TIFF sixty seconds at a time.
Steve Russell - Staff Photographer
It's my Toronto International Film Festival joke.
It all starts with the publicist saying the same thing, "You have about a minute"
My reply is always the same, "I only need a sixtieth of a second"
My filmfest was relatively tame, I covered portraits mostly.
And was almost spared the press conference room and the sardine can sized photo pits of the red carpet.
The portrait sessions almost all work the same way, the paper is allocated 10, 15 or 20 minutes for an interview with a actor or director. The photographer will get a minute or two to shoot the portrait. The reporter will get the bulk of the time for the interview. Most of the interviews happen in the same hotel, ergo, almost the same room.
The result or the challenge is to try to make the pictures as diverse as possible.
The strategies for pictures vary and depend on how much time I have between assignments. If you have to do a picture at the beginning of the allotted time it is usually window light. If it is at the end of the interview there is some time to set up a light. And sometimes we have the option to shoot during the interview.
Sarah Polley was my first Toronto International Film Festival portrait. She directed Take this Waltz, I shot her in the hallway of the Sutton Place Hotel. I wish that the reporter would have clued me in that she was pregnant, but, the next couple groups of media teams were waiting so there was no opportunity. The Star had the exclusive on the story.
Being able to get the actor or director away from the interview room is a blessing. French actor André Wilms is the unlikely star of a film that got a lot of attention at TIFF. In Le Havre, André Wilms plays struggling author/shoeshiner who tries to save an immigrant child in the French city of Le Havre.
Jean Dujardin, star of The Artist, a role he won best actor for at Cannes, it was a very popular silent film at TIFF. I had the opportunity to sit in the interview and shoot rather than setting up for a potrait. I had plenty of time to shoot while the translator and Peter Howell spoke.
Viggo Mortensen hangs his hockey allegiance from the 18th floor balcony of the intercontinental hotel on Front Street. Viggo has it bad for the Montreal Canadiens, he showed up with a Habs jersey to the press conference and hung the team's flag from the balcony. He also carries his day to day stuff in a bag with his favourite soccer team's logo on it.
A couple from the pressers
My one red carpet.
One, well, two more....
Sarah Silverman is photographed by Andrew Tolson from Maclean's Magazine. There is soooooo much waiting time sometimes that photographers chat and more importantly test run lighting set-ups and poses. I was Sarah's stand in.