After screening at Cannes Short Film Corner, the highly critically acclaimed short film “My Name is Somebody” leads nominations in 2018 for several awards, including: “Best Screenplay” from Queens World Film Festival (QWFF); “Lead Actor Award” for Artan Telqiu in the role of “Bruno”; “Lead Actor (Female) Award” for Christina “Kit” Vinsick, in the role of “Linda” at the Blackbird Film Fest in New York; “Outstanding Achievement in Directing” at 35th Annual Brooklyn College Film Festival; and “Outstanding Filmmaking” grant from the National Board of Review. “My Name is Somebody” is the winner of “Best Cinematography” award at the 2018 Genre Celebration Festival.
Starring the powerful trio Artan Telqiu, Christina “Kit” Vinsick and Tony Naumovski “My Name is Somebody” is directed by Orges Bakalli.
Born in Shkodër, Albania, but raised in Queens, New York, Orges Bakalli began making films at a very young age. Collaborating and working on various documentary and fiction films, Orges’ work has been shown at Channel 13, BRIC TV, Channel 25 NYC Life, MoMA, BAM, Albanian Film Week, New York Short Film Festival, and the Cannes Film Festival. He has twice been nominated for the John F. Outcalt Award for Outstanding Filmmaking, the Achievement in Directing award at the 35th Annual Brooklyn College Film Festival, and the NBR Grant for Outstanding Filmmaking.
London Prestige Magazine with Director Orges Bakalli
London Prestige: How long have you been making films and videos?
Orges Bakalli: I have been making films since I was a teenager in high school.
London Prestige: What is your recent film about?
Orges Bakalli: My most recent film My Name is Somebody is about an assimilated man who has buried his past and his ethnic identity with it. When it resurfaces, it forces him to choose what kind of person he is going to be.
London Prestige: How did you go about casting “My Name is Somebody”?
Orges Bakalli: I cast mostly actor friends of mine. I had worked with Artan Telqiu before and we already had a level of trust amongst us which was fruitful. Christina Vinsick, who is also one of the producers of the film, is part of a theater company, and I thought it would be great to work with her. Tony Naumovski is a guy I met years ago and always wanted to collaborate with, but it never worked out until now. And boy did it work out.
London Prestige: What do you hope people will take away from the film?
Orges Bakalli: I hope that people will enjoy the noir-ish thriller, and if possible, think a bit about their own sense of identity, and the things they have had to give up to achieve it.
London Prestige: What do you hope to achieve by making the film?
Orges Bakalli: My intention since the start was to make a film in the style of classic film noir, that digs deep into the characters and elevates the emotional investment the viewer will have with each one.
London Prestige: When is the next screening and tell us about any competitions/festival submission.
Orges Bakalli: The next screening will be at Blackbird Film Fest on April 21, 2018 starting from 9:00pm in Cortland, NY. The film is currently begin sent out to various film festivals, and will be traveling the circuit in 2018!
London Prestige: Tell us a bit about the other films you’ve made.
Orges Bakalli: My first film Made in Amerika, deals with many of the same themes as My Name is Somebody, albeit is less of a genre film and more documentary style/social realist.
London Prestige: What makes beautiful art in your opinion?
Orges Bakalli: Anything that makes me forget I am experiencing a piece of art is beautiful.
London Prestige: Which other documentaries/films that you’ve seen have made an impact on you, personally?
Orges Bakalli: The Act of Killing is a documentary made in recent years that explores the darkest parts of human nature, and the role of cinema in it all. The film indicts the filmmaking process in various ways and asks fundamental questions. How do cinematic images affect us? Does it influence our behaviors or is it all make-believe? Do films owe a responsibility to society? I am vastly intrigued by these questions.
London Prestige: How has your style evolved?
Orges Bakalli: I would say it has become more formal, but that is for this particular story. Because the lead character is very rigid, so must be the visual techniques in the film. That mean locked off camera, small camera movements and very little handheld. It always depends on the story you’re telling. That’s part of the fun, finding the style.
London Prestige: What skills/personal attributes are most important to being successful?
Orges Bakalli: As clichéd as it may sound; hard work, dedication, and trust. You’ve got to trust the people you work with. In such a highly collaborative sport like film, they are just as responsible to your success, if not more so, than you are.
London Prestige: What other hobbies do you have?
Orges Bakalli: I like to read, write, and of course, watch films!
London Prestige: What are you thinking about doing next?
Orges Bakalli: I have just completed the first draft of my first feature length script and I am hoping to use the momentum of this short to generate interest.
Thanks so much for the interview!