"Dreaming American"- Praq Rado

It has been a long and unexpected journey for me. I was born and raised in a small village in Theth, Albania. In my small town, I was told I would never be anything more than a farmer. My family was ostracized because they stood against the totalitarian regime, but by the mid-1990’s the communist government collapsed and with my parent's blessing, I came to the United States. Like most immigrants, survival was my principal concern. That being said, I always had that desire to learn and get an American education. I was working full-time to send my earnings home to my family in Albania.  I registered for night classes and studied after work to learn the language, and in one year I earned my GED from Westchester Community College.

Later on, I enrolled at Westchester Community College for Radiology. My immigration status made it hard for me to pursue an education. While I was studying at WCC one of my professors encouraged me to audition for a school production, and it was at that moment when I discovered my passion for acting. After leaving WCC, I enrolled in acting classes at HB Studio in New York City, secured my first roll in the production of Village of Paradise Growth, and produced my first three films: Dreaming American, The Waiter, and The Park. I met many professional actors and directors at HB Studio.

As I was traveling across the country to raise awareness about undocumented students and human rights, my film was touring film festivals. I was deeply humbled by the multitude of immigrants who attended the film screenings who traveled all over the world to see my film. On my final transit to the Hamptons International Film Festival, I was arrested and set for deportation. The director of the film, Lee Percy worked tirelessly to help me and ultimately was able to have me exonerated in 8 days. The hardest part of this was to see the other immigrants who were not so lucky; I continue to focus my efforts and attention on bringing attention to inequality and immigration equality through my films.

I am grateful to have been able to attend Baruch and BMCC, and to have met so many inspiring and intelligent people. While the journey had moments of sharp contrast between me and the administration; we were able to collaborate to create lasting change for future students to benefit from. To be an immigrant and to have been involved in changing the policy of an institution is a moment that will forever inspire me and humble me. I am so grateful to Lee Percy the writer/director of the short film, Dreaming American which ultimately helped me to remain in this country.

 How can people contact you?
Personal Website- praqrado.com  
Film Website- dreamingamerican.com