Aleksandar Seksan, Bosnia

"I remember 1994, probably the worst year during the war in Bosnia. Lack of food, electricity, water, everything. Each attempt to enter in Sarajevo under siege was almost a suicide mission. That was also the year when I joined the Academy of Performing arts in Sarajevo. Studying was complicated. Cold classrooms, mostly without electricity, and you had to do your exercises on time, no excuses. It was a hard beginning of my life in art.

 

And then she came.

 

Suddenly, one day my professor told us that we will have workshops in theatre clown. What?! My experiences with clowns were bound only to circus clowns. And then started one of my most beautiful and fun experiences I ever had.

 

Then I met her, my teacher, my friend and one of the dearest persons in my life, Lee Delong.

 

She stayed with us almost a month, in harsh conditions, teaching us how to became theatre clowns, and finally, actors. Because every single thing I learned during her clown lessons helped me in my later acting work, because clown is THE ESSENCE of actor. Those lessons ended with a beautiful presentation in front of whole Academy, so touching, funny, so useful for us, especially for us young students.

 

She helped me to find the clown inside me, a funny person with so much passion for the world around him, an opera singer with no talent for that of course hahaha. A year later, in 1995, Lee came again, this time she spent whole semester teaching us movement classes. I was always frustrated with that subject, I was so shy and closed. She helped our class to make probably the best exam in movement ever. That experience was priceless. Lee had the talent to sort out all our dilemmas in one sentence. And I was so grateful, and still I am so grateful for everything she taught me. And finally, as a strawberry on cake, came the clown performance Macblettes, the crown of our clown work. The performance was received with standing ovations, which I rarely experienced later.

 

In 1996, Lee took us to the USA, where we took part in a cultural program, part of Olympic games in Atlanta. We performed four times in front of the crowded hall. And the  reaction was the same as in Sarajevo. Standing ovations.

 

I will never forget that journey into fantasy with my colleagues and my dear clown witch Lee haha. I am still waiting for Romeo and Juliet and Lee as a director. My clown still patiently waits in the shadows to jump out. I hope this will happen. Sooner or later.

 

Until then, THANK YOU Lee for everything you taught me, with your furious talent and patience. Love you….”

 

Aleksandar Seksan, Bosnian actor. A star of the National Theatre, he has appeared in more than thirty films since 1997. Most notably, he starred in the 2003 multiple award-winning Bosnian film, Remake, and in the 2016 Bosnian film, Death in Sarajevo.

Jasmila Zbanic, Bosnia

 

"Lee Delong is one of the greatest actors that I have met, and a woman that I consider to be the greatest teacher I ever had. I met her during the siege of Sarajevo.

 

She was so brave and crazy to believe that art saves human lives, not food. Instead of sending humanitarian aid, she showed up in the middle of the war in Sarajevo at our Academy to teach acting. It was most beautiful thing that happened to us. We all have learned so much from Lee.

 

Her dedication to the art of acting, the truth of performing, her talent for theatre and film are qualities that I appreciate deeply. Lee is an amazing actress, singer, dancer, choreographer and director. Her roles are unforgettable.

 

She touches you with her vulnerability and her power at the same time. We have cooperated many times and my dream is to work together again and again and again."