Amanda Marsalis and People Magazine Invite You
Film festivals are no joke. As the bar has been raised for Hollywood profits, most international movie stars also work on smaller, independent films that do the film festival circuit to drum up interest and support on their way to wide releases. They’ve become the training room for smaller projects, and one of the most reliable places to find a huge amount of celebrities. This year at the Toronto International Film Festival, People Magazine asked Amanda Marsalis to set up a photographic experience and capture the names and faces as they floated by. It was an incredibly intense five days with just a few minutes per sitting, but Amanda knows exactly how to get her subjects to open up quickly no matter how famous they are. “I tell a lot of goofy stories. What we’re going to talk about just depends on the person,” explains Amanda. “Honestly, I’ve been working at it for twenty years.”
Facing some of the biggest names in Hollywood like Ryan Gosling, Oscar Isaacs, Bryan Cranston, Sigourney Weaver, and Nicole Kidman could be intimidating for anyone – especially in the tiny amounts of time that Amanda got to sit with them. But for Amanda, it’s less about handling a personality and more about creating the right tone for the right moment. “I really make sure I have a moment where we feel like collaborative equals,” she says. By putting everyone on equal footing, their time together opens up so they can work together towards the same goal.
It’s not an easy charge to keep the energy up for five days but Amanda and her team made that the center of what they were doing. That’s how they got so many incredible photos over their time by making the set an enjoyable place to be. “We had a good vibe on set, a good playlist, and basically invited everyone to the party,” says Amanda. “Welcome! We’re having fun over here, come join us!” The festival is over now, but thanks to the expressive nature of the photographs that Amanda created with People the party continues in each image and you’re invited.