Ibër Deari lends his creative direction in many projects, and each year he is sure to bring films and documentaries that wow the audiences world-wide. Winner of Best Director and Best Short at the NYAFW in New York, Ibër Deari and lead actor Mirsad Abazi made appearances at the Red Carpet at the SVA Theatre.
Director, writer, producer, DOP Ibër Deari is born in Kumanova, Macedonia in 1990. He is a famous director and writer, known for his award-winning movies such as, My City Screams (2015), TOKA (2016), A long way Home (2017). Ibër Deari is an award-winning director, his most recent film as director is My City Screams. Filming is his biggest passion and he has been making films since high school. He has also written and directed a number of short fictional and documentary videos.
Ibër Deari continued the Film School in the University of Audiovisual Arts “ESRA” in Skopje. He graduated in 2013 with the film “LAST CONFESSION”, and he graduated in the master studies in “ESRA” and thus was given the title Master of Arts in the Department of Film Direction with the film “TOKA” (Land) and graduation paper defense “TO FILM OR NOT TO FILM”.
Meet the Artist: NY Elite Interview with Ibër Deari
NY Elite: Congratulations on winning Best Director for two films “Toka” and “A Long Way Home” at New York Albanian Film Week. How was your experience at the Red Carpet, the Award Night and the festival?
Ibër Deari: Thank you very much. To win in a festival with two films is a double joy. These awards, apart from the satisfaction, they give me a bigger responsibility for the future films. It was one of my special experiences during these last years. Of course, since the opening of festival, I met too many artists there. It was important for me to meet American producers to watch my movies. And that’s what happened. I have too many contacts and from now on many things will change for my upcoming projects. I would like to thank MRIKA KRASNIQI for the idea of the festival and the opportunity she has given to many Albanian artists wherever they are – to participate in New York, and present their works beyond the borders we are living in. This is a great value for us.
NY Elite: How was your New York experience? What were your favorite moments visiting the city?
Ibër Deari: Everything I could see in New York was special. I didn’t know whether I am in American movies or in real life. Having visited all those places, starting from Time Square, Statue of Liberty, Central Park, Bryan Park, Empire State Building, One World Trade Center, Museums, Library, Broadway, etc. Having seen all those people for me was as if I was seeing characters from movies of Martin Scorsese, Tarantino, Jim Jarmusch, etc. From all these visits, one of the special visits was the theater where the Oscar-winning film “Birdman” was filmed. So, I walked across that street, stopped by the theatre, got in… and throughout all this experience in my head was the music of Anthony Sanchez, the soundtrack of the movie “Birdman”.
NY Elite: How hard is to be a film director in Macedonia?
Ibër Deari: Life is tough in Macedonia for an ordinary citizen, let alone for a movie director. Of course it is difficult. We are a very small number of Albanian movie directors, and the majority of movies are allocated in an incorrect way, but this shouldn’t stop me from making films. There is no support from the institutions and the state itself. Every film I have made so far have been zero percent budgeted. I have submitted too many requests for funds and financial support for my trips in festivals, where I have promoted Macedonia, but I have always received a negative response and no support. I hope this will change for the better in the future. It is important to support arts and artists as it is a way to promote culture and a nation, especially in the international arena and important platforms like the one I participated in New York.
NY Elite: Tell us a little bit more about ‘Toka’ and ‘A Long Way Home’. What are the shorts about?
Ibër Deari: They are two shorts with different topics. TOKA is a story about A father who is old and on his death bed calls his elders son, Bardhi. He advises his son that effort and hard work will ensure him a better future for his family. For the old man, land is everything. Just after the father dies, the younger son, Lis, turns up in the village. Lis has lived for eight years in the west European county and has lost contact with his family. The real reason he has returned is to sell off some of the family’s land to pay off his debts to some characters from the underworld.
A long way home – Olti has served a long prison sentence for killing a man based on the ancient code of revenge. He wishes to see his mother and help his family but the ancient code prohibits him from entering the village. Now, on his way home, he has to choose between abandoning his family and risking his life just to be with them.
I have had a very special experience with these two films. I have learned a lot from both. I am happy they are having their way in festival and achieving results.
NY Elite: Do you see movies like a ART or Industry?
Ibër Deari: I think movie is both art and industry, as it is made by the hands of a dreamer to create art, and the hands of a dreamer to fill their pockets. The movie should communicate with the public, it should have a message or a situation. If it only reaches a person, the director has finished his mission successfully. I like a definition of an Austrian director Gustav Deutch for the movie which says: The movie is – a movement, light and darkness, instrument, material, moment, mirror, fun, magic, writing and language, emotion and fear, document.
NY Elite: What makes a film great for you? Are there certain qualities that make a film better for you?
Ibër Deari: The sincerity of the artist. Love for the cinema. Work and fate. I don’t believe there is a school or a formula that teaches you how to make a successful movie. Of course you need to have as a base a good screenplay, good cast, good director, and all this equals good team. But without sincerity, love and effort nothing can be done.
NY Elite: What are some of your biggest accomplishments thus far?
Ibër Deari: I have had phases or challenges every director should pass. My achievements are the making of some films we have made with a lot of love, but not with financial support.
The awards I have been given in festivals could be named as my achievements so far. From all, I am grateful that every festival has influenced to bring me one step higher. I would mention those I have had the most success with, which I have been awarded for and won. The first film with which I started to participate in a festival was (Between paradise and hell). Then, it’s the movie (Last Confession). Afterwards, it’s the action movie “My city Screams”. After this genre I came back with an Albanian topic where is discussed the conflict of lands in families with the movie “Toka” (Land). And the newest movie I have made this year is “A long way home”. I have participated in other films as well, but only as a Director of Photography. In 2014 I was awarded as the Best Artist in scenic achievements MILINGONA E ARTË in Macedonia.
NY Elite: Have you thought about acting in your movies or in general?
Ibër Deari: I adore acting and I always dream of starring in a movie. In some of my movies I appear for five seconds or a minute, as they call CAMEO DIRECTOR (Alfred Hitchcock used to do so. If somebody would offer me a role, I would accept it. As for my movies, I am still thinking of finding myself a role.
NY Elite: What projects are you working on currently?
Ibër Deari: I am working on a screenplay of feature movie, becoming ready for making a short movie whose screenplay was awarded in the International Completion New York. And of course if something is offered, I am ready for it.
NY Elite: Do you express yourself creatively in any other ways?
Ibër Deari: hmm yeah, when I dream. (ahahah) I think I’m enough creative when I write, photography and marketing for movies.
NY Elite: What advice would you give to someone who wants to have a career in filmmaking?
Ibër Deari: Ugh, it is not easy. You need a bit of talent, a lot of love, and a lot of effort. Film directors eat, sleep and drink film – it borders on an obsession. It’s an all-consuming job where you’re always learning, so you need to write, shoot and direct films as much as you can.
WORK WITH WHAT YOU’VE GOT. STUDY FILMS. PUSH YOURSELF.
DON’T GIVE UP. DON’T LISTEN TO ANYONE.
NY Elite: What do you love about your job?
Ibër Deari: Everything – from the moment you have the idea to write the screenplay, the moment when the movie team is made, the camera… the only moment that troubles me is the premier night. I look how to escape from the premier night. I feel troubled. I think the director’s place is in the filming process only. That’s where he feels safe.
NY Elite: What’s your favorite movie?/Who are your biggest influences?
Ibër Deari: It would be difficult to differentiate my favorite, but of course a big influence at me have the movies of Sergio Leone, Quentin Tarantino, Kurosawa, Coppola, Kubrick…
The Good the bad and the ugly
Godfather, Apocalypse Now
A clockwork Orange
In the end I just want to say thank you to the people who helped me to make my movies, I will thank my family who supported me all the time. All actors and crew who worked with me. My Two big actors who were brilliant in movie TOKA, Adem Karaga and Afrim Mucaj. The other actors from A long Way Home – big thanks to Mirsad Abazi, Sefedin Shabani, Musa Isufi and Ardian Kadriu. Special thanks to producer Afrim Asani and his production from Kumanova, REDON PICTURES.