La Guarimba International Film Fest-Q and A with the team
Monday 24 February 2014, by
La Guarimba International Film Festival is a socio-cultural project based in Amantea, a small town in the south of Italy. It was set up by a group of artists who cleaned and reopened the Arena Sicoli, an old outdoor 900 seat-cinema that had been closed down, to bring international filmmaking to Amantea and to foster the culture of Calabria.
Aside from screenings, the festival will also feature food tastings, filmmaking workshops, live music and outdoor projections of our official selection.
Where did the idea for the festival come from?
The idea for the festival came from "work hard, and work for your dreams". Giulio, the artistic director of the festival studied filmmaking and was working in a hostel in Madrid. It was a horrible job so he questioned putting so much energy into something that wasn’t taking him anywhere. So, he decided to go back to the town of his
grandparents in the South of Italy (Amantea) and asked me to come along. One of the projects he had in mind was the festival: "Bringing the cinema back to the people and the people back to the cinema", in a town where all the movie theatres were closed.
What logistical problems did you face?
A lot of them. Repairing the cinema wasn’t easy. We had to remove the rust
from 938 chairs and then paint them, sometimes there were four of us doing it,
sometimes two, sometimes just one, and it seemed an endless job.
One of the biggest problems was when the mayor of the town died. It was the
same day that the festival started, so we were forced to cancel our opening day. That same night, we were told that the whole festival should be cancelled as a show of respect to the mayor, so the next day we had to ask for a special permission to keep it open. We were scared because we worked very hard for a year and it was like watching your work go to waste, not to mention all the people that had come from all over for the festival. In the end, it was sorted and we hosted it.
Who helped you in this endeavour?
We had volunteers repair the movie theatre and help us during the festival. Many local people helped; young people and even Giulio’s grampa who is 90 years old. Some people came with cans of paint. It was a great experience.
Who is your audience?
We had a lot of people from the town come to the festival. People from nearby towns and from further afield like the North of Italy came as well. The audience was made up of people of all ages, kids, adults, babies, pensioners. We had a couple of surprises: a
couple came by car all the way from Milano. Another couple from Brasil and Norway decided to book a flight only for the festival.
Our slogan is "Bringing the people to the cinema and the cinema to the
people" because we believe in cinema as a cultural motor. So we don’t have
any preferences in terms of audiences.
What is your artistic direction and stance? How do you select the films?
Our idea is to find the best short films in the world to see what people
are making out there. We want quality.
Any highlights this year in terms of films and festivals?
We like everything in general, but we especially enjoy animation. We are friends and partners of Lago Film Festival. Clermont-Ferrand opened a lot of doors for us and we are always happy to come back. We travel around the world with our festival and searching for new spaces, alternative ones to get to know other realities, cultural centres and the way the industry works in other places. We were in Manifatture Knos this past December, and we discovered a beautiful atmosphere in Puglia, Italy.
What are your plans and objectives for the festival?
We want the festival to be a reference in Calabria. We would love it to grow every year and open doors to new filmmakers and artists. We really want to become a festival of opportunities for creators.
Any tips for people out there wanting to set up a film festival?
Work a lot, never give up, trust yourself and be patient. It is always hard at the beginning and problems will come and go all the time, but do persevere and it will pay off.
More info at http://www.laguarimba.com/