By: Ermira Babamusta/
New York – Albanian-Canadian director Paul Kurti and writer, producer, actor Amina Zhaman won this year’s top prize at the official competition of Albanian Film Week International Film Festival (AFW), taking away the Best Feature Film Prize Audience Award for “Right to Love” film. Pavlina Mani, who also starred in this film walked off with the biggest prize “Lifetime Achievement Award”. The prizes were presented by the honorable Bekim Sejdiu, Consul from the Consulate General of the Republic of Kosovo in New York at the popular Producers Club Theatres on the final Awards Night, Thursday, November 14, 2013.
“I’d like to congratulate the organizers of the Albanian Film Week, especially Mrika Krasniqi and Ariot Myrtaj, for successfully braining the festival to New York City for yet another year. It is an important event that encourages and showcases the work of Albanian artists from all around the world.
We are thrilled that “Right to Love” received the Audience Award for Best Feature Film. We thank the New York audiences for supporting the film.
I’d like to congratulate all the cast and crew of the film, starting with the lead actors Amina Zhaman and Shpend Xani. Also, thank you to the producer Marina Bolotokova of Oriental Pearl LLC for making the film possible.
I am glad that, among other things, this film gave the opportunity to many Albanian American actors to work together and showcase their talents. Hopefully this is only the stepping stone for this kind of collaboration and that we will see much more successful work from this community in the future,” said award-winning director Paul Kurti.
Right to Love is written and produced by the multi-talented Amina Zhaman, who also starred as lead female. The film is directed by the great Paul Kurti, produced by the visionary Marina Bolotokova of Oriental Pearl LLC with the talented Gunthar Ross as director of photography. The film features a superb talented cast, Shpend Xani, lead actor as Tony, Luan Bexheti as Eduarto, Omar Chaparro as Henry and Pavlina Mani as Maviola. Other incredible actors who also appeared in Right to Love are: Karina Ivanova, Theodore Bouloukos, Ariot Myrtaj, Praq Rado, Dilon Uruci, Roza Kalaj, Maria Angelica, Damien Bosco, Nereida Isufi, Bukurije Navon, with special guest appearances of Russian superstar Le Truk. (http://righttolovemovie.com)
“I would like to thank the audience for awarding us with the audience award for “The best feature film”. I would like to thank and congratulate the film producers Marina and Amina for doing a wonderful job and the talented director Paul Kurti who did an amazing work. I want to congratulate the hardworking and talented cast and crew. Finally I would like to thank the organizers of the Albanian Film Week for hosting such a great event and The Producers Club. Thank you all!,” said the leader actor of Right to Love, Shpend Xani.
“It’s a blessing, an honor, a dream come true to win an Audience Award for Best Feature Film. It is a success of the “Right to Love” team and director Paul Kurti and I am so happy viewers of Albanian Film Week in New York loved our movie so much!,” said award-winning Amina Zhaman, screenwriter, lead actress and producer of Right to Love.
During the Award Ceremony, Amina Zhaman said that this was a team success and thanked Paul Kurti for saying yes to the script and stated that “the success of this film is based on a great script, great cast, great cameraman work, great director and of course best producer Marina Bolotokova”. Amina Zhaman also thanked the sponsors of the film, Kanshobi Azhakhov and Sergey Doev, for believing in her and “gave a chance to show Albanian and Circassian cultures to the world and make it an international story and an internationally acclaimed film”.
Luan Bexheti, Praq Rado and Bukurije Navon walked the Red Capet Gala Premiere as Celebrity Guest of Honor at the Albanian Film Week that took place on Friday, November 8, 2013 at the SVA Theatres. Shpend Xani, Luan Bexheti, Pavlina Mani, Ariot Myrtaj and Nereida Isufi were present at the final Awards Ceremony night that took place at Producers Club Theatres on November 14, 2013 and accepted the award along with Amina Zhaman for Right to Love movie, as winner of Audience Award for Best Feature Film at Albanian Film Week. The cast received a second honor for the legendary Pavlina Mani, awarded with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Amina Zhaman also thanked Alfred Tollja, owner of Producers Club Theatres who introduced her to most of cast of Right to Love and showed great support and help during the movie production. Alfred Tollja said that he was very impressed with Amina and was happy to help and recommend talented Albanian actors for this film. Alfred wished Amina and the cast further success. Andrew Thomas, a great supporter of the film and friend of producer Amina Zhaman was also present and acknowledged by Amina at the final night of AFW for his continued support. Amina Zhaman also thanked Halil Mula, Qazim Doda for their immense support and Ermira Babamusta for “being a good will ambassador” for Albanian culture and bringing international awareness to the film from Canada, US, Kosovo, Macedonia, Prague, etc.