Merita Çegrani

Merita Çegrani is a young and creative artist passionate in the field of film and television. She was born in 1999 in Gostivar and grew up in Chegrane, a village in the municipality of Gostivar in North Macedonia, and still lives there. From an early age, she has shown a strong interest in audiovisual art, as her family had a television of their own. This love for the art of film and television inspired her to pursue a career in this field.

Merita first went to primary school in the place where she is living, whereas the high school she finished in Gostivar. After that, she enrolled at the University of Tetova, at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts, majoring in Film & TV Editing, where she successfully completed her studies. In this faculty, she showed exceptional dedication to what she did, demonstrating excellent skills in writing and producing audiovisual projects as a screenwriter, director and editor.

As a student, Merita managed to successfully direct several artistic and documentary projects. She wrote many screenplays, was part of the writing of other screenplays and directed short films, short documentaries, commercials, music videos, and has also done the work of editing. She has also collaborated with other directors to edit their films.

In addition to her work as a creator, Merita is also considered a valuable team member and a good collaborator. She is known for her dedication and seriousness in completing her projects.

Merita's motto is "Art for Progress," reflecting its belief in the power of art to bring about positive change and progress in society. Merita is determined to achieve success in the field of film and television and to bring her contribution to the art industry.

Your project takes a part in our festival. What is your project about?
Our project is a profound exploration of the intricate relationship between film, reality, and the profound spiritual states of individuals. Employing the weight of audiovisual art to breathe life into essential aspects of reality, we delve into the collective concerns of humanity. One such aspect we address is the deeply sensitive and prevalent issue of the rape phenomenon. Ela's biggest and only secret is her son, Jon. Jon was born eight years ago as an act of rape, and after eight years he feels like nobody's son for the first time. The one that Jon knew as a father turns into a stranger, and he feels guilty towards his mother because of all the difficulties that he unknowingly caused. Our project powerfully confronts society's prejudices by emphasizing the importance of not condemning the victim, but directing judgment towards the perpetrator of rape, advocating a crucial shift in perspective that challenges society's victim-blaming attitudes

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Fig. 1. Poster of the short film “The Unexpected Gift”

Untitled design 33pngFig. 2. Behind the Scenes

What were your requirements for actors to take a part of your film?
Every actor involved in the project was chosen based on their ability to bring emotional depth and authenticity to their roles, contributing to the overall narrative integrity of the film. Collaborating with a team of individuals who shared a passion for the art and a commitment to delivering a compelling and unapologetic cinematic experience was paramount. This provides an opportunity to express my sincere appreciation for their exceptional work — their performances added an aesthetic dimension of "The Unexpected Gift". We worked with great artists.

p5jpgp6pngFig.3. Rehearsals

How did you communicate with the cameraman?

In collaborating with the Director of Photography, Agon Ismajli, for "The Unexpected Gift", communication played a pivotal role in ensuring the visual narrative aligned seamlessly with the film's thematic essence. Regular and open dialogue was established from the project's inception, fostering a shared understanding of the creative vision.

Through pre-production meetings, we discussed the overarching visual style, the emotional tone of key scenes, and the desired impact on the audience. This collaborative process allowed us to align our perspectives, including personal and professional goals for the project.

In essence, our communication was a fluid and collaborative exchange, ensuring that the cameraman played a vital role in bringing the cinematic vision to life with precision and artistic finesse.

What locations did you choose for your project? And why?
The shooting location or any location where the film crew filmed the actors and recorded their dialogue, in the short film "The Unexpected Gift," I as a director have chosen to shoot in a "real" location.

After discussions between me and the director of photography, we drew up our requirements, which included the mise-en-scène, the available space for the integration of filming equipment, the general aesthetics of the environment, adaptation to the conditions and the time when the event covered in this film took place, ambient lighting conditions at different times of the day (or night), the availability of electricity or the ability to bring generators for lights and electrical equipment for outdoor scenes on location.


Fig.4. The Director, Merita Çegrani, together with the Director of Photography, Agon Ismajli, during the selection of the shooting locations

Why should distributors buy your film?
In summary, "The Unexpected Gift" is not just a film; it's a cinematic journey that combines compelling storytelling, visual excellence, and societal relevance. This is a distinctive and emotionally resonant film, attracting audiences seeking thought-provoking and impactful cinematic experiences for its unique and compelling qualities.

What expression elements did you use in your project? How would you characterize your work?In "The Unexpected Gift", I employed a range of expressive elements to characterize the film and create a distinctive cinematic experience: Visual metaphors, symbolic imagery, Mise en Scène, blend of reality and surrealism, cinematographic techniques, emotional depth, narration, music, and comining all of these with magic of editing.

In essence, "The Unexpected Gift" can be characterized as a visually rich and emotionally resonant cinematic work that combines symbolic storytelling, meticulous visual craftsmanship, and a commitment to pushing artistic boundaries.

At what festivals have you had success? Has the film already premiered? If so, where?
“Manaki Brothers – International Cinematographers’ Film Festival” - North Macedonia; Domestic International Premiere

Athens International Monthly Art Film Festival – Greece; Honorable Mention

Tietê International Film Awards – Brazil; Bronze Tilapia, Honorable Mention

“Drei Nächte FilmFest” – Switzerland; Official Selection

“Ooty Short Film Festival” – India; Official Selection

“Cinemaking International Film Festival” – South Asia; Official Selection

What motivated you to become a filmmaker?
Becoming a filmmaker was a natural evolution rooted in a lifelong connection with the world of art, fostered by the unique communication dynamics within my family. Growing up in an environment where communication was akin to an art form, I developed an early appreciation for the power of storytelling, visual expression, and the profound impact of cinematic narratives.

My journey into filmmaking is fueled by a deep love for editing, storytelling, a commitment to exploring the human experience, and the belief that cinema has the power to inspire, challenge, and connect people across the globe.

I found it as a combination between emotional power and intellectual clarity to unravel man's struggle for freedom and creativity.

This is the most beautiful way to achieve my lifetime moto: Art for progress.

Which movies are your favorites? And why?
As a filmmaker with a background in film school, my cinematic preferences have been influenced by a diverse range of genres and styles.

I will go with "The Godfather" a film that transcends time and remains a pinnacle of cinematic excellence in my eyes.

What topics do you like to deal with in your work?
I am drawn to exploring the timeless and intricate facets of human existence, delving into lifetime emotions, investigative themes, and cultural aspects.

What genre do you like to shoot and why?
I am particularly drawn to genres that allow me to explore the depths of the human psyche and provoke thought. Genres such as mystery, psychological thriller, and drama provide a rich canvas for delving into complex emotions and intricate character dynamics.

What project would you like to shoot one day, what would it be about?
One project that I harbor a deep desire to bring to life as a movie is inspired by a true story. This narrative would revolve around a man unjustly imprisoned, solely because of his held knowledge of sensitive state secrets.

What do you do if you're not thinking about a movie? What are your hobbies?
Outside of my filmmaking endeavors and the world of movies, I find joy and relaxation in a variety of hobbies that fuel my creativity and offer a well-rounded perspective. Some of my favorite hobbies include: Writing, photography, reading, exploring nature etc.

What projects do you plan to shoot in the future?
While specific details may evolve with time and creative exploration, I envision undertaking diverse and compelling projects in the future that reflect my artistic vision and thematic interests.