Mason Richards has his Master of Fine Arts in Film Directing from California Institute of the Arts (CAL ARTS). While studying at Cal Arts, Mason had the opportunity not only to develop a cinematic style, but also to write and direct several narrative short films including my thesis, THE SEAWALL, which had its world premiere at the 2011 Festival de Cannes in the Short Film Corner. To make THE SEAWALL, Mason returned to his home country, Guyana, South America to tell a story from a personal perspective and work with non-actors in the community. The film was well received by the international audience.
According to Mason “being a Director takes talent, hard work, patience and intuition; and 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.”
Mason’s passion for film began as a teen growing up in Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn. He saw the arts an escape from his sometimes violent and tremulous neighborhood. At 15, Mason was the youngest member of The CityKids Repertory, a professional theater company focused on arts-education. At CityKids, he workshopped, staged and performed theatrical pieces around diversity, education, race, gender, sexuality and other issues affecting young people. He was able to harness his creative voice through performance, theatrical workshops, and writing. In CityKids, Mason also had the opportunity to work with some accomplished actors and directors including Dule Hill, Donald Faison, Lisa Nicole Carson, Malik Yoba, Isaiah Washington, and directors like Dianne Houston, Laurie Carlos and Jamal Joseph who were all part of the company.
Mason’s passion for theater and the arts continued while attending Vanderbilt University where her earned his undergraduate degrees in English (BA) and Human & Organizational Development (BS). During his freshman year at Vanderbilt, Mason directed his 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. In directing this play, Mason discovered the challenge of working with actors, navigating thru complex text and pulling it all together.
On working in Hollywood Mason states that “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.”
He wishes to continue on this journey of creative storytelling in the world of film as a Writer/Director.
Interview of Mason