Arielle Thomas & Ellenor Argyropoulos, Co-Directors of Meat and Potatoes, Second Place film, Best Production Design and Best Actress (Arielle) at Tropfest 2017, and winner of the 2017 Audience Award in St Tropez
Arielle: I started out as an actress, and later formed my own female-driven production company, Cinema Thom. I saw a lot of success creating innovative fashions films within the first month of Thom, and I had great runs on the board with dramatic short films as a producer. Meat and Potatoes was produced with a very clear goal in mind, which was Tropfest 25. I was getting better at directing, and wanted to jump into a narrative. I started with a concept: it was high time I tried my hand at comedy as an actress, director and producer. An American screenwriter, Jake Lownsbury, whom I met in Cannes, took my parameters and molded them it into the script for Meat and Potatoes. I asked a comedian friend, also American, to come on as script supervisor which really lifted the comedy, especially from the character Ann’s point of view.
Ellenor coming on board with her knowledge of cinematography propelled the project forward and suddenly we were shooting in the middle of the Victorian bush. In the film we took everyday marital arguments between the characters and put the characters at the end of the World, in the Apocalypse. We’re thrilled that Meat and Potatoes won awards at Tropfest and we never expected our film to be shown in Paris and win the Audience Award in St. Tropez. We’ve got a few more festival screenings up our sleeve and are in talks to take Meat and Potatoes further, turning it into a short form comedy series.
Ellenor: I was always incredibly interested in cinematography. I really love visual storytelling and in my final year at VCA I was accepted into the Budapest Cinematography Masterclass where I underwent an intense two-week workshop lighting scenes. I find that the intense 1-2 week experiences I have with people are the ones that set up friendships for life, they affect me and resonate with me in a really deep way, so for me Budapest started everything.
Later I was accepted into a filmmaking course at the Creative Mind Group in Cannes, and that’s where I met Arielle, who was doing another course. We also met Jake Lownsbury there, so Cannes 2015 was definitely the start of a beautiful collaborative partnership. Arielle and I spent nearly a year working together on fashion films in Australia when we took a trip to the US and met up again with Jake. Arielle had asked Jake to write a script for her and I expressed my interest in co-directing the film. On a sunny day overlooking the Hollywood Hills, the three of us decided to make Meat and Potatoes.