Mikel Dusi, star of ‘Mikey Boy’ a comedic mockumentary, premiered last Friday in Times Square. Film has united the Albanian community — including the nation’s president!
Mikel Dusi, whose semi-autobiographical film “Mikey Boy” premiered in New York on 1st November, shows off the skills that made him one of the city’s legendary Albanian-American pizzeria workers.
A pizza boy from Ozone Park in Bronx, New York, is hoping to be the next big Albanian-American star and lift the country’s profile in the process.
Expats of Albania — who emigrated from the Cold War redoubt following the 1985 death of communist dictator Enver Hoxha and subsequent civil unrest — rallied behind Queens-bred producer Mikel Dusi, 32, who stars in his first feature film “Mikey Boy”.
“We’re all excited,” said Marko Kepi, president of the group Albanian Roots, which has been tapping its 5,000 members to make sure the premiere is a sell-out.
Films that have portrayed Albanians as kidnappers and criminals such as the “Taken” franchise have put a black eye the Albanian image, Kepi said.
“We’re finally looking forward to something positive,” Kepi said of Dusi’s film.
The comedic mockumentary follows Mikey, a pizza shop worker in Queens, as he tries to shop a full-length film across three-continents and wiggle his way out of an arranged marriage in Albania.
The forced union is fictional, but the rest of the plot was borrowed from Dusi’s personal life.
“I grew up performing behind the counter at the pizzeria,” said Dusi, who now lives in Los Angeles.
He cast many of his friends from Ozone Park as well as his parents, Joe, 63, and Marta, 53.
“Since he was a 4-years-old, he always stood out,” said the proud papa.
Albanians are no stranger to making their dough from pizza. Pizza empire Famous Famigilia Pizzeria is owned by the Kolaj brothers, who immigrated from the European country. A majority of the shops in the Bronx’ “Little Italy” on Arthur Ave. are Albanian-owned, said Kepi, the Albanian Roots president.
“They go from being bus boys to waiters to owners of the same restaurants that they were working in,” said Kepi.
Dusi, a “proud” Albanian, went on a tour this week of the U.N. Embassy and met with several dignitaries, meeting with Albania’s President Bujar Faik Nishani at one point.
The outpouring of support from his fellow countrymen doesn’t surprise Dusi — it’s the nature of the Albanian culture.
“We are a small community. We’ve had communism, war and genocide,” he said. “If we didn’t stick together, we’d be extinct.”