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, France, Georgia, Germany, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, The Netherlands, Romania, Senegal, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States of America and Ukraine.
People aged between 19 and 49 ventured into this experience that led some of them to visit Italy and Europe for the first time. In fact, 15 of them had never been to our country, while another 5 had never traveled to the continent.
This year, thanks to funding from the European Cultural Foundation, we were able to offer ten scholarships to artists from Ukraine. Regarding the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, La Guarimba’s position is well defined: we are against any ideology and action taken by Russia and we show maximum support to the Ukrainian people. We therefore reimbursed the participation fee, as well as travel, board and lodging expenses, so as to offer an experience of artistic and personal growth not only to those who are experiencing the horrors of war firsthand, but also to all the other participants who, in in this way, they were able to discuss and deepen a theme far from them.
The richness of this project lies in the intercultural exchange that takes place between the participants and the territory. One of our main objectives is, in fact, to raise awareness of our culture and territory, which is certainly very different from that to which most people coming from outside are expecting to find. To make this happen, every year we welcome participants with typical lunches and dinners, guided tours, shows with local artists and moments of aggregation.
On the evening of the 10th of September, the day of arrival of the artists, dinner was held at the Lido Azzurro, a place located on the seafront of Amantea which has hosted for many years our events and screenings. In this way, the artists began to get to know each other and exchange their ideas, tasting local products and specialties.
The following morning, again hosted by Lido Azzurro, after a group breakfast, the team illustrated the project, explaining its philosophies and objectives. Afterward, the participants had the opportunity to confront each other through a speed dating exercise in which each of them has a minute of time to introduce themselves.
At the end of the activities, the day continued with lunch at Jolly Ristoria, a restaurant in the town that welcomed the participants with a buffet of traditional Calabrian cuisine, with ingredients produced locally.
In the late afternoon, the tour of the historic center of Amantea took place. Passing from the convent of San Bernardino to the Mother Church of San Biagio, the participants were told the history of the town and shown the most fascinating places, which later became the sets of their films.
To create a further connection between the project and the territory, during the third day of the residency, the casting of the local actors took place, in which children, teenagers and adults participated who, by getting involved, had the opportunity to experiment first person the magic of cinema. In a country without cinemas, where culture always seems to be overshadowed, it is fascinating to see how the local population is actually ready to get involved, collaborating with people from all over the world and living to live the experience of a set.
For some of them it was the first time ever: Pedrito Bonavita, an Amantean painter already known to the participants of the festival thanks to his paintings and his studio often used as a location for filming, this year he tried his hand as an actor in the film “ZOI “; the policeman Gilberto Provenzano played the role of the cowboy in the “Spaghetti Western” of the American Eliana Fabiyi; Erika Caruso brought her love for music to the stage with her clarinet; Armando Starita, accountant with a passion for cinema, broke the routine by reinventing himself as an actor; Niccolò Suriano, who at only sixteen, despite his inexperience, immediately showed great ability and talent; the young Tiziana Pellegrino who, together with her mother, was the protagonist of the short film “The fortress”. The little Mannarino brothers then participated again who, after their experience in June, took part in the shooting of several films, once again enchanting the audience; Floriano Canonaco, always able to play with different roles and characters; Andrea Bonavita, protagonist of our filming for years, in this edition brought his passion for mountain biking to the stage.
After the casting, the tutor Oscar Peña González held three masterclasses, in which he condensed his knowledge, gained in thirteen years of experience on the set, on the general organization of a ten-day production, on sound recording and lighting. These training events allowed even the most inexperienced attendees and actors to fill different roles and help directors to give form their ideas.
The next day hosted the pitching event of the projects. For this event, we went to the small town of Cleto, on the countryside inland, to let the participants discover another point of cultural and naturalistic interest in the area. The Cleto City Government supported the travel expenses and opened the doors of the Angevin Castle of Savuto for us, where the participants carried out the activities. The mayor of Cleto Armando Bossio welcomed us into the village, showing support for our initiative and a forward-looking planning for territorial promotion, understanding the importance of hosting 50 artists from all over the world.
Arranged in a circle, directors and authors presented their ideas in more depth, also describing the figures necessary for their realization. In this way, the rest of the group was able to understand which project to take part in, spontaneously forming working groups.
The organization, in fact, does not assign teams or roles to follow, but lets the participants unite freely to bring their ideas to life. The Cooperative Learning method offers, in fact, full creative freedom, using the emotional and cognitive involvement of the group as a collective learning tool.
After the pitching session, the municipality of Cleto has organized a meeting point for the participants to eat and attend a Calabrian tarantella concrrt, so as to get to know and discover new aspects of the local tradition. Despite the diversity of the cultural backgrounds present, all the artists enjoyed the show, actively participating in the typical songs and dances.
Following an idea of one of the directos, on Sunday 18th, between shootings, we invited the tattoo artist Phasta Kan to our offices. The participants wanted to impress this experience on their skin, and we thought it could be a good moment for the group to get together.
Our team and the artists shared a particular moment, carving it forever on their body. For some it was the first tattoo ever, others have tattooed the logo of La Guarimba. It’s amazing to see how this experience can be so important that you decide to tattoo it and bring it with you for life. This shows how the Kino is not simply a film residence, but an adventure that changes, from every point of view, those who participate.
The final screening
After 12 days of production, shooting and editing, on the 21st of September the Terrenito hosted the screening of 31 short films, for a total duration of 3 hours. Despite the end of summer, the absence of activity in the country and the climate starting to change, the response from the audience was incredible: 200 people attended the event, admiring films of different styles and genres: from documentary classic to experimental cinema, from comedy to drama, from stop motion to music videos. This variety has allowed Amantea to be told under new lights and new perspectives, showing its beauties, sometimes forgotten, thanks to the eyes of those who have discovered our territory for the first time.
Although the goal of Kino is not to create great masterpieces, we have seen an increase in the quality of the final works compared to previous editions, thanks to the investment in staff and new equipment, which has allowed for better management of the activities.
With this final event, the Amanteans were able to witness together with the participants the results of a common path, which created deep connections and new awareness in the lives of many people. Amantea has once again become the protagonist of an innovative and socially relevant cultural project, capable of bringing together different languages, cultures and thoughts and producing works of art that will be sent to international festivals and reviews in the coming months.
The experience of scholarships and the focus on Ukraine has allowed us to grow as an organization and learn new processes and opportunities, which we intend to repeat in the future to give people who need them the opportunity to participate without incurring expenses.
We closed our sixth Kino Guarimba with the awareness of having in our hands a strong, growing project with a lot of potential, and we are already working to repeat and improve it in 2023.
OSCAR PEÑA GONZÁLEZ
MARIA FRANCESCA CIANCIARUSO