15 Oct 2017

ILIRIDA MEMEDOVSKI Photo by Coleton James

Between running around to film festivals and finishing her theatre degree, we sat down with ILIRIDA MEMEDOVSKI to chat about her experience filming THE BOOK OF BIRDIE.

Before filming 'THE BOOK OF BIRDIE' what kind of performance experience did you have?
Before Book of Birdie I’ve only acted on stage, my most recent work has been mainly through Carthage. Acting on stage is so different from film! Stage acting requires a lot of physicality and projection whereas on camera acting is so much more intense and personal. I love both but they both have really different qualities.

Birdie is sweet and a bit odd... would you say she's very different to yourself?
I love the playfulness of Birdie, she comes off kind of serious but she’s actually a total goofball. I think I’m similar, I think people don’t understand how weird I am until they get to know me. But, I think our fascination with blood is our main difference!

Can you tell us a bit about what the shoot was like - working with the crew, under a first-time director?I loved this crew. Every single person on this team was kind, caring, and so talented. Liz, the director, was professional and so obviously passionate. Being a first time film actress I felt comfortable and excited to come to work every morning. Shooting a film is like nothing I’ve ever experienced as a theatre student. The hardest part was the cold! The crew did an amazing job of keeping us comfortable but nothing can beat a Wisconsin winter. The most fun was our “dream sequence shoot”, it was so fun getting to dance around and be goofy.

Did you have any inspiration sources for the character?

Audrey Tautou’s 'Amelie' will forever be my inspiration for every character, I think she is my universal inspiration. I really think she applied well to 'Birdie' too, the emotional cut off at an early age, the childish need for affection, etc. On set we also discovered that I highly resembled Saint Philomena, that came as a huge inspiration as well. Her story and her image really drove a lot of Birdie too. Liz may not know this but I also used her mannerisms as inspiration sometimes, I think that she put a lot of her heart and soul into writing Birdie.
ILIRIDA MEMEDOVSKI Photo by Coleton James

THE BOOK OF BIRDIE is an all female film. Was that important to you?
This is so important to me. As progressive as the artistic world is I feel like we still have a long way to go in regards to women’s empowerment/representation. We need more female writers, designers, and directors to be represented in the community. I am honored to have taken part in this film.

'Birdie' falls in love in the film. What was that like for you?

Once again, as progressive as the artistic world is I feel like we still have a long way to go in regards to women’s empowerment/representation, especially in regards to LGBTQA+ women. I myself have always seen sexuality as a fluid thing. I don’t really limit myself with love based on a person’s gender. Kitty was a fantastic love interest and I feel as though our views on sexuality are really similar! Sexuality in film, especially women and sexuality, needs to be talked about and represented!

There's some darker religious subject matter in the film, how did that affect you personally?
I’ve never really been a religious person. During this film I definitely learned a whole lot about Christianity. I have a lot of respect for every religion, and although this film has darker themes I think it’s still respectful.

What's your family background like?
I’m a first generation American/daughter to two incredibly hard working Albanian-immigrant parents.

What is your dream for the future?
My dream is to continue doing what I love. I want to act in film and in theatre as much as possible. I love the art community and I want to be an influence to it. My ultimate super crazy dream however is to be on a long running TV show. I want to be on something like Friends or Gilmore Girls, I want to have that super strong bond with a cast and crew and do something I love!

Meet the lovely and charming Ilirida in person tonight at 

Photos from the series 'Trials and Tribulations' by Coleton James