Interview: Flaka Latifi On The Hill Where Lionesses Roar

Actress Flaka Latifi joins us to talk about The Hill Where Lionesses Roar, which tells the story of three free-spirited women who decide to escape their daily lives and form a gang

The film will screen at the Raindance Film Festival on 28 October. Click for ticket info

The Hill Where Lionesses Roar’ is your first feature role. How did this opportunity come about for you?

The Hill Where Lionesses Roar is my first feature film. This movie was shot two years ago, at that time during the summer I felt that something big was coming for me. It was Luana who contacted me to apply for the audition because until then I hadn’t heard of the audition. From the moment I saw the script, I said to myself that this is what I want and I will be part of this project.

I participated in the audition, which lasted about a month, and I met many actresses with whom we worked until the final selection of our roles.

You play Qe, one of the three lead characters in the film. Can you tell us about Qe and how you connected to this character?

Qe is a very brave, smart girl and a fighter.

She doesn’t like injustices, she is ambitious, very loving and protective of her people. I have a lot in common with Qe, which I am glad about. The differences I had with Qe brought out different side of me. These differences that I had to explore gave me a freedom to express myself. I think it is a character that young people can relate to.

The film focuses on the gang formed between Qe, Li (Era Balaj) and Jeta (Urate Shabani). What was the bond between the three of you like while making the film?

My relationship with Era and Urate has been excellent. We talked about everything with each other, we discussed every detail and we felt very free to express our thoughts as sincerely as possible. I think the main key to success is cooperation and this is very well seen in the film.

The story takes place in the Kosovar countryside. How was the experience of filming there?

The story takes place in a village of Kosovo, which is a very beautiful and calm place.

It was a special challenge – and pleasure – when we filmed on the hill of Jezerc. It is a wonderful place, which I would suggest you visit. Up there I saw the beauty of the village, my colleagues, the crew, the camera, so it seemed to me that I had everything I wanted and this emotion accompanied me throughout the filming process. From that moment on, I have believed this film will be very successful.

This was Luàna Bajrami’s directorial debut. What was your collaboration with Luana like?

This was the first time I met Luana.

What impressed me a lot is that Luana created a very good relationship with us. We discussed every detail and she has given us space to feel free while working. She used this freedom well to get the best out of us.

She is a director I enjoy working with.

The film has received a great response at festivals so far. How have you found the experience of attending these events and hearing responses to the film?

I am very happy that the film has been seen at such prestigious festivals. As I said, this is my first feature film so all its successes are the first for me and I am experiencing everything with positivity and different emotions. The comments so far have been very good, for both the film and our acting. This is very important because Kosovo is a small country and our film industry has a lot of opportunities for growth. To be appreciated by countries that have a more established industry is an achievement and an honor for all of us.

Can you tell us more about your background and what interests you about acting?

I just graduated from the Faculty of Arts in acting.  I acted in some short movies, National Theatre, and a TV show. 

Since I was little, my interests has been in movies, theatre, singing and dancing. I have always wanted to tell others that I have something inside that I want to show.

I think there was no better way to start my acting career than with this film. This was just the beginning and what will happen from now on… it remains to be seen.

We’re excited to see ‘The Hill Where Lionesses Roar’ when it screens at the Raindance Film Festival in London. Do you have a message for the audience here?

The Hill Where Lionesses Roar is a movie directed at young people. It gives you the confidence you need to achieve your dreams. So I encourage you all to go and watch the movie because I believe you will find the answers to the questions in your mind. This movie will awaken your courage for what you want to achieve.

Congratulations on the film and your performance. It must be an exciting way to begin your feature film career. What are your hopes and ambitions for the future?

My ambitions are to act in world-renowned movies. All I need to do is to never stop believing in myself, to work hard in this direction and never give up. 

The Hill Where Lionesses Roar will screen at the Raindance Film Festival on 28 October. Click for ticket info

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