rica A. Watson is a 23-year-old, writer, musician and filmmaker from Detroit who has already screened her work at arguably the most prestigious film festival in the world: France’s Cannes Film Festival.
The Wayne State University graduate and Cass Technical High School alumna is the co-founder of Hyphenation Nation Productions, a Detroit-based film production company. She says her company produces “films that articulate the Black experience in a manner that does not disregard the value of other cultures, but uplifts people of all races.”
The company has created more than 10 short films, some of which have been featured in the Detroit Docs International Film Festival, Detroit Independent Film Festival, Michigan Film Awards, WSU Moving Media Student Showcase, and Howard University’s Paul Robeson Awards.
Most recently, her short film “Brothers,” about a young teenager who loses his father in the Iraq war and then sees his brother sent to serve in Iraq, was featured in the Short Film Corner at the 64th annual Cannes Festival in May 2011.
Watson first went to the Cannes Film Festival, an annual event for movie industry professionals the world over, in 2009, through the Creative Minds in Cannes program. At that 62nd annual Cannes Film Festival, she interned with a production company and worked with other students to create an award-winning short film.
“It was then that I promised myself that I would return to the festival every year,” Watson says. So far, she is achieving that goal, having attended three years in a row.
Cannes has enabled her to network with film industry professionals that she admires such as directors Euzhan Palcy and Lee Daniels, musician Lenny Kravitz, and actors Ryan Gosling, James Franco and Jamie Foxx.
In the fall, Watson plans to pursue a graduate degree from the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts. She will also write Hyphenation Nation’s first feature film.