- Interview -
Writer, scriptwriter and director Amanda Sthers has multiple strings to her bow. At 41, she has been living in Los Angeles for the past three years with her children, leading a peaceful life far removed from the media whirlwind she experienced in the Noughties. Ambitious by nature, she focuses on projects that are close to her heart.
Between literature, theatre and cinema, you are involved in multiple sectors of activity: how do you explain this very eclectic professional life?
I’m very enthusiastic by nature and take a rather childlike approach to my profession. I have many desires and refuse to rule out any particular field of endeavor, often popping up where I’m least expected. Basically, I decided from the outset not to have a monotonous career.
Is there an activity that you enjoy more than any other?
I began with novels and that’s really what I wanted to do at first, but now I would have a lot of trouble doing without the rest. Fortunately, minds are more open these days, which means there is a better understanding than previously of how I can move from writing to films and other projects.
What are your sources of inspiration?
There is a strong autobiographical element in my novels, as well as an entirely imaginary part. I increasingly want to enhance the well-being of my audience, by conveying messages, adding derisively humorous touches, passing on certain keys to life as well as revealing my priorities such as continuing to believe in certain values.
Which values are important to you?
Courage, moral rectitude, generosity and sharing.
You are a public figure; what image do you seek to project?
I wish there were none at all. If the only image of myself was my profession, that would be perfect. I don’t like to think people have a preconceived idea of who I am.
What is the most beautiful compliment you have ever been paid?
Being acknowledged by people who have made you want to take up this profession is a real pleasure. One of the first letters I received, at the age of 15, was from Robert Sabatier. Secondly, having texts studied at Harvard is quite touching, because basically you never really know whether you have talent.
Is that a reward for you?
The real reward is the public reaction, such as what happened with the release of my latest film Holy Lands: people told me with tears in their eyes that it made them want to call their father or reconcile with their child. Social media, of which I’m not particularly fond, have the advantage of creating a link with the public.
Living in the United States is often a childhood dream, was it for you?
Not at all! Los Angeles was a city I didn’t like at all before I lived there. It is quite strange, solitary as well as very close to nature and that is one of the reasons I appreciate it. I don’t think I’ll stay there all my life, but for the time being it suits me well. Professionally, it hums with a permanent sense of enthusiasm that I could no longer find in France. It is a mindset that celebrates talent, ambition and the desire to create.
The theme of our issue is innovation, of which there have been many examples in recent years; which one could you simply not do without?
We are really at a watershed moment with AI and digitization. As far as I am concerned, there are certain fears of the future relating to a risk of unethical behavior.
After your recently released Holy Lands movie, what else is in the pipeline?
I am preparing the screen adaptation of another of my books titled Les Promesses and I am writing a new novel.
You never stop, would you say you are hyperactive?
I think so, yes. I’d love to turn off my phone and spend some time on a beach, but that hasn’t happened to me in a long time. I work a lot and honestly think that any career in this field demands full commitment.
Based on an interview by Anouk Julien-Blanco
Photos © S. Gomez