Reneé Thompson is a director of photography, director, colorist, writer, and owner of AÉNL based in the Dallas area. Reneé has spent the last five years working within the music industry as a music video director amassing a large following around the country for her work. Within her five years in the industry she has been blessed to work on many projects, including a feature film, television series, and web series, along with the day to day projects in the areas of music video, commercial, and corporate production.
Some of the clients she’s been blessed to work with include Gukenheimer, Devon Energy, Core Water, Partychaser, High Standardz, ByDesignFilms, Lowe’s, and Match.com. She now is transitioning full time into the film industry and currently is in production for her first film project, Seven, which touches on various topics such as modern day politics, community, coming of age, and spirituality. Seven is the visual interpretation of her written word, meant to inspire us to question ourselves and seek our inner child.
She has recently been nominated as Best Videographer by Cosign Magazine for the Cosign Awards, and also recently received the award of Best Visual Messenger by the Local Love Awards an event curated by K104 radio personality Lady Jade.
London Prestige Interview with Director Reneé Thompson
London Prestige: How long have you been making films and videos?
Reneé Thompson: I have been making films and videos since I was in the 9th grade, but professionally since my sophomore year of college, which would be going on five years now.
London Prestige: What is your recent film about?
Reneé Thompson: My recent film that I currently have in production is a visual album, or short film series, that discusses issues pertaining to African people such as modern day politics, community, coming of age, and spirituality. Seven is the visual interpretation of my seven poems that will accompany each short film meant to inspire us to question ourselves and seek our inner child.
London Prestige: How did you go about casting for the film?
Reneé Thompson: I had a cast with another local director that I was previously partnered with and also reached out to a few local agencies, and a few online casting sites. Since this is a very visual project, in which there’s little to no dialogue, I didn’t find it necessary to cast for talent per se but more so for a look and to simply emote at an adequate level.
London Prestige: What do you hope people will take away from the film?
Reneé Thompson: I hope that people will take away the lessons that I’m interweaving into the films. I hope that viewers realize the overall message in that you, we, as African people, are gods and are light beings with incredible ability. I think that, in a way, our identity has almost been completely lost and destroyed—having been systematically controlled under a spell of the English language and American culture. So the goal, and the precedence I’m trying to make with this first project as a director entering the film industry, is that this is what I’m bringing to the black renaissance currently underway in America. Painting the most visually aesthetic—cinematic picture for our people with every film to see themselves, and continue to see themselves, as gods, able to control their own destiny and their own reality.
London Prestige: What do you hope to achieve by making the film?
Reneé Thompson: I don’t really know how to answer that without sounding a certain way. I come from a sports background, and before that I come from not having much when I was growing up. So its always been a situation where I’m going to win, make it out, succeed . . . period. Because I have to, there is no other option, and I expect nothing less. So I have more of an expectation compared to a hope, which is that this film will be critically acclaimed and shared internationally.
London Prestige: Tell us a bit about the other projects you’ve made.
Reneé Thompson: So I’m most known for being a music video director. I’ve made about three films in which I was proud of the creativity and message . . . which is why I now am moving into producing and directing my own films and slowly transitioning into the film industry solely.
London Prestige: What makes beautiful art in your opinion?
Reneé Thompson: I think what makes my art beautiful is my connection to the art that I’m trying portray if that makes sense. So what makes art beautiful to me is if emotion and feeling live within the art. That’s what I feel makes it beautiful and captivating—something that people can feel and connect too.
London Prestige: Which other documentaries/films that you’ve seen have made an impact on you, personally?
Reneé Thompson: Some of the films that have made an impact on me personally would be “Get Out” most recently, “Inception”, Donald Glover’s “Atlanta” although that’s a television show, and “The Book of Eli” to name a few.
London Prestige: How has your style evolved?
Reneé Thompson: My style has evolved through following the music industry which is where I got my start in videography and cinematography. It first was very contrast in regards to look and color, and then evolved to be very flat, then digital, to now a mix of slightly digital, vintage like, de-saturated, slightly grainy, while vividly cinematic—breaking all conventional rules of cinematography.
London Prestige: What skills/personal attributes are most important to being successful?
Reneé Thompson: Understanding you’re a god and you can create your reality and/or success is first most. If you don’t believe in yourself you will not be successful. Second would be consistency, and third hard work. When I was younger what helped develop my work ethic along with my basketball coaches was this simple saying by SpokenReasons, a viral youtuber, “Faith. Consistency. And hard work.”
London Prestige: What other hobbies do you have?
Reneé Thompson: I love to play 2k. I’m really good too lol. And I love to write, and watch movies.
London Prestige: What are you thinking about doing next?
Reneé Thompson: My next set of goals are, one, to begin producing a weekly panel that discusses issues facing our communities through my media company. Two, start my own non-profit that gives back to the community, and third, begin production on my web series, Love.
London Prestige: Where does your studio want to go from here?
Reneé Thompson: We want to transition firmly into being a film production company that strictly produces shorts, features, web-series, and documentaries.