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Being an actress in LA – Furtuna Aliu Interview

Hello Furtuna, Thank you for taking this interview.

1 – Can you briefly introduce yourself ?

My name is Furtuna Aliu, I’m 19 years old and I come from Kosovo. A new country located in the south east of Europe. I recently moved to Los Angeles, California to study acting.

2 – When did you start acting ? Did you always knew that you wanted to be an actress ?

I was about 5 years old when I first stepped onto a small stage in my hometown, reciting a poem. I’ve wanted to become an actress ever since and surely being active in the community from a young age helped fuel that desire into a permanent career path.

3 – Was it hard for your parents to accept it ?

I’ve been raised by a wonderful supporting mother, although I think all parents at some point have their doubts when their child is perusing a career in the arts, it was just as difficult for her to picture me doing something else as it was for me.

4 – Can you tell us a bit more about your acting career in Kosovo and why you decided to leave for the United states ?

I started acting for film in Kosovo at the age of 12, after I moved to the capital Pristina.  I started out with some small parts and Kosovo being a small place, work brought in more work and I was part of few films, in leading roles and supporting roles and so on. I also have a bit of theatrical experience. I decided to study in the US because the training that exists in Kosovo has been recycling for awhile and it belongs to the eastern communist influence. I felt the need to study the craft somewhere else and where better then the capital of cinema in the world.

5 – As an actress in LA today do you think that social media as Instagram is a “must” for your career ?

I think social media can be an asset to reach more audience and create a circle of contacts beyond the geographical barriers, also it can be used for every artist as a place where you can express your creativity, or even a virtual resume for people to see what you’re involved with and you can share your latest projects. I don’t think it’s a must but used well it can be a positive asset for an actors career.

6 – From what you’ve seen now, what do you think are the biggest differences between being an actor in Kosovo and in Los Angeles ? 

There’s a lot of talent springing out of Kosovo and onto the world stage during the last few years, but regardless being an actor in Kosovo has it’s limitations. There’s no comparison to the LA industry, Los Angeles is a beast, with the largest actor population and the toughest competition there is, but the sky is the limit.

7 – Is there a main message that you wanna share through your art and your career ?

My art is very personal, I simply love acting and am curious to explore new characters and always eager to read a good script and be part of an exiting project. In the future if I have the opportunity I would use any fame or public name to support some of the causes that I’m passionate about like human rights, global pollution and animal rights and the preservation of the natural habitats for the endangered species.

8 – You had to go through a long process in order to raise the funds to travel and study in Los angeles, could you tell us more about it ?

None of this wouldn’t have been possible without my mother, she was the one who supported me when my plans sounded far fetched. After I was accepted in the Stella Adler program, there was barely enough funds to support my living expenses, having drained all I could from my family’s support, I reached out to the ministry of culture and Kosovo’s government in desperation, I had come so far and had been accepted in LA and my tuition was covered I couldn’t bare loosing this opportunity.  My letter came through and I found sympathy and support from the incumbent Chairman of the Assembly and the Minister of Culture. They invited me for an official meeting in Kosovo’s parliament cabinet and gave me that last push I needed, my eyes still tear up as I relive this whole experience, it’s incredible when someone believes in you.

9 – Many people think that Los Angeles is a very shallow city, and that an acting career there is all about a business, and not so much about art, do you think it is true ?

I’ve only lived in LA for the last 6 months, am I the best person to ask this question to, probably not. All I can say from my experience here is that I’ve met some of the most inspiring people in all my life in this city. They’ve not only taught me how to act but how to be a human being. The movie making business is a billion dollar business so I’m sure it’s not all cherry’s and art when so much money is at interest but it’s definitely not all about money, the artistic spirit is very much alive in this city.

10 – Do you think that cinema in Kosovo is “politically oriented” ?

I don’t think so, cinema in Kosovo is still almost a healing process for most of us for the very recent traumatic war, I think I can without a doubt say that it’s helped people express their pain and frustration.

11 –  How do you think that actors can contribute to change the minds ? (Bring tolerance, raise awareness regarding social issues…)

We are storytellers, we share the truth of life to our audiences and we bring understanding and empathy. When we empathize we are not judging and we open the door for love.

Thank you very Much, and we wish you all the best in your career.

Maud Guerard

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