The Albanian comedy that is winning big

The much talked about film “Growing up Fat and Albanian” won Best Featurette and Best Original Song awards at the Manhattan Film Festival. It has been part of several prestigious international film festivals including: Maryland International Film Festival, Bucharest Short Cinefest, Female Filmmaker Film Festival, NYC Indie Awards ( Feb ’17) WINNER: Best SHORT in the Gold Category, BEST ACTRESS: Elza Zagreda, Best Supporting Actress: Isabella Knight, Accolade Global Competition: Winner Award of Recognition, Best is Shorts Competition: Award of Recognition, Short and To The Point Film Competition. 

I’m so happy with our awards & most importantly putting Albanians on the map!”said director Elza Zagreda. The song is called ‘Find My Way’ and it’s a blend of Albanian traditionalism – aka our wedding song with hip hop… that’s exactly what I wanted and they captured it beautifully. …It was written & composed by ALDO Shllaku, Albanian LA composer, Martin Malota (singer), Christine Dominguez. Alfred Popaj also lent his hand on keyboards. We did it in 3 CITIES: from NY, Detroit & LA– Video coming soon!!! said director Elza Zagreda.

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“Growing up Fat and Albanian” at Tribeca Screening Room

“Growing up Fat and Albanian” is a hilarious comedy written by Elza Zagreda, directed by Dhimitër Ismailaj-Valona and Elza Zagreda. The cast features Elza Zagreda, Isabella Knight, Shpend Xani, Freia M. Titland, Alexandra Moruzzi, etc. Actor Shpend Xani says for Prishtina Press that he delved into his New York experiences to prepare for his role.

The foundation of my character can be attributed to the Balkan immigrant families largely in the states. I thought of every wedding and event that I attended, as well as every generation in the community. I also live in the Queens which has the most diverse community in NYC. So it was exciting to work on the character of Rocky because the inspiration was all around me. The film was very well written and directed and I was lucky to have worked with a wonderful and talented group of people, said Shpend Xani for Prishtina Press.

Shpend Xani is a classically trained actor and all of his training is apparent in this character where he manages to creatively and effortlessly shift from the character of a young father, a rather comedic character to a deep and caring father figure later in life, in the film Growing UP Fat and Albanian.

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Ella & her dad on set (lead actors, Shpend Xani and Elza Zagreda)

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