Arlind Islami, 24, Pristina


You won a grant with the Impact Your Doc funding scheme of the Youth Artivists for Change Project. Could you tell us about your film?


My short film is called “Free at Last,” and as the title suggests, it’s about spreading your wings and being free: reaching that place where you don’t care what other people are saying about you. True freedom – from the pressure to change or alter your personality to fit anyone else’s criteria.

Concretely it’s a story about a bisexual man faced with his own self-acceptance, and the fear of rejection from his loved ones. If not with his girlfriend and loved ones, where else is he to fully express himself? This feeling of drama and unease is often an everyday reality for the LGBTIQ+ community: a life in which you have to hide your true self in front of your loved ones, which I think is the most frustrating feeling of all, suppressing a large part of your thoughts and self-expression.


I just wanted to make the storytelling avant-garde, using colour to show the uniqueness of people in the community. Like the colours of a butterfly’s wings – they’re so colourful! No two are the same. Everybody has his or her own character. I wanted everyone to see it from another perspective, not how everyday people see it. I want my art to be a vessel for self-expression and the celebration of self-acceptance.

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