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Albanian Dream - Braden Phillips

The Albanian Dream

Filmmaker: Braden Phillips
Status: In Production

This film is about the pursuit of the Albanian Dream and one of its most ardent dreamers, Konstantin Kristoforidhi, patriot and scholar, author of the first Albanian-Greek dictionary, father of the modern Albanian literary language and our great-great-grandfather. He dreamed of an independent Albania, a nation free of Ottoman rule that could join the rest of Europe. Independence finally came in 1912, but Albania plunged into extreme isolation during the 20th century, overwhelmed by 47 years of brutal communist dictatorship. Now the dream has reemerged as Albania strives for a place in the European Union.

For Albanians, the desire to join the EU is complicated by needs that go beyond economic necessity. A predominantly Muslim nation, Albania identifies strongly with the West, yet craves its own national identity. At the heart of the Albanian Dream, therefore, is a tension between a strong desire to take its place on the global stage and a centuries-long yearning to assert its independence.

We will explore these issues of identity through the personal stories of prominent individuals — a leading entrepreneur, a psychotherapist, a musician, a politician, a writer — as well as the average citizen.

Meanwhile, a group of Albanian-Americans is trying to get the Albanian government to issue a commemorative coin in honor of Kristoforidhi on the occasion of the centennial. Are Albanians ready to celebrate the dreamer if his dream remains unfulfilled?