Choose your language en | es | fr | it

Interview: Teona Strugar Mitevska • Director

email print share on facebook share on twitter share on google+

“A story about women”


- On-set interview with the film's team for an overview of a production with a family feel

Interview: Teona  Strugar Mitevska   • Director

Teona Strugar Mitevska – director
I wanted to tell a story about women, about three sisters. Each time I went for a walk, I saw people who were waiting for their dose of methadone and I included this element in the story in the form of a dream, as a feature of my films. When I set out to make films here in Macedonia with my sisters and my brother, the only way I had of doing that was through co-productions. At the Cannes festival, I saw the French film by Virginie Saint-Martin (cinematographer). I really liked her directing style and decided to invite her onto the set of my film for her sensitivity. It is a very sensitive story, full of femininity. Everyone who worked on this film knew what story they wanted to tell and the desired result. That’s why we worked very well together.

(The article continues below - Commercial information)

Labina Mitevska – producer
The film had a €1.3m budget. It was a truly European co-production between Macedonia, Slovenia, France and Belgium, with backing from the MEDIA Programme and Eurimages. The film is set in a small town and revolves around three sisters. We think that the story is really interesting. We rewrote it several times and the fiftieth time the story became really interesting … something beautiful and special. So we said to ourselves: "Come on, let’s make this film." Several people were moved when they heard the story. Even though it is a sad story, they said yes to it. Nowadays, people prefer to see more light-hearted films, comedies and this film is not one of them. Rather it is about three strong women. I think that it will be a very beautiful film to go and see.

Ana Kostovska – actress
I played Slavica, the oldest of three sisters in the small town of Tito Velez. Slavica is an unstable person, it was fun but also a great challenge for me to play her. I spent a lot of time preparing for this role with the director, even though it [the preparation] was constructive and communication was very good between us. She had some very interesting ideas and I think we reached our objective. Slavica may come across to some as a tragic character, but for me she is almost a saint. In fact, the question that everyone must answer at the end is: Is the story tragic or does it have a happy end?

Nikolina Kujaca – actress
Safa is a modern young woman and her main aim is to leave Macedonia like her mother did a very long time ago. Safa brings a hint of poetry to the film. It is the first time I have starred in a film like this, it is a real journey to the inner world of the character. The director’s point of view is very interesting. I used friends’ characters as inspiration for this role. However, in our country, it is not difficult to put oneself in the shoes of a young woman who is unhappy about living in the current circumstances. It’s more or less normal that everyone wants to go to another city or country to have a better life.

Labina Mitevska – actress
Afrodita is a 27 year-old woman living in a small Macedonian town with her two sisters. Her character is extremely interesting. Twenty years earlier, when her mother abandons her to go to Greece and her father dies, she decides to no longer talk about what happened. So throughout the film I play a character that refuses to talk… That was quite difficult to do because the character is full of emotions… It is a challenge for an actor to work on a character like this. Although Afrodita has led a difficult life, with one of her sisters following methadone treatment and the other wanting to leave them, the young woman is very happy nevertheless. She wants to give everything to her sisters, who are her only family.

To watch these interviews, click here


international title: I Am from Titov Veles
original title: Jas sum od Titov Veles
country: Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of, Sierra Leone, France, Belgium
sales agent: Insomnia World Sales
year: 2007
directed by: Teona Strugar Mitevska
screenplay: Teona Strugar Mitevska
cast: Labina Mitevska, Ana Kostavska, Nikolina Kujaca, Petar Musevski, Dzevded Jashari

main awards/selection

Berlinale 2008 Panorama

Follow us on

facebook twitter rss


Croatia On the Other Side