Interview with the Director of the Guarimba International Film Festival

The set, the Parco La Grotta di Amantea, is one of the most enchanting in Calabria.  55 Entries have come in from all over the world and will be screened by an international jury of film experts. The Guarimba International Film Festival, which will cut the ribbon on its 5th edition August 7th, is a babel of languages and artistic styles that explore the paths of contemporary video with incursions into the world of illustration, and proposes a rich program of exhibitions, press conferences and workshops. This year’s theme is: Propaganda during the Cold War.

Taking the microphone to speak with Yes Calabria, is the artistic director and founder of Guarimba, Calabrian-Venezuelan Giulio Vita, who speaks to us about the goals the event plans to reach and the choice of choosing Calabria as the heart of this vibrant cultural exchange.

Cinema and illustration: why did you choose this artistic coupling?

“The idea of the festival was initiated by young graduates in Fine Arts and Cinema. We wanted to offer our abilities and create the festival we really wanted. Sara Fratini, a graduate in Fine Arts and an illustrator, wanted to do more and proposed this idea to have an exhibit for illustrators every year where each one has to interpret our logo, a monkey (the symbol of the festival and protagonist of the festival’s advertisement posters) and our motto “Bringing cinema back to the people and people back to the cinema” in their own way.  It was a winning decision that today allows us to bring this exhibition to the Mostra degli Illustratori di Bologna and offers Calabria the best of illustrations on the international scene.”

In a press release, it is stated that the purpose of the event is to “bring cinema back to people and people back to the cinema.”  What does it mean exactly?

“There isn’t a cinema in Amantea. During La Guarimba, we bring a large screen and other items that transform the Grotto Park into a huge movie theater.

For us to bring cinema back to the people is to make cinema a community event to oppose the idea of living in an increasingly individualistic world. We need to create a meeting point to share ideas and live a collective, but also personal experience.

Respecting the public by offering a selection of pleasant but reflexive works. Show short films that are not merely compliant with viewers.  Participants will be able to enjoy quality entertainment with interesting narratives, and we must ensure the opportunity to see artisan and artistic cinema that enliven our senses and inquire into ourselves and our experience of living in a shared world.”

How will cinema be able to pick up the glove launched into the ring by the digital and online movie platforms like Vimeo? Will the way of making and understanding cinema change?

“It has already changed. Today, we watch more movies than before, but also audio-visual pieces on YouTube that have changed the language and communication. On the one hand, it’s positive, the accessibility and the desire of the public to know more. I’m just scared to lose cinema as a social event and the creation of uniforms.”

What do they have in common, Calabria and Venezuela, respectively your birth country and now adopted country?

“Surely comparing a whole nation with a region is a hyperbole but I could find somewhat superficial common aspects. The bad things: the bureaucracy, arrogance, excessive chauvinism, little faith in its inhabitants for change. The beautiful things: the relationship with nature, life being the measure of the man, the desire of people to give a hand.”

“A festival with a strong international vocation, right in the heart of Calabria. Is it maybe true that Calabria is bringing forward universal values in the sense that Calabrians are citizens of the world, ascending as a population of migrants? Or is cinema talking a universal language and bringing people together? “

“I agree with the second statement. I believe in the power of cinematic light that makes us stand silent in front of the screen without thinking about our differences. And that’s what fascinates me. I do not believe in this Calabria of universal values. True, we are eternal migrants but this does not necessarily make us an open people.  Those who are left here do not learn everything from the cousin who has left. We really need in this part of the world more international initiatives where you can meet artists from all over the world and break bread together. This is our goal.  Making cultural diversity familiar through art. ”

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