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The Sundance Film Festival will take place from January 18–28 2024.




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Interview with director Rashad Frett director of the Sundance feature Ricky

Panelist Name

Emmanuel Itier chatted with director Rashad Frett on his film Ricky in Sundance selection

Rashad Frett is an award-winning Caribbean-American filmmaker based in New York City. He pursued the arts seriously after experiencing 9/11 as a combat medic in the U.S. Army. At that time, creating a positive social impact through the power of media became his passion. Frett is a recent MFA graduate of the NYU Tisch Graduate Film program.

Q: How did this film come together?


Rashad: I grew up in a place where I saw lots of my peers struggling with the judicial system. And they were even more struggling when they came out. This film is a combination of several real stories of men I have met over the years. I really tied with this visceral approach to shed light on these men who greatly suffered in their lives. I hope the audience will experience this intense journey with an opened mind and heart.


Q: Tell me about the challenges you faced to put together this movie?


Rashad: We were supposed to shoot this film in 2020 but because of the pandemic we were on hold for a year and a half. Actually, this was a good thing because I was able to develop better the script for the movie. Another challenge was the financing. It’s never easy for an independent movie to get made. We were lucky to receive several grants. Also, the weather didn’t cooperate with us and we even had an hail storm which blew some of our light system. We had to stop production for a while, but we managed to resume shooting and here we are today in Sundance!


Q: What is this film truly about? What are the themes of importance?


Rashad: For me it’s a movie about accountability. It’s also a movie about empathy and understanding. Everybody has an internal battle, and we need more empathy and compassion to be of support to each other. We have to understand Ricky who has not been out and on his own for so long. It’s not simple to adjust oneself to a new existence. The topic of brotherhood was also on my mind when making this film. And of course it’s about family which is the main support for a man like Ricky.


Q: Do you think it’s a sign of the times to show men struggling. It seems like it’s not easy for men to be men?


Rashad: Yes, it’s not easy for men to find their place in a society constantly changing. Men see their role, their place, change all the time. Especially if you’re remove from this society and if you’re then back in this society. Men really need today as much guidance and support they can get. We need more programs and more tools to help men find their place in society.


Q: What does Sundance mean?


Rashad: It means meeting my audience. It’s fantastic. Yesterday for our last screening we had a group of young students who came to talk to me after the screening and the Q&A. It was inspiring to talk to them for over twenty minutes and share their feelings, their views about the movie. It touched me deeply. Sundance is really a magic place where people meet and share a moment. It’s fabulous. This is great to get this support as we are expanding the short into a full feature. It comfort me with my ambition and I hope we will be back with the feature version of Ricky.


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