Arta Dobroshi is one of Kosovo’s most talented young actresses, who has gained the opportunity to pursue a career abroad. Last year her efforts were rewarded, as she achieved international success and won critical acclaim for her role in “Lorna’s Silence,” which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2008.
“I am a citizen of the world, and have always felt that way. When you are a citizen of the world, then you can lay a claim to the entire world,” the actress says.
Dobroshi graduated from Pristina’s Film Academy in 2002, and began acting in short films and at the national theatre while still a student. However, she soon realised that opportunities for building an acting career were limited in Kosovo. Film productions average one in two years, while cast salaries are extremely low. Thus, the young actress decided to try her luck abroad. “No one can take my desire to act away from me... I’m aware of where I was born and grew up – a place where the times are quite difficult.
But my family has taught me I must do as my soul commands. I do so still. And one thing I always keep in mind: do yourself and your feelings justice,” Dobroshi says.
The young actress began by contacting and collaborating with colleagues in Albania, then in Western Europe and the rest of the world. Her international career was helped not only by her talent but also by her knowledge of languages. Aside from her mother tongue Albanian, Dobroshi speaks English, French, and Serbo-Croat.
In Albania, her first notable performance was in Kujtim Chesku’s “Magic Eye” (Syri magjik). The role of Viola, a girl from Tirana, brought her a special award for Best Actress at the Cinedays European Film Festival in Skopje.
That same year she took a role in Saeed Rana’s “Na Hoon Gey Juda”, produced by Pakistan’s Pegham Pictures, and in 2006 she played in the Albanian/Czech/Kosovo co-production “The Sadness of Mrs. Snajdrova”(Smutek paní Snajdrové), by Albanian film directors Piro and Eno Millkani.
Next to several roles in Kosovo shorts and Jeton Budim’s TV film “Wheels” , Dobroshi continued acting at the Pristina theater, and in 2007 joined the cast of Sarajevo’s “Aristotle in Baghdad,” a play by Almir and Aidsa Bukvić.
Then, finally, her work was noticed by Belgian film-makers Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne, whose works “Rosetta” (1999) and “L’Enfant” (2005) had already won them two Palmes D’Or in Cannes. The brothers cast Dobroshi in their new thriller “Lorna’s Silence” (2008), giving her the title role of an Albanian woman who decides to marry a drug addict as a means to fulfil her dream of opening a snack bar in Belgium.
The role proved to be her big break in international film. Dobroshi was the first Kosovo actress to walk down the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival, where the film won the Dardenne brothers another Palme D’Or for best script. Dobroshi herself was nominated as Best Actress by the European Film Awards. In Kosovo she was presented with the Gjeqovis Gatherings award for cultural achievement.
Arta Dobroshi currently lives and works in Belgium, where she is preparing for new international roles. “I’ve always listened to my heart. When I was admitted to the Academy, I knew that acting was all I wanted to do. Of course, I have other wishes in life, but acting is something I was born to do,” Dobroshi says.
* Under UNSCR 1244/1999