Skanderbeg (Albania)

Kidnapped by the Ottoman Turks at a young age, Albanian freedom fighter Gjergj Kastrioti-Skanderbeg was raised under Islam and trained as a general within the ranks of the Turkish military. He was appointed as the governor of the Sanjak of Dibra by the Ottoman Turks in 1440. Turning against his country's invaders, Skanderbeg returned to his Christian roots in 1443. As commander of Albania's warlords, he sparked a national revolt in 1444 and held off numerous efforts by the Ottomans to take back Albania and bring that country once again under Muslim rule. Following Kastrioti-Skanderbeg's death in 1468 his Albanian forces could no longer repulse the Turks; twelve years later Albania fell once more to Turkish forces and remained part of the Ottoman Empire for many centuries, until its eventual liberation in 1912.

I've pieced together some segments here from the TV Special "Roots" which I directed in 1996 which included the Skanderbeg segment. The entire production was filmed on location in Albania with Albanian actors. Timo Flloko gave some outstanding performances as Skanderbeg. I only wish we'd had better help with costumes and make up... ughh, that beard!


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