Arielle Thomas is one multi-talented lady. An actress, director and producer, she recently founded her female driven creative agency and production company, Cinema Thom. The companies work ranges from television series, short films, fashion films, stills and narrative and they recently found success at TROPFEST with their short film Meat and Potatoes taking out second place. We chat to Arielle about nurturing female talent, Cinema Thom’s foray into fashion films and how she balances the varying demands of being a creative and developing her own company.
Hi Arielle! Could you tell us a little about Cinema Thom and what inspired you to create your own creative agency and production company?
Of course, Cinema Thom started about 6 months ago when I had all sorts of projects in development. I previously ran a company Patch Adams Productions with two friends and we loved creating short films. I needed my own banner and space to pursue personal projects. Cinema Thom was created for film and television but quite rapidly fashion films and content creation are becoming our bread and butter. The creative agency was an accident, my team and I had access to fashion through various relationships with brands and fell into shooting content regularly. The response has blown me away; Thom isn’t slowing down any time soon.
Cinema Thom describes itself as being a “female driven creative agency and production company.” Is supporting and nurturing female talent a key part of your company’s ethos?
The company launches officially in April and that statement, front and centre on our digital platforms, serves as an invitation. For those driven and creative girls, expressive in every medium, we’ll encourage and nurture you. We’re working with female oil painters to screenwriters, cinematographers etc.
The creative agency side is working with those artists and linking them with brands. It’s not exclusively female, but the numbers in the film industry don’t lie, it needs to change. It’s early days, but facilitating an engine room and inviting women to create and collaborate is something I’m really proud of.
You directed Cinema Thom’s first comedic short film Meat and Potatoes which took home 2nd place at this year’s TROPFEST alongside winning the award for Best Production Design and the Nicole Kidman Award for Best Actress which you were the recipient of, huge congratulations! Did you find being both the director and lead actor in the film a challenging process?
Thank you! Great performances start with great writing, I have my screenwriters Jake and Rosie to thank for their hilarious script! My co-star Jackson Tozer is really easy to work with, he gives a lot, and we were well rehearsed. Luckily I’ve produced a lot too so I know that role inside out. I had never directed narrative before, so I brought on Ellenor Argyropoulos to co-direct with me. She has a great knowledge of cameras, and my acting background served the performance side. We worked really well together on set, and our team was fantastic from the get
When did you first discover your aptitude for acting, producing and directing and what would your advice be to anyone looking to break into these notoriously competitive industries?
I wanted to act since I was 12, and took myself off to New York at 18 to get a degree in Drama. Once I graduated, I came home to be an Australian actor again and was flung into a really competitive pool of other 21-year-old blondes. There I was thinking I was going to be noticed for my bold move to NYC – wrong. I started making my own work by default to get noticed and have something to talk about when you go to castings. Once it gained momentum I fell in love with it. It’s been a slow progression into directing, that began about 6 months ago with fashion films and has only really come to the forefront with Meat and Potatoes when I transitioned with narrative. I would tell anyone and everyone to make your own work as soon as possible. Sleep when you’re dead, it can take years for this stuff to eventuate.
Cinema Thom has recently made a foray into fashion films, with your first film Genade, made in collaboration with Bassike and Mecca Cosmetica, being a finalist in this year’s VAMFF fashion series. Are fashion features going to be a focus for Cinema Thom?
Absolutely. We love them and they’re so fast and fun to make. The demand for film in the fashion industry is growing so quickly, it’s exciting to be involved. We’re in the process of building relationships with the platforms that showcase those films so we can make them more often.
How do you balance the conflicting demands of having a creative profession such as acting with running your own rapidly expanding business? What are your self-care/relaxation rituals when you’re feeling overwhelmed?
I’ve very thorough with every element, I’m obsessed with all of it. I speak to my friends who are actors about the industry to make sure I’m never ‘unplugged’ from it’s goings on. I read a lot, rather than watching movies too. I find watching movies, instead of reading scripts, lets your imagination become lazy and imagination is a huge asset across every facet of the business. To relax, I go and do something creative like paint or gallery hop, which usually leads to inspiration, turning into another project, and then I call everyone in for a meeting about it and we make it – and I just realised that my ‘relaxing’ is not as favourable as I thought. I sleep & brunch that’s my relaxing.
What’s up next for Cinema Thom?
Haha! The question I keep getting asked, giving everyone a different answer! We’re going full speed ahead on the fashion films and content creation. I have a series I’ve co-written with a team of very talented writers about Schoolies, we’re in talks with networks now. My next narrative is a war short set in Afghanistan, female orientated (of course!). I’m the recipient of an amazing opportunity with the Australian Directors Guild, that will keep me busy I’m sure. I’m throwing a big fat launch party in April for Thom, and we’re expanding our creative teams. Anyone who wants to work with us, or for us – call me.