Screenwriter and Podcaster Neza Nisa

5000 €

Dervish Luzha

"Dervish Luzha" is an in-development feature film screenplay exploring the life of a mystic from northern Albania. Both revered and feared for his superhuman abilities, Rexhep Tarçuku remains a mysterious figure to this day— someone with the capacity to heal, bless, and hex. This project is a based-on-a-true-story biopic about Tarçuku’s stranger-than-fiction life before his passing in 1985. During Tarçuku’s life, Albania became the world’s first-ever declared atheist state. With mysticism virtually outlawed, Tarçuku’s very existence was a subversive act. Like most people from this region of Albania- Tropojë- Nisa grew up seeing Tarçuku’s image in her home and hearing his name sworn to as one might “swear to God.” As she grew older, she became increasingly interested in the actual person behind the larger-than-life aura. Who was Dervish Luzha (as he is commonly referred to)? How did he obtain his supernatural powers? Had her own family members encountered him (turns out- yes- they had)? As she embarks on realizing Tarçuku’s life story, Nisa is focused on collecting as much oral history as possible from those who knew him. Having lived his life as a vagabond, Tarçuku made a profound impression on the people of Tropojë: passing through home to home delivering omens, prophecies and cryptic messages. Nisa is chronicling as many of these accounts as possible in hopes of piecing together a cinematic portrait of Dervish Luzha and the complex sociopolitical backdrop of his life. Balkan stories are often totally overlooked and forgotten on the world’s stage. Furthermore, we are living in an age which values science and technological advancement above all else. We are leaving behind our ancestors’ sacred wisdom and mystical rites. By shedding light on the mysterious life of Rexhep Tarçuku, Nisa hopes to pay homage to the magic and hardships of her Albanian ancestors.