“Hello Freedom” is a film-based project inspired by my personal experience in the 1999 Kosova War, as well as the hardships faced by fellow Kosovans. There also lies the theme of post-war independence and the idea that wars never truly end, yet in the wake of their ceasefire freedom is given a chance to begin. Freedom of the people, freedom of the land, freedom of the spirit that flows through the people and the land. My film explores the emotions surrounding nostalgia and freedom through the use of cinematography, visual effects and animation. I weighed equal importance to all elements of the video, particularly the intertwining relationship between the visuals and audio. Albanian symbolism and motifs, from the double-headed eagle or "Shqiponja", to traditional clothing and patterns as well as cuisine (the layered pancake-like dish known as Fli), are further incorporated as cultural components in the film.
I am deeply intrigued by the psychology that surrounds nostalgia and freedom. That is, how do these concepts influence our minds and help us in the face of inner turmoil? Through this film, I explored the extent to which I can express the universal emotions of homeliness and cultural connections via cinematographic tools. I specifically achieved this through creative manipulation of audio, visual effects and animation - as aforementioned in my research question. The emotions surrounding culture and homeliness have had a profound influence on me, ultimately fuelling my creative journey.
I believe that this project is compelling to all, for it is based on a true story of survival. This is combined seamlessly with Kosova's true and consistent struggle for freedom. The foundation for this film is set in the documentary "Golgota e Llapit" or Golgotha of the Llapi region by Bardhyl Bekteshi, filmed during the war. There is a specific scene, amongst other explicit depictions of the violence and trauma my people faced, of my Grandfather holding my hand and saying "I hope the youth will survive this and be able to tell their descendants of our struggles". Such poignant words were uttered while the world witnessed Twentieth Century Exodus in the middle of Europe, with people having to walk kilometres to the nearest mountains for a relatively 'safe' haven.
The young girl has survived and grown with her Grandfather’s words etched in her mind as a message, a purpose, a story that deserves to be heard and artistically expressed.