connecticut in color

‘Somebody From Hartford Rose Above': Filmmaker Remembers His Roots

NBC Universal, Inc.

A Hartford native is making his dreams come true on the big screen as a filmmaker.

And despite his successes as a storyteller, he hasn’t forgotten where he comes from, and hopes to pave the way for others.

“I always knew I wanted to do film or act or something… I wanted to do something.”

For Rashad Frett, telling the stories of his community in movies has always been the goal.

Now that goal is realized. He’s a working filmmaker, back in his home state right now at work on his latest film “Ricky,” shooting at a Bristol diner.

“I have the ability to tell stories about my neighborhood or the stuff that my people have experienced that isn’t really mainstream. It starts conversation,” Frett said.

Frett is a proud graduate of Hartford Public High School. But as a kid from Connecticut, his path to moviemaking wasn’t always clear.

A call from a friend when he was a cargo loader at Bradley Airport made him take a hard look at what he wanted to do with his life.

“He said if you don’t leave Connecticut, you’re going to die there. For some reason, it stuck,” said Frett.

Frett graduated from Central Connecticut State University in 2009 and began making documentaries about the criminal justice system and issues impacting communities of color.

A decade ago, NBC Connecticut gave viewers a first look at his story when he directed “Second District” a fictional police drama based in Hartford’s North End.

Capturing realness prompted him to apply to NYU’s film school in 2015. He finished the program in 2021 and now counts cinematic legends like Spike Lee among his mentors.

Now, as he captures a new fictional tale on film, he hopes to inspire others in the state where he’s from to know that they too can create their own life story.

“I want to positively put my mark on the world. And show that somebody from Hartford rose above.”

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