Arielle Thomas, Actor, Producer & Director
We are so taken by Arielle's passion, drive, talent and dedication - she is a woman after our own hearts, that's for sure. She's as kind as she is inspiring, making amazing work and change in a notoriously difficult industry. We're so grateful she's taken some time out to share her thoughts with you today!
What do you do?
In chronological order, I am an actress, producer, director, photographer and entrepreneur. I started Cinema Thom, my female driven production company six months ago, now we’re a team of three and I love my girls Amber and Dunja.
Do you have a maxim that you live and work by?
Rome wasn't built in a day.
What are the three milestones that have led you to where you stand?
When I earned the keys to my car at 18, that gave me an unbelievable sense of freedom. When I earned the keys to my New York apartment, I lived there from 2011 - 2014, and the day I earned the keys to my office in Melbourne - my engine room, it’s there I’m in my element.
What projects do you have in the pipeline?
I have two short films, two television series, a fashion film shooting next month and a feature film in development. I couldn't sit still and started a new photography project today! Called @theroomserviceseries, check it out!
Do you have a supportive female network in your field? Was it always this way?
Most of my mentors until recently have been men which I haven’t minded, they’ve all been quite paternal. I’ve worked really hard to create a strong female network. It’s fallen into place since opening Thom last year with the events and festivals I’ve had the pleasure of attending. I have a few producing mentors now, but I do need to spend some time networking with female directors, that’s my next step.
The Australian Guilds and Screen Australia have been wonderful to me as a young creative and that all began from just picking up the phone and asking them out for a coffee - I recommend doing that in any profession.
Can you share a creative experience that you have found defining?
I wish I could say yes, but I get high off of everyday life. Listening to my friends success or heartaches, watching family hug on the street, people indulging, or sadly suffering, it’s all around us. I am inspired by the film directors, screenwriters, stage directors, photographers and artists that can take all of that, breathe it in, and breathe it out to resonate empathy. In all mediums of work.
What’s something surprising about you, that we might not know?
I eat a lot of spaghetti bolognese, too often.
What are you listening to, reading, watching of late, that is inspiring or entertaining you?
I just attended the Cannes Lion, the advertising festival in the South of France and it was an information overload. I’m in a major time of reflection and reassessment and always find myself returning to Peter Pan. Don’t knock it til you’ve tried it, it’s stunning and reboots my imagination in a monetised world.
What is one facet of your field that you want to see change?
I’m in the film industry so absolutely pay, diversity and workplace culture. It’s been a huge wake up call in the most recent round of interviews we conducted that a lot of younger women, I’m 25, so I do mean women under 25, lack a lot of confidence. I’m saddened to say this but it’s as if some don't feel they have a right to their own ambitions. I started Thom as an invitation for young girls to join a family of women in film. I want girls to have more confidence in themselves and their abilities.
What do you want to be asked about that no one ever asks you?
I love random questions like what food do you hate? Berries - I know, weird, but my Instagram would have never told you that.
What is your dream project?
I’ve been sitting on a short film for the past two years because it’s so close to my heart and I haven’t found the right moment within myself to gear up for the next stages. It’s a short film about two Australian women on the front line in Afghanistan. The protagonist is faced with PTSD while on the ground, and it’s a real process to communicate because, as audiences, we’re only used to seeing PTSD within men at war, not women at war which is now an absolute reality. I’m lucky to be working on my dream project. I also wouldn't mind working on the new Ned Kelly shooting next year, playing one of the female characters surrounding the Ned Kelly Gang is a personal ambition.
What places are important to you?
I always return to Port Douglas in far-north Queensland. Walking around barefoot and tearing around on a bike was my childhood and I’m still doing it. I have a soft spot for New York, that city turned me into an adult fast, but I was raised in hotels so I can make myself at home nearly anywhere with my essentials like coffee and a good book.
What is the best advice you’ve been given, or wish you had been told sooner?
I was asked this the other day. There are a few, one is just to start, and another, perhaps a contradicting one is to be very accurate with the work you put out there, don’t dilute your work reputation with comprise, especially in your early days.
How can we find our more about your work?
You can view our latest short film which I co-directed, produced and played the lead actress Meat and Potatoes, now streaming on Red Bull TV. Head to the website, cinemathom.com or of course Instagram at @arielle.thomas.
Who would you most like to answer these questions next?
Ashely Hurst. She is a long time friend of mine and is currently designing jackets for Mick Jagger for the next Rolling Stones tour, she’s dynamite.