“ON YOUR RADAR” IS A WEEKLY GRAD FILM NEWS SEGMENT THAT FEATURES A STUDENT PICKED AT RANDOM.
RASHAD FRETT IS CURRENTLY A 3RD YEAR STUDENT AT GRAD FILM. WE ASKED HIM A FEW QUESTIONS AND HERE’S WHAT HE HAD TO SAY:
Where do you consider home and what is it like there?
If it is true what they say, that “Home is where the heart is”, then I suppose that my home is not designated to one location but two; the Virgin Islands and what was once considered the “Insurance Capital of the world”, Hartford, Connecticut. In St. Thomas, the beautiful beaches captivate many tourists, the cultural soul of the people are genuine, and the food is beyond amazing! Having the third largest Caribbean population in the United States, Hartford is rich with culture and is located directly between two major cities: Boston and New York City. Besides being the Caribbean metropolis of New England, Hartford is also home of the renowned writer, Mark Twain.
Although Hartford could easily be the front postcard depiction of a thriving small American city, on the flip side, the writing on the back reveals a different narrative. A narrative of oppression, social injustice, and violence that’s a part of its history in which many local community leaders work diligently to change. Some may become lost during introspection, but for me, it was there that I found the faith and the fortitude to move mountains while breaking glass ceilings by working hard, remaining humble in my endeavors, and being blessed with a supportive community that believed in my journey.
What inspired you to decide to study film?
The mustard seeds of the arts were planted at an early age, an age where one’s imagination is boundless and very interesting to say the least! When I was a kid, I would create stories by making terribly sketched illustrations on scrap paper titled, “The Adventures of Timmy the Goat and Friends.” It never occurred to me why a goat as the main character, but what surprises me even more is that I still remember. As I got a little older, my pursuits leaned more towards acting.
However, after I discovered that I was camera shy, my dreams of landing a role on a credible toothpaste commercial in the 90s began to diminish. Eventually I asked myself, “What’s the next best thing?” As I matured into a young man, I experienced many life challenges as well as triumphs, starting with when my Army unit deployed into NYC for emergency evacuation and rescue support during 9/11. This is the moment that initiated the evolution of Rashad.
The milestones of life continued after the military when I decided to further my education and matriculated into Central Connecticut State University; where I first learned the true power of media and its influence on our society. Its impact inspired me to study film and to utilize my work to promote positive change in our communities. I want to be a voice for the underrepresented population of kids that grew up without a nuclear family model. Moreover, I want to shed light on homeless veterans that have served this country and who are now, sadly, invisible. I want to project their value and how society should honor their very existence.
What has been your most rewarding experience at NYU Tisch Grad Film so far?
As I continue to evolve as an NYU grad film student, I have received an overflowing amount of love, support, and guidance from the faculty, staff, and my peers that is immeasurable and has been absolutely mind blowing! Having the opportunity to meet, bond, collaborate with likeminded individuals from all over the world; and being taught by legendary industry professionals makes me feel extremely grateful and humbled to be part of this community.