After Making Films Like Ride Along A Success, Devyne Johnson Plans To Make Her Own Production Company Thrive
Hollywood isn’t known for its opportunities for women or people of color, but Charlotte, North Carolina-born, Atlanta-based screenwriter/content creator/producer/director Devyne Johnson hasn’t let this stop her. In 2010, Johnson launched Artefaekts Entertainment, a full-service production company that creates original content in the form of short films, animations, feature films, and live entertainment.
Now the company is releasing their first feature film, Mosaic, which she self-funded. To promote the movie, Artefaekts took the film on a seven-city theatrical debut tour which started in September and it will hit theaters in these locations: Atlanta, Charlotte, Raleigh, D.C., Nashville, Chicago, and L.A.
Johnson is no newbie to the Hollywood scene. She has been involved in a number of productions since graduating from Alabama State University, where she studied Theater, Public Relations & Integrated Marketing, and in January Johnson and her production team were commissioned to create, produce, and direct a short film called What Kings are Made of for the TV series, Live@9:30 which is nationally broadcast by NPR & PBS.
In this interview with the woman of many talents — she has a background in costume design and has worked on films and television shows such as Atlanta, Stranger Things, and the Ride Along franchise — tells us how she plans to make Artefaekts a Hollywood success.
MadameNoire (MN): How and why did you start Artefaekts Entertainment?
Devyne Johnson (DJ): I’ve always been a writer and a creator. Whether it was poetry, short stories, essays or speeches, I loved weaving words together in an orchestra of voices and perspectives. Establishing Artefaekts Entertainment gave my writings and creations a home. Artefaekts is the place concepts evolve from simple letters to characters with costumes, nuances and livelihoods. Artefaekts is where words become worlds and narratives come alive.
MN: What is the meaning behind the name?
DJ: I wanted our works to reflect who we innately are as creators. In the future when we reflect on all we made, it has to display the intrinsic value of who we are and the best parts of ourselves that we left on the screen or on the stage.
MN: Filmmaking is highly competitive, how do you stand out?
DJ: At Artefaekts, the only competition we see is competing with ourselves to get better with each endeavor. We learn, we grow, we become better artisans. We don’t compete with anyone for anything outside of that. We create content, we shoot our content and we do it all over again.
MN: Tell us more about Mosaic.
DJ: Mosaic is a familiar narrative that forces us to challenge our perspective of preferences. It is a story about finding acceptance and unity in the most fragile relationship…our family.
MN: Why did you select this project for your first feature film?
DJ: This project was the first screenplay I ever wrote. It’s about eight years old. In the last eight years, I’ve developed and written other projects but I couldn’t jump into any of them without first honoring Mosaic.
MN: How will you market the film?
DJ: The film is currently being marketed through strategic partnerships and across a host of social media platforms. We’ve enlisted the support of cast and crew to join in our #IAmMOSAIC campaign. The goal of the campaign is to highlight all the various pieces and parts of our personal life mosaic –All the pieces that make us who we are. The story behind the story speaks directly to the heart of dreamers! Mosaic celebrates all the artisans who came together to fuse their creativity, one to another, to make a beautiful piece of ar
MN: What have been some challenges in building Artefaekts?
DJ: The main challenge has been time and resource management. As a growing company, we’re excited to announce the airing of our short film What Kings are Made of nationally distributed on the musical variety television show, Live@9:30. We’re in full swing with the release of our first feature film, Mosaic and we’re also juggling an exciting slate of upcoming projects including an animation series and writing commissions. Growth is the best challenge to have when the infrastructure to support that growth is secure.
MN: What are you goals for Artefaekts?
DJ: I have so many goals for Artefaekts. Chief among them is my commitment to making sure Artefaekts has a place in the market that will provide opportunities for artisans to explore their creativity and support their family while doing so.
MN: What do you like best about what you do?
DJ: The best thing about what I do, is seeing an idea become a tangible reality. Hands down, working with my crew to go from vision to visible and concept to concrete is the singular best experience of my life.