CLOSE-UP Culture’s James Prestridge welcomes Macedonian actress Sara Klimoska onto the site after she won plaudits for her role in Goran Stolevski’s short film Would You Look At Her.
Q: Can you tell us about Would You Look At Her and the character you play?
A: THE film Would You Look At Her is a multi-layered story that touches on several social issues at once and I think here lies the success of the movie.
The story of Ana reveals the socio-economic hardships of her family as well as the gender-based bullying that exists in the educational system. A most notable aspect of the second part of the film is the revealing of the discriminatory practices of the Orthodox Church which favour masculinity and disregard any female role in performing its rituals.
Q: I saw a clip of you throwing chairs around in the film. What was Ana like to play, especially with that physicality?
A: THIS character was so well written and very precisely defined in the script so I only needed to follow the instructions. It was a challenge for me to bring to life a positive antagonist character that has to defend herself in every harsh situations even being forced to be violent sometimes.
Q: What was your working relationship like with director Goran Stolevski?
A: I had one of my greatest experiences in my career with Goran Stolevski. He is very collaborative, intuitive and understandable, so we could create a very strong professional relationship that helped the process through. Goran is great in his approach in providing specific indications, which helped me a lot to go through every difficulty in the process.
Q: The film has received a lot of praise including Best International Short Film at the Sundance. Why do you feel this short has connected so well with audiences and what does the project mean to you personally?
A: THE film really deserves these festival’s recognition because it provokes the audience and as mentioned earlier, through very precise artistic esthetics, it tells a lot about the society we live in and the things that should be changed. It shows the actual image of how conservative societies pressure some individuals that fight for freedom and independence. This is also the reason why this short is so important to me.
Q: I believe you spent time working in Cannes. Please tell us about that.
A: WHILE I was living in France for several months, I worked on a short film directed by Thanasis Troubokitis named Sable Noir.
After that, I worked on a theatre performance in Cannes. It was an international theatre project with very talented actors from England, Hungary, France and me, from Macedonia, taking place at the Alexander III theatre in Cannes. The script that we worked on – Winter Solstice – is written by the remarkable, still-living German writer Ronald Shimmaphening. And I am very happy that we had the chance to contact him about every need of the process.
Q: What kind of people and projects do you want to work with in the future?
A: I would like to work with people, as in a case with this short film, who are challenging the society and are involved in researching new forms and modes through cinema.
Q: What is the entertaining industry currently like in Macedonia?
A: THE fact that Macedonia is small country that maximum can produce three or if we are lucky, four feature films per year speaks of the state of the film industry in the country. There are some very successful films from Macedonian directors such as Goran Stolevski with this short or the Oscar nominated director Milcho Manchevski with his feature Before The Rain and several young directors that have a great potential to improve the reputation of Macedonian cinema in the world.
Q: What are the biggest challenges for a young, talented performer like yourself trying to make a mark in the industry?
A: I don’t really feel the need to make a mark in the industry because I don’t believe in that kind of success. For me, it is important to challenge myself through every character I play and to be convinced that the project I am involved in has a personal value for me.
Q: What can you tell us about your background and how you got into acting?
A: I used to be a modern ballet and hip-hop dancer before I started to study acting at the National Academy of Dramatic Arts in Skopje. I started working on film and theatre since the second year of my studies and I am very happy that I made this decision. I doubt that there would be any other profession that would make me as happy and satisfied as acting does.
Q: How would you like to see your career progress in the coming years? What constitutes success for you?
A: CURRENTLY I am working on a feature film named Lena and Vladimir, directed by Igor Aleksov. I am playing the role of Lena, who is a sixteen years old girl from an orphanage, together with Toni Naumovski who plays the role of Vladimir. This is a huge project for me since I have a big responsibility playing in the main role which demands a lot of emotional involvement and serious work on the character.
I hope that in the future I will have similar challenges that will give me the opportunity to play characters that will enrich me with great experience. That would be success for me.