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‘Echo Park’ Director Amanda Marsalis Talks Race, Gentrification and Love

'Echo Park' Director Amanda Marsalis Talks Race, Gentrification and Love

Director Amanda Marsalis is a photographer for publications including Vogue, Conde Nast Traveler, GQ and The Guardian, as well as a commercial director. Marsalis is an Echo Park resident. Her unique imagery is inspired by the magic hour of Los Angeles and the intricacy of the city’s landscape. “Echo Park” is her first feature film. (Press materials)

“Echo Park” opens in theaters and is available to stream on Netflix April 15. 

W&H: Describe the film for us in your own words.

AM: It is a simple film about complex issues. Issues such as gentrification, race and conflicting ideas about love.  

W&H: What drew you to this story?

AM: The lead character Sophie. I could identify to some degree with what she was going through and felt I could tell her story convincingly.

W&H: What do you want people to think about when they are leaving the theater?

AM: That “Echo Park” doesn’t provide any answers to some of the problems and issues raised in the film. Hopefully the film simply brings them into the viewer’s realm of awareness.

W&H: What was the biggest challenge in making the film?

AM: Time. The feeling of never having had enough of it.

W&H: How did you get your film funded? Share some insights into how you got the film made.

AM: Our producer Tony Okungbowa found backers for the project. It was his baby from the beginning.

W&H: What’s the best and worst advice you’ve received?

AM: The best advice was rehearse as much as possible, which I would recommend to anyone.    

W&H: What advice do you have for other female directors?

AM: Meet as many other female directors as you can and make friends with them. It helps a lot to have a community of support and advice.  

W&H: Name your favorite woman-directed film and why.

AM: “Point Break” by Kathryn Bigelow is my favorite film of all-time. Hands down. It’s not my favorite film because a woman directed it, although I do wonder if its strength has something to do with that fact.

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