Praq Rado, the leading actor in East Hampton Film Festival Selected Short, “Dreaming American”, produced by Barbet Schroeder and directed by Lee Percy, is right this minute languishing in a Federal facility in Buffalo awaiting deportation to Albania. A federal agent took him off a train Thursday, as he traveled to his screening in East Hampton.
His detention will prevent his appearance at the festival’s press interview to discuss immigration struggles on October, 7th, 12:00pm-2:00pm at The Maidstone Hotel, 207 Man Street, East Hampton, NY 11937. Writer/director Lee Percy will be on hand to discuss the situation in his stead.
“Dreaming American” is the story of Mr. Rado’s immigrant journey: how he escaped from Albania, without papers, without even dry clothes, since the backpack he was carrying with his few possessions was tossed into the sea with him when he was thrown overboard off the Italian coast to make his way to shore. Family opposition to the prevailing regime had sharply curtailed his access to education or any sort of meaningful future. Even his personal safety was in jeopardy; his father death is still shrouded in mystery and political intrigue.
His dream of living without fear of sectarian or political violence led him eventually to the United States. Since his arrival 11 years ago, the boy who left Albania as Preke Radoina transformed himself with dogged determination into Praq Rado, a successful model and, now, lead actor.
If he is sent back to Albania, not only will he be separated from his loved ones forever but his now public persona may further endanger his life. Albania may have officially proclaimed support for freedom of ideas, but the everyday possibility of persecution and death remains very common and very real.
At this moment, his friends and attorneys are mounting a last-ditch effort to stay his deportation until his petition to re-open his case can be heard. Years of employment, a long-term relationship and a promising career in the arts might all be ruined. Praq Rado’s dreaming American may all be for nothing.