Migrant turned actor in Germany returns as festival host

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times December 23, 2016 11:41
Kasem Hoxha

Kasem Hoxha

TIRANA, Dec. 21 - In 1990 when Albania's communist regime was collapsing, then-22-year old Kasem Hoxha was one of the hundreds of Albanians who entered the facilities of the German embassy to escape the country's authorities.

More than two decades on, he has turned back home as a Germany-based 48-year-old actor who has been picked to host the Albanian year-end festival that serves as the national selection for the Eurovision song contest.

"When I started saying goodbye to my family members, my sister fell unconscious. It was a very difficult moment. We knew nothing about what would happen to us. It seemed like an adventure that carried not only the personal risk but also threatened my whole family. I left my home and walked the whole way to the embassy turning my head back with the thought that I would never see those neighborhoods and houses... it was a true disaster," recalls Hoxha from the 1990 exodus, leading to the collapse of the country's communist regime.

With his wish of a better life, Kasem also brought with him, his childhood dream of becoming an actor.

"There were a lot of children in our family living in straight financial conditions. This made me look for a job instead of attending university in Tirana. Although I worked, I preserved my passion for theatre and cinema. I experienced the roles differently from my friends and often used phantasy after every movie we discussed with friends. I was aware I would never fulfil my dream. My parents were from the working class and couldn't fulfil this wish to me," he has earlier told the Deutsche Welle in the local Albanian service.

Kasem worked as a dental technician before studying acting from 1998 to 2002.

“I feel fulfilled with the acting job, because I not only fulfilled my 30-year-old dream, but also because it gives me satisfaction from a human point of view. Acting gives me the opportunity to turn into every kind of dramatic, comic and tragic character,” he says.

The policeman role in the 2014 “Sarajevo 1914: The Eve of the Great War” is one of Kasem's favorite among his more than 40 role in feature and short films. He also recently had a role in the Chromium movie which Albania submitted as its selection for foreign language Oscar.

Asked about his beginnings in Germany, Kasem recalls that it was very hard integrating. "It was really tough and every Albanian who has started a new life in a foreign country can understand this. Starting with the elementary things such as language, how was I going to make it, what I faced etc.,” Kasem says while in Tirana to host the festival.

“First I was studying drama and theatre. When I was a student, a starring actor in a theatrical performance got sick and one of the professors suggested me to replace him. The problem was that I had only two weeks' time and I made it. But it was not only school that fulfilled me, during this time I also played in short films and I moved to different cities, this means I fought and worked hard to achieve this," he has said.

Blerim Destani and Nik Xhelilaj are two other actors of Albanian origin based in Germany.

 

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times December 23, 2016 11:41