Praq Rado has just completed filming Dreaming American. He plays the leading role in the film directed by Lee Percy, produced by Barbet Schroeder and co-starring Giancarlo Esposito.
It was a long, unexpected journey for Rado, who was born and raised in Albania. Growing up in the world’s most isolated society he was told he would never be anything more than a farmer. His family was ostracized because they stood against the totalitarian regime. But by the mid 1990’s the communist government collapsed and with his parents blessing Praq came to the United States.
Survival was the first order of business in his new country so he registered for night classes and studied after work to learn the language. In one year he earned his GED, while working full-time, to send his earnings home to his family in Albania. Rado enrolled at Westchester Community College and while he was studying there one of his professors encouraged him to audition for a school production. It was then he discovered his love of the theater. After Westchester he continued his acting studies at HB Studio in New York City and launched his professional career with the leading role in Village of Paradise Growth, a production overseen by Michel Gondry.
Rado has had the opportunity to meet many professional actors and directors. It was these generous and talented people who encouraged him to consider acting as a career. He is grateful to all of them for giving him the chance to achieve a dream beyond anything he could imagine as a boy in Albania. Rado has been heralded as a fearless actor, and because of his background he doesn’t shy from hard work and difficult challenges. He only hopes that his dream will grow.
“I thought about the hard time I was going through, and the challenges I had to face at a young age. I thought that Dreaming American could be something that people would relate to. The idea of making a film about my life came up with my two good friends Ari Myrtaj and Rafael Fuentes unfortunately we could not make a movie since we didn’t have any help but I held on to the idea.
Just being far away from your loved ones is a big challenge especially around holiday season. Every Christmas and New Year’s you wish you could spend time with your family and loved ones, and that’s very sad to start with. Other challenges could be education; you can’t graduate without having your papers. And, yes, they do charge you triple to attend college, which I find very unfair. There are so many smart students who could do a lot with their lives if they had a chance. As we show in the movie it’s very difficult to not have a driver’s license or any kind of identification. Without an ID and driver’s license you can’t travel outside or even inside the country, and a lot of times you feel as if you are in jail. I used to get home sick every day and I just wanted to take that plane and leave forever, but if I left I would have never been able to come back. This was killing me because I’m very much a family person and I loved my mom and dad more than anything else in this world. Each time I wanted to leave everything behind and go back to them, they would say to me, ‘No you can’t come back. You went there for a better life, and we want you to live that life that we couldn’t give to you.
Every time that I would see families walking down the streets or having dinner together, I would say, “I wish I had that chance to be free with my family, take them to places, hug them, and tell them how I feel about them in person, not over the phone.” I never got to see them. I wasn’t that lucky.”