Rikarlo is filmmaker and founder of The Handy Foundation, and CEO of Sunwise Media, a platform giving members access to resources, expert career advice through virtual mentorship, and digital workshops giving suited with live panel discussions.
"The California Film Commission recently selected The Handy Foundation as the latest training partner for its Pilot Career Pathways Training Program, which helps prepare individuals from underserved communities.
The Pilot Career Pathways Training Program is an important component of the state’s Film & Television Tax Credit Program 3.0. It was created in part to attract new and diverse talent for careers in the film and television industry while helping meet the demand for skilled workers."
Rikarlo Handy found sparks of inspiration from family, like his grandmother and mother. His mother was a communications student at Hayward University, that worked in video tape ministries at their church… “I can’t think of a time where I didn’t want to do this business,’ he says.
The idealist had a soft spot for entertainment as a child. He’d sit, watching music videos excitedly of popular rhymesters like NWA and all the talent deriving from the hip hop scene from the east and west coast. His fascination, and passion kindled as he got older. “I always wanted to be on stage either in front of the camera, behind the camera, just somewhere around it since I was a kid.”
Rikarlo volunteered while a student at San Francisco University, and that’s how he scored his first job on-set at the age of 15, a nonunion position that hired him without consequence. He harvested plenty connections during that time and built a hefty filmmaker CV just from staging and directing music videos. He’s worked with artist like Master P, Mac 10, and Too Short, to name a few-- singers and rappers that ascended from the east coast.
With the rise of Napster (1999), and the regression of antiquated technology, Rikarlo said that he didn’t receive many opportunities on the sets of music videos, where he was director. Interestingly, RiK learned editing early, but never used the talents professionally… “I started doing editing from my home, and that led to me editing on television; and then once I was editing on television and got really financially stable editing, I saw a whole new world of opportunities open up, especially during that time, early 2000, reality (television) was fairly new—And, so, becoming a reality show runner became my next goal, in which I did. Next, in 2006, I started doing show running doing Keisha Cole show for BET.”
Rikarlo is co-owner of full-service, production company, Sunwise Media in addition to The Handy Foundation.
He says that Sunwise Media developed and syndicated their own library of creative content such as Unsolved History: Life of a King, an appendage of the brother of Martin Luther King, Jr. They have a podcast with Green Money Bank called Money Moves, and that show will be licensed to syndicated cable television.
As for the Handy Foundation, the platform took shape after the death of George Floyd where Rikarlo put a call to action in place on Facebook, looking for Black editors. This sent an immediate shockwave to the film industry where many directors and producers of the opposite race, gaslit Handy for simply abiding by a request, that was sent to him. The responses from other races were derogatory, and another panorama of systemic racism, and the operations from heavy weights in Hollywood.
The accounts were made public, which caused many of the social media tyrants, to go viral. The salacious actions triggered a positive response from Rikarlo in the form of a principled and educational platform for assistant editors of minority, looking to break into a volatile and fragmented industry called the "Handy Foundation.”
Watch entire interview below: