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Statement of Interest

Film Independent’s Project: Involve

Candidate: Mason Richards

It’s always been my dream to be a Film Director. However, growing up

in Brooklyn, New York, I never knew how to actualize that dream. It
always seemed unattainable. However, throughout my life, I’ve never
given up. I’ve worked tremendously hard, educated myself, and
developed the necessary skills to pursue my passion.

One of the most important accomplishments that I’ve made in the past
year is earning my Master of Fine Arts in Film Directing from California
Institute of the Arts. While studying the craft of filmmaking at Cal Arts,
I had the opportunity not only to develop a cinematic style and
language, but also to write and direct several narrative short films
including my thesis, THE SEAWALL, which excitingly will have its world
premiere at the 2011 Festival de Cannes in the Short Film Corner. In
making THE SEAWALL, I returned to my home country, Guyana, South
America to tell a story from a personal perspective and work with non-
actors in the community. I’m mostly proud of this film because it
presents images and a glimpse into the lives of a Guyanese family,
rarely ever seen.

Being a Director takes talent, hard work, patience and intuition.

Throughout my life, I’ve had to overcome many obstacles, both
personally and professionally, which, I believe, informs my work, the
stories I like to tell, and the stories that I’m drawn to.

My interest in the arts started when I was a teen growing up in Bed-

Stuy Brooklyn. As an escape from my sometimes violent and
tremulous neighborhood, I sought refuge in the arts. At 15, I was the
youngest member of The CityKids Repertory, a professional theater
company focused on arts-education. At CityKids, we workshopped,
staged and performed theatrical pieces around diversity, education,
race, gender, sexuality and other issues effecting young people. I was
able develop my creative voice through performance, theatrical
workshops, and writing. In CityKids, I also had the amazing
opportunity to work with some great actors including Dule Hill, Donald
Faison, Lisa Nicole Carson, Malik Yoba, Isaiah Washington, and
directors like Dianne Houston, Laurie Carlos and Jamal Joseph.

I continued my passion for theater and the arts while attending

Vanderbilt University as an undergraduate in Nashville Tennessee.
During my freshman year at Vanderbilt, I directed my first full-length
theater production, “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide

When the Rainbow is Enuf.” The production was the first African-
American theater production in the university’s history and was well-
received by the university and local press. Directing this play, I
discovered the challenge of working with actors, complex text and
pulling it all together. The play had an all-female cast of color and
dealt with the struggles of women across racial lines. As a male
director, I had to rise to the occasion. I threw myself into
understanding and exploring not only the experiences of women and
the actresses, but also the life and world of the characters. I drew on
my acting background and my natural sensitivity, which I believe is
essential for a director, especially in dealing with tough subject
matters in storytelling.

To me, diversity in the film industry is the ability to step outside of

one’s own experience and convey the journey of another. Diversity is
also the ability to interpret and bring one’s own unique experiences
and perspective to tell a collective truth.

I wish to continue on this journey of creative storytelling in the world of

film as a Director. I believe that having a mentor will be integral to my
further development as a Director. With that, I welcome the
opportunity to be apart of Film Independent’s Project: Involve.

Thank you for your consideration.

Mason Richards

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