Sevdije Kastrati

Director of Photography

Sevdije is the first female cinematographer from her home country, Kosovo. Growing up in a patriarchal society, the only role models were women doctors, teachers. Sevdije dreamed of becoming a gynecologist, and enrolled in medical high school.

But the war broke out in Kosovo in 1999. Sevdije was 15 years old and experienced the loss of her mother, Ajshe, and her sister, Luljeta. Shortly after that tragedy, she was introduced to filmmaking and found the camera to be a vital tool for telling important stories. Since then, Sevdije has chosen to work on numerous projects in which human rights are integral. Giving a voice to those who might otherwise not have one is the leading force of her choice of work.

Sevdije’s work includes narrative feature films, documentaries, shorts and TV series . Her films have been screened at the Sundance Film Festival, AFI Fest, Tribeca Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, San Sebastian Film Festival, Sarajevo Film Festival, ZagrebDox and others.

In 2009, she moved to Los Angeles to complete her studies in cinematography at the American Film Institute. Graduating from AFI in 2011, Sevdije’s work started gaining American recognition immediately. The short film The Return won Best International Short at Sundance Film Festival in 2012. Her thesis film at AFI, Unmanned, has won numerous awards and has screened at many festivals.

The feature film “The Marriage” premiered at Tallin Black Nights, won two awards and was Kosovo’s proposal for Oscars 2018. The feature film Cold November premiered at San Sebastian Film Festival in 2018. The feature film Zana premiered at Toronto International Film Festival 2019 and was Kosovo’ s entry for Oscars 2020. Open Door is Albania’s official entry for Oscars 2021. Vera Dreams of the Sea premiered at Venice International Film Festival 2021.

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