Behind The Lens: A Conversation with Deonte Arnold by Lexiii Dee
With the many different art forms that we have, there may be some that people can connect with and some that many can’t. Some people say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but personally, I find beauty in a lot of things. Even though I specialize in the music side of the creative field, I like to look into other forms just based on pure admiration on how diverse other creatives can be. As of late, one creative that has sparked this in me would be Deonte Arnold.
Deonte Arnold is a filmmaker coming out of Georgia and someone who one can say can bring some change when it comes to the film industry. With the overall drive and passion he has for creating, he has what it takes to become one of the standout directors of our generation. Based off his most recent release of his short film “Butterfingers,” I contacted him and was able to have a conversation with him over the phone to talk to him. We touched on a lot and he gave me more insight as to where his head is at when it comes to the film industry, where it is heading, and more.
Lexiii Dee: Tell me how you got into filmmaking?
Deonte Arnold: I actually started off with doing photography back in 2008. I used to live in Hawaii and I stole my mom’s disposable film cameras and would go around just shooting stuff or just whatever I felt I wanted to shoot. However, I seen one movie [ KIDS] and it just switched for me. That was what inspired me to start making films.
LD: Was there a particular time that you realized that filmmaking was much more than a hobby but it would be you life and your living?
DA: The night I initially stopped doing photography was the day I knew that I wanted to become a director/filmmaker and do it forever. With photography, I never got that feeling. I knew it deep down inside that I wouldn’t be doing it for the rest of my life. However, with filmmaking, it just felt right.
LD: What is Nevr Fold? How did that come about and what was your overall mission behind it?
DA: Nevr Fold Cinemas is my production company. Throughout my whole life, it’s always been like a mantra for me. With life, it may tear you a little and make you bend but you never fold. You just have to keep going. You also never say never and that’s why I spelled it “NEVR” instead of the regular spelling of the word.
LD: Talk to me about some of the work you’ve done.
DA: I started off my career with this production company and the owner’s husband owned a record label called Black Tree and My brother and I were doing PA work, a lot of video work and then we ventured into making short films. From there, I would PA on a lot of major production shows such as The Walking Dead, I was a sit-director to my brother for a BET premiered video for Hamilton Park, and I recently just moved to California and I’ve been working on a couple pilots as of right now. You know just doing that and writing a lot of my own stuff.
LD: I wanted to get into your most recent film “Butterfingers” which was really good and just from watching it, it was filled with many unexpected turns. How did you come up with the concept? What was the inspiration behind the film?
DA: The inspiration for the film was from a concept my brother thought of but we switched it to a girl jamming out to music in her car, having a good time, just driving; then she pulls up to a gas station and grabs a butter finger. You don’t really know where she is going until the last scene of when she stops the car and opens the truck and it’s herself in there and she fires two shots. It was originally going to be just that ending part.
LD: What makes a great film to you? Are there certain qualities that make a film better?
DA: A good film to me is one that consists of genuity. Something that is genuine and that is true. I feel like if you have that, you’re set off the rip.
LD: If there is one or more things you think would make the film industry better, what would it be?
DA: I feel like the film industry needs to take chances again. They only want movies where they can make eight of them and they're going through archives of movies that have already been made. I also feel that the film industry needs to do a better job at staff writers because I feel like they aren’t cohesive.
Though there was so much more that we discussed, Deonte is very knowledgeable about what he wants to do for himself and the industry. He has a lot more in the works and I can’t wait to see what else he has to offer.
Follow him on Instagram and make sure you watch his most recent work “Butterfingers.”
Deonte Arnold’s Instagram: @nevr.fold.
Lexiii Dee, Dinner Land