“Filmmaking is what keeps me feel alive”-Aulona Selmani

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Due to war happening in Kosovo during the 90’s her parents moved in Switzerland where she was born in 97’. She lived there 6 years until her parents decided to return in their country, Kosovo, to begin a new life there. She grew up writing poetry and performing. She is currently in the last year and by September she’s going to graduate in Filmmaking. In a period of 4 years she has made 5 short movies and the 6th is one the way. In the age of 19 she starts working in a feature film directed by Genc Berisha, as a scripter and first AD.After that she makes her 4th movie, “Nina&Nina” which turns out to be a big success. She wins in “Most Sad” category in Film Festival “Feelmotion” in Ohrid. Then “Nina&Nana” is a semi-finalist in  Film Festival ” A Rebel Minded ” in New York. The film gets selected in four others Festivals of Balkans and lately in International Filmmaker Festival of New York –IFFNY.

Exclusive Interview with Filmmaker Aulona Selmani

NY Glam: Congratulations on being accepted at the prestigious International Filmmaker Festival of New York. Can you tell us about the film and the process of making it?

-Thank you. “Nina & Nana” is a film about a mother that won’t believe her child is kidnapped and dead but fights to find her and get her back. The process of making it was not easy. Considering I had a small crew, a small crew as in: D.O.P, boom operator and two friends that have nothing to do with filmmaking helping me managing it, I had to do almost everything on my own, I used my little savings to pay for it and I only had 4 days to shoot it, so yeah, it was not easy at all. Arta was the first person that came to my mind when I first started to write the script. I always liked her and I knew she should be the one playing mom’. And she proved it.

NY Glam: How did you go about casting for the film?

– Arta has that charm in acting that I always liked, so I knew I want her for the role when I first started writing the script. The little girl is my sister, Olta. I had no audition for the rest of the cast.  I found the other actors by taking advices from friends and professors contacted them and they were ready to help.

NY Glam: What is the story about and how did you achieve it cinematically?

-Last year my phone was stolen. It was a birthday present from my father and I was very upset because I had photos, videos and almost everything in there. But somehow I understood I was overreacting because as my friend said “you’re being sad as if you are a mother whose child got kidnapped” and that was it. The story was there…I thought I am making such a big deal about a phone that in months won’t matter, but how would a mom feel if her child gets lost and how that feeling stays forever. The story is a about the love of a mother that goes beyond everything. After losing her child and the police announcing her dead, she does not stop looking for her missing daughter, assuming she is alive. Following her intuition she never gives up even if it means to be her against the world.

NY Glam: Will you be attending the IFFNY festival in New York in May?

-I’m going to start working in a feature film in May, but I am hoping that I will find the time and attend the IFFNY festival.

NY Glam: How long have you been making films and videos?

-Four years ago I started studies in Filmmaking. This year I’ll be graduating with my 6th film.

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NY Glam: What film was your directorial debut?

“Allishverish”. It was a short film about politics. The name of the film means agreements and actions covered by unfair terms; unclean trade, racket. The film is about politicians making secret agreements that have consequences upon people and the story is told through the game of Monopoly.

NY Glam: What was the most important lesson you had to learn that has had a positive effect on your film? How did that lesson happen?

-When I first edited the movie, it was 25 minutes long. The story looked complicated, the rhythm was a mess and definitely it did not give you the message that it was meant to tell. I took advices about editing and how to tell a story from Prof. Ismet Sijarina, who is also a great filmmaker. He helped me to understand the process of telling a story through editing. After thirteen editing versions of the film, “Nina & Nana” was ready to be shown to the world.

NY Glam: Is it harder to get started or to keep going? What was the particular thing that you had to conquer to do either?

-When I first decided to study Filmmaking I had to deal with “filmmaking is hard for girls”, “there is no money in arts”, “you won’t have time to be a mom when you get married” kind of judgments. But it was my choice and no one couldn’t change that. Then when I started studying, I had to and get to know Pristina, I had to start making money so I can afford living there on my own. But all of this is easier then to keep going. After every film, you have to think of a better idea, to write a better script, to do a better film, to create a style, to work harder and harder and to spend more money. Sometimes money is the only issue. Sometimes you don’t have a good script. But mostly, the only issue was the money. Making film is not easy when you do not have a budget. For “Ank e Gai “ I spent a thousand Euros that I did not actually have when I started shooting. After it was done, I had to work and save so I could pay the debts. It takes courage to keep going because there are times when you feel like giving up and thinking maybe they were right. But Filmmaking is what keeps me feel alive and I would never give it up no matter how hard it gets.

NY Glam: How has your style evolved?

-I am too young in Filmmaking and I got many years ahead of me of hard working to evolve my style.

NY Glam: What has been your personal key to success?

-I am still not quite where I want to be, but until now, for the little successes that I’ve had, I think being you, being humble and working hard is the personal key to success.

NY Glam: What are you thinking about doing next?

I am currently writing a script for my next film.

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