As part of the project YOU ARE WELCOME – Educational Videos – Template WELCOME, CID has produced 2 videos: one targeting EU citizens and promoting tolerance, respect of common values and promoting a more accurate perception of third-country nationals; whereas the other where Ivana Stefanovska acted targets the refugee audiences in an effort to assist them in understanding cultural differences, navigating Western society norms and explaining ways of successful integration into European societies. Both videos will also contribute to citizens understanding of the European Union, its history and diversity and will prompt to reflection upon the ideas of European citizenship, civic participation and democratic ownership at both local and Union level.

Ivana, the actress, and Matej, the filmmaker, are sharing with us their thoughts on the filming process from the backstage:

Please tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m an 18-year-old high-school student, born and raised in Kumanovo in a wonderful hippie family of musicians.

What made you apply for acting in this video?

I applied for acting in this video because first of all I adored the idea, I would’ve been happy even to be a behind the camera participant. But I had the privilege to act in it and actually be the main role. I loved acting ever since I can remember, musical theatre especially, it’s what makes me happy the most and opportunities like this mean so much to me, I would do them for a living.

In your opinion, how could this video improve the integration of refugees and migrants in our community?

Well on this video we don’t put the accent on the word “refugee” because with the video we want to show that no matter where you are from, no matter if your eyes are different or the color of your skin, or your language, your style or religion, no matter who you are, we will accept you. If a refugee ever has the chance to see this video I think it might just make them feel a little calmer, safer and most of all, welcomed.

You already have acting experience. What was the most challenging thing about filming this video spot?

I think the most challenging thing was interacting with the random people that were doing their everyday activities such as going to the green market and they suddenly had to make space for the camera guy and me and they were asking a lot of questions, minding our business, it was hilarious but it turned out great as always.

Anything you would like to add?

I would like to say how grateful I am to Mila and Matej (our camera and editor guy) for the wonderful experience, it was a pleasure working with such friendly characters.

Please tell us a bit about yourself.

I am Matej Kostovski from Kumanovo, currently a student at the University for Audiovisual Arts in Skopje. My major is 3D Animation.

What made you apply for producing this video?

I applied for this opening because it is in my field of work and interest. I like producing films and I wanted to try myself in a more creative process. As I am now specializing in 3D animation, which is a digital process, I really enjoyed dedicating my attention to a creative process that involved filming, directing and editing. It is a different experience, you have the freedom to jump between scenes, to give ideas to adapt the original script and to work with the actors.

How did you perceive the dynamic in the team and working with the selected actors?

It was a good challenge to work with a team of non-professional actors. One the one hand I had to constantly remind them not to look at the camera and to feel the role, on the other hand they gave a more real feeling to the film; I think that more films should be shot in this manner so that they translate a genuine feeling. All in all, it was a fun process.

In your opinion, how could this video improve the integration of refugees and migrants in our community?

The video spot is informative, so from 6 minutes they can actually get a good grasp of our culture, which all in all should be useful for foreigners.

What impact can this video have on the local artists community in Kumanovo?

Kumanovo is mostly based around the art of theater, there are not many opportunities for filmmakers to work in their own hometown. This project created a good opportunity for promotion of the town of Kumanovo and of the local artists and could inspire other people to follow the lead. For me personally, working on this project has given me the financial opportunity to fund my own projects in the future.