Amantea is a small town of 15 000 habitants in southern Italy in the region of Calabria. A couple of days ago I received an email from Giulio Vita to help the spread the word about his film festival taking place in this little town. Always willing to help indie filmmakers promote, and being a Calabrian myself was enough inspiration for me to write about this, but after looking into it and watching their video, their motivation behind this festival is quite an inspirational story.

To Bring the Cinema to the People and the People to the Cinema.

Beautiful Amantea, Calabria

Born in Italy, Giulio moved to Venezuela with his parents at the age of 5. After moving for a brief period in Spain, but struggled in finding a stable job, Giulio decided to return to Amantea.

This is where Giulio brought his ambitions. After realizing that most movie theaters in southern Italy are closing down, he decided to call upon his friends all over the world to give a second life to a closed down theater in his home town, l’Arena Sicoli.

Arena Sicoli - Outdoor Theater

L’Arena Sicoli is a 900 seat outdoor theater that sits between the valleyed rocks and the sea, it opened its doors after World War II in 1952 and the people quickly made lineups to go watch the films.

You can see the history of the Arena in these wonderful graphics by Sara Fratini.

To Bring the Cinema to the People and the People to the Cinema
See the full history illustrated by Sara Fratini.

When asked why he was doing all this, Giulio’s answer was very simple and clear:

We are doing this because every year more movie theaters are closing and here in Amantea, the town of my grandparents, the Arena Sicoli has closed, a great outdoor theater with 900 seats.

In a fighting economy all over the world, but especially in Europe, entertainment is usually the first industry to suffer. But Giulio’s ambitions might be the right attitude to rebuild a better country, and this starting right from his home town.

We have to believe in things to make them come true, a person can change a lot, think about everything we can change all together. I believe very much in Calabria, at the beginning they show themselves wary of the other, thinking perhaps little in themselves, but if they see the purity of your intentions they will open you their doors

– interview excerpt with Giulio Vita from

Giulio vita with Sergio Sicoli

La Guarimba Film Festival takes place on August 8th and 9th, in Amantea, Calabria, and the organizers invite you to their little town in southern Italy, and encourage you to discover the picturesque mix of mountains and beaches by taking bus and train tours all over Calabria and Sicily. Since the Festival’s main goal is to promote culture, they will offer information about the places that are worth seeing, their best flavors and more. They will also offer a chance to taste the gastronomy of the region, to attend to filmmaking workshops, live music and of course plenty of outdoor film projections.

Submit your short film to La Guarimba, for a slim 10 Euro fee via their website, which will go directly in the restoring and reopening of the old Arena Sicoli theater. You can also support the festival by purchasing their notebook, T-Shirt, cotton bag or even a bottle of wine, all under 15 euros!

The “Amanteane” will be waiting for you, and if all goes well so will I!


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