Culture

Luana Bajrami: In the film I explore man, Kosovo is an inspiration

Luana Bajrami: "It is important for me to inspire and explore the theme of youth, but more broadly the theme of man"

From Cannes two years ago to Venice this year, actress and director Luana Bajrami is already a well-known name in festivals like these. Through her films, she gives voice to Kosovo, gets her inspiration from here, explores the youth of this country, but in fact she herself is an inspiration for young people. "Our world" is a success story of Luana Kodra's film world. He recently brought another film to Prishtina. "Kosova is a great inspiration for me and I believe it has many stories to tell", says Kodra

As a director, she made two long films and with both she hit the mark. Two years ago, "Hill Lionesses" was given its world premiere at the Cannes Festival, while "Our World" premiered this year at the Venice International Film Festival. The former is known as the festival of festivals, while the latter is the oldest film event in the world. Even the Venice Festival had its 80th anniversary this year. From the city that is characterized by islands and bridges, Luana Bajrami has landed in Pristina for several days. She came to the "Prishtina International Film Festival" after the film in which she plays, "Toka brenda meje", had its Kosovar premiere. Bajrami (22), one of the most promising actresses and directors from Kosovo, in an interview for TIME, has described her journey, the films she has made, the topics that excite her and the goals she intends to achieve through art.

In "Our World", which is expected to have its premiere in Kosovo in the spring of next year, in parallel with France, she deals with a story of young people. With Kosovo on the brink of independence, the story begins in 2007, where in parallel with what was intended to become a state, two girls are also searching for themselves, making decisions that lead to their emancipation. She was also in Venice as an actress with the film "A Short Trip" by Erenik Beqiri, which also won an award. Bajrami plans to continue with both professions.

"I believe that one job develops the other", she says. Bajrami also deals with a story of young people in the first feature film "Hill Lionesses". He says that Kosovo is a source of inspiration and local stories should be shown all over the world as they can be experienced in other countries where societies face the same problems. As for the last film, he warned that "Our World" will continue its journey in several other countries. Meanwhile, as a movie character - Bajrami, who lives between Kosovo and France - will soon appear on several screens. In her plans, she aims to inspire the youth. And he does this with movies.

"It is important for me to inspire and explore the theme of youth, but more broadly the theme of man. This is my essence at the moment, because I believe it also evolves during the artist's process", she says.

TIME: You have just returned from the oldest film festival in the world, that of Venice, where you had the premiere of your film "Our World". What was the atmosphere like there, how did the event go for you?

bajrami: The atmosphere has been extremely good. We felt very proud that we were able to show the film there, because it was the world premiere. Very nice, we had a very good time.

KOHA: How has the film been received, have your expectations been met?

bajrami: For me, the essence was to be seen by an audience. It's like a window to show the film internationally, so I think the Venice Film Festival has been great as the beginning of this journey for this film.

KOHA: Speaking of "Our World", what is the story of this film, or in other words, what is the message you give?

bajrami: The story takes place in 2007, just before Independence. It is the story of two cousins ​​who make the brave decision to run away from the village to come to Pristina and study at the faculty. It is just like these two young women who are searching for themselves and emancipation in their lives in parallel with the development of the state.

KOHA: Where did the filming take place and how did the whole process go?

bajrami: Filming took place mainly in Pristina and Gjilan, in dormitories. Everything went very well. As with any film, it's quite a battle to get to the end and shoot, but we had a great time.

KOHA: Of course, the film after Venice will have a long journey. Where do we expect to see it in the future?

 

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Luana Bajrami at the 80th edition of the Venice Film Festival, held from August 30 to September 9, where her film "Our World" premiered. There, through the film "A Short Trip" she also appeared as an actress

bajrami: As much as possible, in different places. I know he will appear in France, Morocco, Tokyo and travel a lot.

KOHA: And when will the premiere be in Kosovo?

bajrami: I don't know yet when the premiere will be in Kosovo, but I know that the film will be shown around April, in parallel with the release of the film in France.

KOHA: What does the showing of the film in Kosovo mean to you?

bajrami: It has great significance, because we shot here, the story is inspired from here. But I'm waiting a lot, I'm waiting for how the public will react here, how the youth will feel, because I'm talking about the youth and it's a subject that's very important to me, and I'm looking forward to it.

KOHA: In Venice, you were also an actress in the film "A Short Trip" by Erenik Beqiri, which was also awarded with an Award. What do Luana give and take from each other as an actress and as a director?

bajrami: I'm always asked the question, are you going to pursue just directing or just acting? I believe that I want to keep both professions, because I started as an actress, but from the beginning with the desire to direct, so I believe that one work develops the other.

KOHA: But what were the emotions when you realized that "A Short Trip" won the prize in Venice as the best short film in the "Orizzonti" category?

bajrami: Great pride, great happiness. We have been waiting a lot for this film, because I also have Erenik as a good friend, he is a super director and showing a work from your country is a matter of pride.

TIME: Even in the previous film "The Lionesses of the Hill", which had its world premiere in Cannes two years ago, you deal with a youth theme. Why do these topics attract you and is the Balkans a source of stories for you?

bajrami: A lot. I've been growing up here for a long time. Kosovo for me is a great inspiration and I believe that it has many stories to tell. But he also has a lot of potential and talents. It is important to present and develop the stories here, because it is a great inspiration for me and I believe that there is a way to tell these stories in a very universal aspect, because when we talk about youth, emotions and all that goes through this youth, these characters can be attached to any other place.

KOHA: If we talk a little generally about your worldview on cinematography, what is your purpose in this industry, or what is the purpose of your art?

bajrami: My goal is to tell all these stories that are coming to me to tell. I believe I have many stories to share. As I said earlier, it is important for me to inspire and explore the theme of youth, but more broadly the theme of man. This is my essence at the moment, because I believe it also evolves during the artist's process.

KOHA: You live in France, but how do you see the development of film in Kosovo?

bajrami: I believe that the cinematographic industry is developing in a good way. It is evolving very well. As I said, there is a lot of potential and we need to help raise this potential. It is important for me to point out that the film "Our World" is the first production after signing the cooperation in cinematography between France and Kosovo, and I believe that it is a good step to help in the development of projects here.

KOHA: How much has living in France helped you to make the stories of Kosovo more universal?

bajrami: I believe that the dual culture that I have and that I grew up with helps me. I can say that it gives me a kind of distance, to have a perspective and a wider view of what happens here, but also how it happens in France, and it is normal that the comparison between the youth of France and Kosovo when you analyze it a little, it has brought me many tools for writing and filming.

KOHA: We are used to receiving heavy news from you regarding cinematographic productions, can you tell us what you are working on now or what we can expect from you in the future?

bajrami: I have shot films as an actress in France which will be released soon. I believe during October. But normally I'm also writing and developing new projects, but as I always say, I don't talk much about them before they're done. I keep them a little secret.