Rina Krasniqi from “ILLYRICVM” to “The Albanian Virgin”          

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the Albanian virgin Rina Krasniqi

Rina Krasniqi is the protagonist actress who plays the role of Luana at the film “The Albanian Virgin” directed by Bujar Alimani will have its world premiere at the 37th edition of the Warsaw International Film Festival, in the official category of the international competition.

Rina, from “ILLYRICVM” to “The Albanian Virgin”, what was your emotional world of quaint?
These two projects mark without doubt the most important period of my professional career. I auditioned for “The Albanian Virgin” and in “ILLYRICVM” around the same time, not long after graduating at The Academy of Arts. Getting casted for such profound characters (and fierce women!) for international coproduction so early on in my acting career was an incredible opportunity that I was going to grab with both hands. Once we started shooting my personal life and individual development transformed rapidly and it was very hard work. There’s a myriad of complex feelings that have permeated me in the past few years; From a Sworn Virgin of the highlands of Albania in a patriarchal society in 1958, to an Illyrian shaman of 36 BC in a matriarchal society, one could say these two characters were one of the biggest challenges in my career.

Why do you think that is?
Given the difference between these two characters, I had to approach these two women in a very sincere context. I had to go to a spiritual and mental depth to meet them and that was a massive balance exercise. Physically they were demanding roles too, and I trained for long shooting days high up in the mountains in the dead of winter and the peak of summer. It’s been one of the most difficult and beautiful experiences, but at the end of the day I guess that’s the way I choose to approach my life. Regardless the challenges; inexhaustible love and dedication are key to seeing whatever there really is at a depth.

How “Virgin Illyrian” are you?
I would say not just me, but Albanian/ Kosovar women are “Illyrian Virgins”. Women are the spine of our society. They possess invincible authenticity and pugnacity against still very strong patriarchal values and repression. So hell yes, I am pure and proud Illyrian blood!

What Is Your Purpose in Life?
It sounds cliché, but it’s all more about the ongoing process, rather than an end-goal. For me at least. Professionally I want to keep growing and evolving. Work with talented people. And in the end if I get to inspire some people around me to do good things, then I think I’ll be very happy.

You want to keep reinventing yourself?
The moment an individual stops reinventing themselves, something inside them dies. At least that’s how I live my days. There is too much to learn, too much to see, too much to experience and too much to live. It gives us humans purpose, hope and ambition. Redefining your route along the way is just part of the deal. As long as we put something great out into the world. By reinventing myself and my trade, I keep my inner child alive; the imagination and purity.

Are you more self-Illyrian / self-Albanian now than you used to be?
I have always been proud of my background and ethnicity, and this feeling is always growing. We have strong stories and history. Both “The Albanian Virgin” and “ILLYRICVM” are projects that for the first time directly and substantially address and display the Albanian history and stories so that the whole world can see them. The opportunity for me to play these crucial characters, to portray these indigenous narratives gives me privilege, pride and responsibility for my ethnicity and country.

What’s your message for the utopian world?
Work really hard, all the time. Always keep learning new things. Have an open mind. Be kind towards others.

Yours truly,

Rina Krasniqi -The Albanian Virgin

Rina Krasniqi was born in Pristina, Kosovo in 1996 in the midst of the Yugoslav war. Her parents, both long standing professionals in the cultural industry, influenced her to start performing and acting at a very early age. At four years old, she was on stage singing ‘Daba Daba’, one of the most well-known Kosovar children’s songs. A song that has since become an anthem for her generation and many others. During her childhood she further explored her talents in music, performing, and excelling in her training to become a singer: an alto, and a musician: piano, guitar and percussion.

In 2014, she was awarded a full scholarship to pursue her studies at the Academy of Dramatic Arts in Pristina. Throughout the entirety of her studies, Rina made appearances in several popular TV sitcoms in Kosovo: Çka ka Shpija (2015), O sa mirë (2017), and Egjeli (2018). She never abandoned her passion for the stage, appearing in numerous theatre plays: ‘World War III’ by Florent Mehmeti and ‘Doll Factory’ by Naser Shatrolli.

Rina Krasniqi later graduated top in her Masters for Acting in the stunning performance of Shakespeare’s ‘Lady Macbeth’. She has received the ‘Best MonoStrip Award’ at the International Monodrama Festival in 2017 and ‘Kosovo’s Rising Stars’ at the 2019 Pristina International Film festival (PriFest). She is considered one of the most promising young actors out of Kosovo and Eastern Europe.

In 2019, upon graduating, Rina was casted for the leading role (where she has been brilliantly portraying the role of a sworn virgin in the rural Mountains of Albania) in the ‘The Albanian Virgin’ (2021), a German-Belgian-Albanian coproduction.

In 2022 she will star as a mute shamanistic healer in an Italian-Bosnian-Croatian coproduction ‘Illyricum’.

Enri Mato is an urban architect and photographer born in 1986 into a family of artists. His father was a sculptor and his mother was a restorer, who worked at the Louvre Museum in Paris. He grew up in Tirana, where he discovered his interest in photography and art at an early age.

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