Caribe Atómico 2023 – 1st Edition

The first edition took place in Caracas from the 11th to the 17th of December 2023, with a programme of 8 events that brought together 332 people, including children and adults from different areas of the city.

Caribe Atómico Film Festival celebrates Caribbean and Latin American cinema with short film screenings, talks, educational workshops, music and more.

Our goal is to de-gentrify and reconquer spaces by crossing Caracas from east to west with as many audiences as possible, activating collaborations with cultural organisations working in the territory.

The event is produced by La Guarimba, a cultural organisation located in the region of Calabria, in the south of Italy, with the aim of bringing cinema back to the people and the people back to cinema. Since 2013, we have been organising film festivals, film residencies, animation workshops for children and young people, and illustration exhibitions.

After more than a decade in Italy, we returned to our country with all we had learned, and with the desire to continue learning, organising a Festival in Caracas that believes in the power of culture to make positive changes in individuals and, in turn, in the community. This first edition was made possible thanks to 6 sponsors: Baruta Cultural, Istituto Italiano di Cultura, Plus Ultra, Venergy Global, Tequejoe and La Mega Super Estación. We also have collaborated with 5 partners: Uniendo Voluntades, El Marchante, Abra Caracas in Los Galpones de Chacao and the Escuela de Teatro Musical de Petare.


The reception of the short films was made from February to September 2023, reaching a total of 161 short films.

From there, our programmers made a selection of 21 short films representing 13 countries (Trinidad and Tobago, Martinique, Curaçao, Aruba, Cuba, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, United States, Canada, Spain and Venezuela), divided into 3 sections:

  1. From this side: which shows the national talent that keeps working in the country.
  2. From that side: which gives space to Venezuelan filmmakers who emigrated and continue to tell our stories from abroad.
  3. From the other side: which builds a bridge between us and all the brother countries that make up this beautiful continent.


Taking art films out of the cinemas and into the heart of the neighbourhoods of Caracas was possible thanks to the support of Baruta Cultural. The screenings took place over three consecutive days from 15 to 17 December in:

  • Las Minas de Baruta, right in front of the houses of the families in the area.
  • Ojo de Agua, at the La Pedrera sports field.
  • Santa Cruz del Este, in the Parque la Unión.

The main audience was made up of local residents, as well as filmmakers who came from inside the country and abroad to see their work in Venezuela for the first time. Before screening their films, we introduced them to the audience, giving them the opportunity to interact with the public.

A lot of children attended the events: we saw them chatting with each other about the films and asking us questions about the team and the organisation. They also met the illustrator of the Festival poster: Carlos Luis Sánchez (Majenye) who attended one of the screening days and made a drawing together with them.


Education is one of our pillars. That’s why we organised two animation workshops for children, one in the east and one in the west of Caracas.

During the workshops, the participants learn how to make their own stop motion film, from writing the stories, creating the characters and background, filming and putting together the final composition with sound. This takes place over 4 continuous days and on the last day we do a screening of all the animations in front of their families and the team.

In addition to the educational aspects and the support of the tutors, we provide all the materials for the creation of the films. Among them: a guide with instructions, plasticine, cardboard, tablets, tripods and the necessary software to animate the films created by the children.

Our focus is on the process. During the workshop, we support them to overcome the challenges of creative group work, learning to collaborate through active listening, acceptance and commitment.

The creation and management of the workshop is in the hands of two professionals who have been working with us for several years in Italy: Valeria Weerasinghe, an Italian-Sri Lankan illustrator and animation director, and Gabriele Tangerini, a Rome-born educator, who is the scientific director of the project.


In the neighbourhood of San Blas we held the first animation workshop thanks to the partnership with Uniendo Voluntades. An autonomous movement supported by young people and women from the area, which regenerates public spaces by removing garbage and painting murals in the recovered areas.

The laboratory took place from the 5th to the 8th December, with a total of 19 children between the ages of 5 and 16 years old.

The selection of the group was made by Uniendo Voluntades taking into account those kids who could benefit the most from the opportunity. Most of the participants are students from public schools. The country’s education system is in critical condition and can only guarantee three classes a week.

Poor school attendance reduces educational opportunities, leaving many students with too much free time on the streets. This is one of the main challenges of Uniendo Voluntades, and the reason for our workshops in Petare: to offer children a new perspective through educational opportunities, meeting new people and learning new skills.

Each workshop ends with moments of reflection, both individually (with short surveys) and collectively (with group talks), to understand how they lived the experience, and what their main challenges and learnings were.

In the interviews, they declared they enjoyed the moments of creating their characters, using the materials and capturing images with the technological tools. At the same time, they appreciated learning to work in groups and being supported by us.

As they shared their experiences, some themes emerged, such as:

  • The complexity of working together.
  • How to overcome obstacles by working as a team.
  • Why collaboration is important both for creativity and for the end result.

Because of their interest in this type of activity, we asked them what other topics they were interested in besides animation, and they replied: workshops on music production, singing, dancing, drawing (both digital and traditional), sports and languages.


From the 11th to the 15th of December, the animation workshop for children was held in Baruta. We used the same methodology as in Petare. This time, in La Casa de la Cultura de la Alcaldía, that was in charge of selecting the participants, coordinating the logistics, and getting the plasticine, cardboard and scissors.

The rule for selecting the children who participated in the laboratory was to choose the first 20 who responded to the call shared on Instagram by Baruta Cultural. The children had to be between 11 and 13 years old, and bring a toy to give to the less fortunate children.

A total of 15 kids attended, coming from all over Caracas, many of them students from private schools, who have the possibility of having classes every day of the week and more access to technology.

In Baruta the children showed a great interest in film and filmmaking, and unlike in Petare, many of them had experience with animation and the software we use: Stop Motion Studio.

In these workshops we stimulate creativity by encouraging participants to change their plans as they go along, encouraging discussion and teamwork. In Baruta some groups reacted well to the changes in plans and collaborated effectively, while others found it more difficult to work together on new ideas. In any scenario, our role is to facilitate peer collaboration, offering guidance on the process without getting involved in their tasks.

In the closing surveys and in the group discussion, it became clear that the children in Baruta were particularly focused on the realisation and final outcome of their work. Many of them were excited to see their finished film and wished they had more time to work on it.

They recognised that communication was a key tool to generate agreements and move forward. These kinds of conversations demonstrate the aim of the educational workshops: to develop communication skills and empathy through collaborative projects.


To generate value, it is necessary to understand what the audience’s expectations are. Therefore, during the labs it was decided to interview the parents as part of the research for the first edition.

Two aspects were considered at the time of the interviews: how easy or difficult it is to find creative activities for their children in Caracas, and what they consider is most needed to foster creativity in the city.

“Caracas offers many creative activities, but with little quality and stability.”

“Many activities have to do with sports and most of the creative offer you find is more oriented towards entertainment than education.”

“We need meetings of creative people […] I took a few days off from work to bring him here.”

In these conversations, it emerged how difficult and important it is today to create opportunities for children to connect on a deeper level with each other, while engaging in structured and meaningful educational activities.

“We are not trained to listen,” one parent told us, and highlighted the need for professionals who really listen to children, “because when that happens, we in pedagogy get involved, and a human dynamic of need and opportunity begins to offer relevant knowledge for the long term”.


On the 13th of December we organised the opening party of the Festival at El Marchante, a space located in the northwest of Caracas that focuses on the research, compilation and dissemination of music made in Latin America and the Caribbean. As well as an acetate record shop, it offers a space with live music for dancing, talking and celebrating.

The evening began with the screening of the documentary “LA TUMBA MAMBI” by A. Boudreault-Fournier & DJ Jigüe, which tells us about the musical genre “La Tumba Francesa” through the curiosity of a child who must fulfill a school project, and served to reflect on the roots and nature of musical culture in the Caribbean.

The screening was attended by 38 people and we received directors of the selection, speakers of the talks proposed by the Festival and colleagues who have been collaborating for many years with the cultural agenda of Caracas.

At the end of the screening we had the opportunity to talk, listen and dance to the selection of salsa and Caribbean rhythms proposed by El Marchante.


Being Italy the home of the cultural organization La Guarimba, we tried to bring the Venezuelan community closer to the new Italian cinematographic visions and to build bridges between the two countries that represent us.

In collaboration with the Istituto Italiano di Cultura di Caracas, we screened a selection chosen by animation director and film curator Valeria Weerasinghe, composed of the most atomic animated films currently being made in Italy.

On the day of the screening we were honoured to have Giovanni Umberto De Vito, the new Italian Ambassador to Venezuela, among our audience, and to talk about the Festival, the project and the expectations of continuing this cultural exchange in the future.

The Ambassador presented his institutional greetings accompanied by the First Counsellor Giuseppe Giacalone, along with words from the founder and artistic director of the Festival Giulio Vita.

“We emigrants are people from nowhere and from two places,” Giulio expressed with emotion in his introduction, recalling his Italian-Venezuelan roots.

Valeria introduced the screening by telling about her first impressions of Venezuela, what it meant to work here with the children in the workshops and of the animations that would be shown. In attendance were graphic design students who heard about the initiative in their courses, families with Italian roots and Caracas families motivated by the programme.


In our quest to rediscover Caracas, we decided to bring together artists and cultural organisations that give voice to the city through art and creativity, and that offer safe platforms and places for self-expression.

We chose to have conversations open to the public to encourage a collective discussion about the identity of Caracas.


On Saturday 16th of December the meeting was held at La Escuela de Teatro Musical, located in the Casco Histórico de Petare. We were welcomed by two of the co-founders: Natalie Rego and Jariana Armas, who told us the history and introduced us to the space.

The School was founded 14 years ago and was born to teach theatre free of charge to children and young people in Petare, one of the most populated and vulnerable neighbourhoods in Latin America.

Since 2023 the School, as well as La Guarimba organization, is part of the Creativity Pioneers, a network of organisations that use creativity to change the world and is sponsored by the Moleskine Foundation.

The talk took place at the school’s spaces with an audience of 17 people and was given by Natalie Rego and Giulio Vita. Among the attendees were students, neighbours of Petare, and part of the School’s team.

Natalie and Giulio’s reflection was based on answers to the following questions:

How can we use creativity as an engine for change?
What has the school learned in this creative process?
Why a musical theatre in Petare?

Natalie said that the school uses creativity as an infinite source to help the community starting with the young people. She pointed out that the impact on people is even greater when we work collaboratively together, and also commented that the theatre includes music as a way to broaden the programme and the perspective of the students.

Two of the students who attended shared the connection they felt with the project and how it changed their lives for the better, giving them a sense of purpose by recognising their own talents and teaching them discipline.

At the end of the talk, Natalie and Jariana led a tour of the “Bárbaro Rivas” Museum of popular art, the Plaza Sucre and a visit to try the golfeados petareños.


On Sunday, 17th of December, the Festival closed with a discussion and the last screening of the short films in competition.

The talk took place at Los Galpones de Los Chorros in the ABRA CARACAS gallery, and was led by:

  • Oriana Martínez, creator of Ser Caraqueño, a project that for 8 years has been telling the story of Caracas and its changes, through an open call for photographers that ends in an annual exhibition.
  • Carlos Luis Sánchez “Majenye”, painter, illustrator, singer-songwriter and musician. He was born in Maracaibo, Zulia state, but his family is originally from Táchira state and has lived in Carora, Lara state, for 10 years.
  • Coromoto Hernández, comedian, content creator and producer of Esta Jevi, a travelling musical event that acts as a platform for creativity, cultural innovation and self-expression.

The talk was moderated by Giulio Vita. There were 23 people in the audience, including directors of the short films in competition, families of children who participated in the animation workshops, Venezuelans living abroad and visiting, and Venezuelans living in Venezuela.

Throughout the reflection, questions were answered such as:

  • What defines the identity of the Caraqueño?
  • How has it changed and how much has it changed in recent years?
  • How to let creativity emerge in this search?

It was an opportunity to question how our identity is a product of historical moments that define us, and how rethinking and reflecting on ourselves is necessary for our talent to be at the service of others. Issues of race, sexuality and centralism were touched upon.

“I think that at some point as a society we lost that compass and it has to do with the fact that we grew up and thought that our only reference point was what we consumed in the media, (…) that small country that we experienced because of the circumstances in which we lived or in the contexts where we were born, and the invitation is to experience it with breadth and an open spirit”, Oriana pointed out.

Among the interventions, she highlighted the importance of art as a mechanism to raise awareness and understand our codes. “Even if we don’t share the same language, we can have points of convergence that nourish us all.

The morning at ABRA CARACAS ended with the sharing of a cake courtesy of Pavlova Caracas, which served as a moment of thanks and closure to the Festival.


With the journey of this first edition, we identified a public that is looking for an agenda with tools and methodologies that contribute to a lasting dynamic over time, sowing seeds that can be used by everyone.

This is the birth of a project that crosses Caracas with an atomic cultural and educational proposal that pursues the following objectives:

  • To recognise our identity and celebrate it.
  • To offer cinematic proposals from Italy and the Caribbean in the streets of Caracas.
  • To develop empathy, collaboration and commitment in educational projects.

Using creativity as the most powerful tool to generate social change.