“A true story” is a short film from Albania, directed and written by Viron Roboci, produced by Viron Roboci and Ermal Hoxha. The film is an official selection competing at the International Filmmaker Festival of New York. It will screen at 6:30 pm on Monday, May 28, 2018 at Producers Club Theaters (358 W 44th St, New York, NY 10036).
Viron Roboci was born in Saranda, a coastal city located in South Albania, on July 15th, 1985. After finishing his primary school, he moved to Gjirokastra, a medieval city located in South Albania and after that he moved to Trieste, Italy to study Film Directing. He graduated at the “Trieste University” in 2011 and since than he has been living and working in Tirana, the capital of Albania. Currently he is working as a freelancer Film Director.
Meet the Artist: NY Elite Interview with Director Viron Roboci
NY Elite: Congratulations on being an official selection at the prestigious International Filmmaker Festival of New York. What are your thoughts about being accepted at IFFNY 2018 film festival and having your film screen in New York City?
Viron Roboci: I’m really happy to be part of this Festival’s edition. It is a great pleasure being selected among hundreds of films. I believe the aspiration of any filmmaker is to share his vision as much as possible with the audience.
NY Elite: Out of the 500 submissions world-wide, your film was selected as the top 40 for IFFNY. What does this mean for you in terms of representing your country/city at this international film competition?
Viron Roboci: Even though this is a true story, in a normal society, it would be hard to believe it. I’m pretty sure that the confrontation of the audience with the film is going to be very interesting and emotional. When it comes to the human rights we have responsibilities and we must be respectful because our rights and dignity end up just where the other’s rights and dignity begins.
NY Elite: With what project are you partaking at IFFNY 2018? What is it about?
Viron Roboci: The film title is “A true story” and it is a historic one. I have also written the script. Its tittle is not specifically related with the fact that it talks about a true story, but also with the idea that whoever will have the chance to watch the film will wonder from the beginning to the end of it that “which of the stories shown is the true one” as there are some of them.
NY Elite: Who else is involved in the making of this project? Tell us a little bit more about the story and who is in it.
Viron Roboci: The cast is very young in age as are the characters in the film, between 23 and 50 years old. The actors are mostly students of the acting academy except for three of them who are professionals. The DOP is Nino Sebastiano Celeste, an icon of the Italian cinematography who has started his career with masters like Fellini and throughout the years has collaborated with Tarkovsky, Angelopoulos, Godard and so on. Now he is 78 years old and I can say that paradoxically he was the driving energy of the set.
The story takes place in my country, Albania, in 1950’s. Three members of a family are declared guilty and sentenced for the murder of their daughter after she was divorced. Everything starts with the disappearance of the girl in the year 1950. Four years later the authorities initiated an investigation that concluded with declaring all the family members as “guilty for murder”.
I would prefer not to go in details with the story as I’m sure people might be interested to watch the film on the big screen.
NY Elite: What message do you want to convey with this project?
Viron Roboci: My aim is to give voice to some unusual histories and human situations that show the true colors of a human being in certain circumstances. I always try to speak globally about local stories because when we draw parallels with other countries we feel closer to each other; thus, we avoid conflicts and we recognize the true dimension of life. Furthermore, every creator in any field has as a main purpose “the communication” as a tool and the identification of a specific target group. My professional approach as director is oriented towards the classical school: I love Baroque paintings, I never choose random camera angle, usually I use slow camera movements and low lighted photography. All that stuff brings in one direction: human stories without special effects, video effects or stuff like that. It is not because I don’t like these sorts of movies or I do not respect those who do them, but I think that we need more reflection and less fun.
NY Elite: The Red Carpet Opening Ceremony and the Awards Gala will take place at the renowned Kaufman Astoria Studios of New York. Do you plan to attend the IFFNY Festival taking place on May 25-29, 2018? What do you want the audience at IFFNY to take away from this film?
Viron Roboci: It would be great to attend the Festival but I’m not sure if I can make it due to other projects I’m working on currently. The sole fact that so many stars have walked on that stage gives honor to the Festival in the first place and of course makes me feel appreciated. It means that the chances of a wider audience are very high.
I would like the audience to perceive from this film the emotions, the positive energy and the hope that by knowing the past we increase the chances for a better tomorrow.
NY Elite: What makes a film great for you? Are there certain qualities that make a film better for you?
Viron Roboci: I always repeat the same slogan of Federico Fellini that when it comes to the film qualities “there are only three simple qualities you need to have when you make e movie: the story, the story and the story”! I love the French “Nouvelle Vague”, the Italian “Neorealism”, the “British New wave”, the Czechoslovakian movies, the Russian cinema, and the directing style of Carl Theodor Dreyer, Andrei Tarkovsky, Theo Angelopoulos, Luis Buñuel, Giuseppe Tornatore, Coppola, Scorsese, Bertolucci, Iñárritu, Sorrentino, Von Trier and many more. Each one of them has a different interesting main element, however they all tell great stories. I mean, it is a complicated medium if we start to talk about technical details or specific elements, but surely the central element of every movie is the story. If you want to know what is it that I am “obsessed” with? Well, I can say the photography and the music.
NY Elite: Top 3 favorite films/projects you have been involved in?
Viron Roboci: It is simple, among the few steps taken in this path I can mention: my first short movie in 2011 “The restitution” shot between Italy, Croatia and Slovenia; the second one that was really challenging is a short historical documentary titled “The frenzy of Orlando” and the one you are going to watch in New York, “A true story”.
NY Elite: What are your career highlights and achievements thus far?
Viron Roboci: The audience facial expression, that’s the best professional highlight for me! When I see the impact in front of the big screen I really feel good and, in my opinion, this is the satisfaction of every author, to see his idea materialized. Other highlights I can mention are like the nomination for the “Best International Film” in six International Film Festivals around the world so far; the Award as the “Best International Short Movie” in Genoa, Italy.
NY Elite: Do you express yourself creatively in any other ways?
Viron Roboci: As a kid I used to draw, I was very good at it… it was like ages ago!
NY Elite: What advice would you give to someone who wants to have a career in filmmaking?
Viron Roboci: Filmmaking is a beautiful dream, so never give up! Making a film is an enterprise that can’t be done that easily; it needs hard work, a lot of patience, self-confidence and the most important thing something to say. If you have all these qualities, certainly you’re going to make movies but first of all make sure to have “something to say”.
NY Elite: What’s next for you?
Viron Roboci: I’m working on a short film, a love story about the third age, a feature “in costumes” (historical), and a series of documentaries.