SAVANNAH — Tim Arnold enjoys telling stories, though not necessarily about himself.
“I’m not good with words,” said the 23-year-old Savannah filmmaker. “If you can show someone a visual of what it is, it’s a lot easier to communicate what your idea is.”
He sees the world through his eyes and a camera lens. His occasional collaborator Landon Lott, who graduated with Arnold in May from the Savannah College of Art and Design, said his friend loves to capture life on film.
“Every time I see him, there’s a camera in his hands,” Lott said. “That’s the best thing you can do: always tell a story, always get a shot.”
Born in Boston and raised in the Northeast, Arnold attended SCAD from 2005-2010, majoring in film with a minor in photography, which appealed to him because of the required attention to detail.
He worked on many student projects, including one that was shown at the annual Gray’s Reef Ocean Film Festival in Savannah. But it was after graduating that he and Lott would make a great impression at the festival in September.
The Gulf oil spill was a headline in newspapers and a subject of conversation when the pair gathered with their families for SCAD’s graduation ceremony and celebration in May. When Arnold’s father, Tim Sr., spoke about the impact of iconic images from the Vietnam War, he triggered an idea in the young filmmakers.
They headed to Louisiana, aiming to capture — in about six days on a budget of about $700 — what people might be missing from the nightly newscasts. They stayed with Lott’s family in Plaquemines Parish near New Orleans, and used local contacts to talk to people about the disaster and the area’s murky future.
Their six-minute film, “Skimming the Surface,” won the festival’s Dr. Robert O. Levitt Award for Emerging Filmmakers. They would like to use the $2,000 prize to revisit the issue in a future film.
Arnold has also started his own business with former SCAD students Jon Spicola, 26, and Skip Terpstra, 27, called the Savannah Film Co.
“We have a big name. We’re trying to live up to it,” Spicola said.