When I moved to Albania a year ago, in the middle of the pandemic, I thought I was leaving film and television behind. After a decade of struggle and semi-success working in entertainment travel and production, with no work in sight and the cost of living in LA untenable, I took a leap of faith and followed a lifelong dream of living in Europe.
When you say you are moving to Europe, most people do not think of Albania. Most Americans probably cannot find it on a map. Those who can probably imaging news coverage of the Balkan wars in the 90s, or the villains in “Taken.” Eastern Europeans, particularly from Balkan countries, have unfortunately replaced Russians and Sicilians as the go-to bad guys in many Hollywood films. In the attempt to be less cliché, these scripts have created new, less accurate ones about countries for which Western audiences have little context.
What I discovered when I arrived was a vibrant culture, undeterred by three generations of forced isolation and atheism, bookended by the traumas of war. Traditions, some pre-dating the ancient Greeks, die hard here. As in most developing nations, there is an odd mix of the modern and the ancient, and the same holds true in Albania. It is as if overlapping time periods co-exist in the same space. As I scan my thumbprint to gain access to my office building, an 80s-era second-hand city bus passes a horse-drawn wagon from a nearby village. The latest American cell phones and Italian fashions are imported and emulated, while hand-made slippers and live chickens are sold by street vendors.
But perhaps what struck me most was the proximity of beautiful diversity: Mosques and churches standing as neighbors; snow-capped mountains overlooking thermal baths; rocky cliffs hovering over secluded beaches with unbelievably blue waters; medieval castle ruins centered above busy city markets and bazaars. Pine trees, olive groves and vineyards fill the landscapes. As a former travel manger for “The Amazing Race,” I asked myself how, after 20 years, they’d never filmed here. This place is full of the kind of eye-popping visuals, physical challenges, unique foods, and cultural quirks that begs for reality TV.
The answer must be the lack of solid intel and experienced fixers. EPS is our attempt to address those issues. In a country with so much to offer in terms of diversity, beauty, and affordability, we will help guide you through the process, organize operations on the ground, and answer any questions you may have about filming in Albania.
Rr. “Kozma Naska”, Nr. 33/6Elbasan 3001, Albania
(+3555) 47-100-20 firstname.lastname@example.org
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