Born in North Macedonia, Sara Klimoska trained at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Skopje and has successfully straddled the worlds of theater and film both nationally and internationally. Her most recent role is in Goran Stolevski’s film “You Won’t Be Alone.” Prior to that, and working with the same director, Sara played the lead in “Would You Look at Her,” which won the Jury Prize for Best International Short at the Sundance Film Festival in 2018. In 2019, she was cast in the lead role in “Willow” by the Academy Award-nominated director, Milcho Manchevski. Among other honors, “Willow” was in the Feature Film Selection at the European Film Awards. Sara’s other recent roles include a supporting role in the German feature film “Nico” directed by Eline Gehring and leading roles in two upcoming productions, “Sabatier Effect” by Eleonora Veninova and Igor Aleksov debut feature, “Lena and Vladimir.” In 2020, Sara was honored with the Best Film Actress Award in North Macedonia, given by the Macedonian Society of Filmmakers – an award near and dear to her heart.
Ahead of the 2021 European Shooting Stars Awards Ceremony on Monday 14 June during the Berlinale Summer Special, Tara Karajica talks to Sara Klimoska about being an actress, a European Shooting Star, women in film and her next projects.
What made you want to become an actress?
Sara Klimoska: I used to be a modern ballet dancer when I was very young and I had the idea of going to the Ballet Academy and becoming a professional modern ballet dancer. But, I had a conversation with my sister who is in love with theater and who told me I could express myself better as an artist if I became an actress. That really made me think. So, I tried to enroll at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts. During the week of entrance exams, I really fell in love with what was going on there. And, I am so grateful to my sister because I think there is no profession that would make me as happy as this one does.
You recently starred in the upcoming film Lena and Vladimir by Igor Aleksov, a story of two outcasts desperate to escape from themselves and their world. Can you elaborate on that?
S.K.: The film Lena and Vladimir is about the fate that unites two runaways, Vladimir, a forty-year-old man who has lost all of his love and Lena, a sixteen-year-old girl who has never had one. They help each other to rediscover their love for life. It was filmed three years ago, but it will eventually come out this year.
Can you talk about the character of Lena? How do you see Lena? Are you anything like her?
S.K.: I saw Lena as a collateral victim of the system we live in and I think we all have been in a similar position at least once in our lives. So, I fully solidarized with her and I didn’t have difficulties understanding her or justifying her behavior at any moment.
How have you prepared for this role? What drew you to it?
S.K.: The role of Lena in Lena and Vladimir was actually my first leading role in a feature film. So, I was quite scared in terms of what I was going to do with the role. But, I dived completely into the process. I loved the script and I started working on it with huge enthusiasm. I think I developed the role based on what my instincts were telling me.
You have acted on the stage and in film. Which one do you prefer? Why?
S.K.: I don’t have preferences when it comes to what I like more. It always depends on the project. It depends on how good the collaboration with the director and the actors is. What the process offers is the experience, but it is true that sometimes if I work on films for a longer time, I need a break and I want to go back to theater and vice versa.
How do you pick a role? Which one is your favorite, if any?
S.K.: This is a very difficult question, really. Choosing a favorite role is like asking a mother which child she is willing to sacrifice. I get connected with all of the roles that I play. They’ve become a part of me and every role teaches me about something new. But, I do have the need to redo some roles that I have done in the past. I remember being Lady Macbeth in theater school and I am sure that I wasn’t experienced enough to understand her and to know how to perform. And, I wish to have the opportunity to work on her now, with a different approach, experience and point of view.
What does being a European Shooting Star mean for your career and how do you think it will impact it?
S.K.: Being chosen as one of the ten best actors in Europe is truly unbelievable. I had the opportunity to establish contacts with brilliant people from the film industry. And, I hope that this will have a positive impact in the future and that I’ll have the opportunity to collaborate with some of them.
What does it take to be a star, according to you?
S.K.: I really prefer to be called an artist, or an actress, or a performer instead of a star. But, to be all this, it definitely needs huge devotion, patience and hard work. And you can have all this only if you are sure that this is what you really want in your life. It’s not the idea of being a star, but it is really about wanting to be challenged as a performer every time like it is the first time you are doing it.
There has been a lot of talk about women in film the past four years. What do you make of the situation of women in film? How is the situation in North Macedonia?
S.K.: I am very happy that the world has become more aware in the past years that women have been discriminated in every field and there is an indication that things are changing. But, we must continue being persistent in the fight to be equally present in the film industry. It is true that in the past several years in North Macedonia a milestone has been reached regarding films with female leading roles, but it is also true and unfortunate that women directors are still struggling to get the opportunity in the male-dominant filmmaking world. And, the most devastating fact is that in North Macedonia there is no female director of photography that works on films. We still need to do a lot of work to create equal opportunities for all of us.
Who is your favorite female filmmaker? Is there one you would love to work with?
S.K.: One of the best films that I’ve seen in my life is called Capernaum by Nadine Labaki. I think she is a very interesting, deep and sensitive director who I would love to work with. Talking about the Balkans, I would praise the amazingly talented director of Honeyland, Tamara Kotevska, and then Blerta Basholi and Antoneta Kastrati from Kosovo and Jasmila Žbanić from Bosnia and Herzegovina.
I understand your next project is a leading role in Goran Stolevski’s film, You Won’t Be Alone, alongside Anamaria Marinca, Noomi Rapace, Félix Maritaud, Alice Englert and Carloto Cotta to be released this year by Focus Features. Can you talk about it? What else do you have in the pipeline?
S.K.: The filming of You Won’t Be Alone finished in December in 2020 in Serbia. It is my second collaboration with Goran Stolevski, with whom I have worked on a very successful short film called Would You Look at Her that won the Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. I had an extraordinary experience working on this film together with brilliant actors, a very hard-working crew and an amazingly talented director in an isolated Serbian village with the most astonishing landscape. I am really looking forward to its premiere. At present, I am going back to the theater for a while and am in the process of developing two performances that will premiere in North Macedonia later this year.
Photo credit: Žarko Culić.
This interview was conducted in partnership with: