Berlinale Shorts | 2019
Berlinale Shorts IV: Before imagination: reality
At the 2019 edition of Berlinale Shorts, 24 films from 17 countries will be competing for the Golden and Silver Bear, the Audi Short Film Award (endowed with 20,000 euros) and a nomination as “Berlin Short Film Candidate for the European Film Awards 2019”.
In rural Kosovo, identical houses are built for family members working abroad, in the hope that they will one day return to settle in their old homeland.
Hi Samir thanks for talking to TNC, you all set for the festival?
Yes, I think we are ready to rock!
Are there any nerves ahead of your Berlinale screening?
Of course, it's not an easy feeling; it's quite a big responsibility knowing that the screenings are always sold out to a diverse audience. If I could explain it in one phrase, that would be Excited and Anxious!
How does it feel to be having your World Premiere at the festival, does this add any additional pressure on you?
This is not only my debut; it’s also Kosovo’s first appearance at Berlinale. Both facts add massive
pressure! From the moment we found out about the selection, the pressure started rising by the day.
Tell me a little bit about Në Mes, how did the film come about?
In 2011, I was working on a photography project entitled “Kosovar Brothers”. That project became the inspiration for this film. During that time, I had the opportunity to meet many family landowners who were willing to talk to me about the various reasons why they had built identical houses for each of their sons. “Në Mes/In Between” signifies the relationship and solidarity between brothers; the sacrifice and determination of the parents to maintain harmony within the family; and, the meaning and significance of home. The film brings a story of families who invest in building identical houses.
What specifies the film is the solitude. It is usually only a single house that is occupied, commonly by fathers or the eldest brothers. The rest of the family, in every case rest of the brothers, were living and working abroad, but their property in Kosovo is divided equally over a strong paternal supervision. So the film also touches on the aspect of migration and longing.
"...I know how important the collaboration process is."
What was the biggest challenge you faced bringing this film to life?
Bringing the film to life was easy. To find a title that would embody most of the topics included in the film was a real challenge.
Looking back is there anything you would do differently?
No, I think I spent a lot of time to make the film as it is, and wouldn’t do anything different.
Have you always been interested in filmmaking?
"Believe in what you are doing!"
As a filmmaker how important is the collaborative process for you?
Being a cinematographer, I know how important the collaboration process is. But being cinematographer and director in meantime is an advantage, which lets you experiment and push the boundaries. If there’s one thing I learned, it is that I will shoot all the films I’ll make in the future.
How has your approach to your work changed since your debut short film?
“Në Mes/In Between” is my debut short film, so let's see how things will go in the future.
What are you currently working on?
Searching for new stories.
Finally, do you have any advice or tips for a fellow filmmaker?
Believe in what you are doing!