When she played Cassandra Benedict Lockridge on NBC’s “Santa
Barbara,” Karen Moncrieff spent her time off the set watching motion
pictures of a decidedly different genre.
“Early on, people decided I was a soap type ... and the kinds of
film that I like [are] mainly independently made movies or art house
fare,” Moncrieff said.
So she put herself through film school at Los Angeles City
College, won a screenwriting fellowship from the Academy of Motion
Picture Arts and Sciences and wrote and directed “Blue Car.”
The movie received enough attention at Sundance Film Festival that
it sold to Disney’s Miramax Films and is slated for release May 2.
“It’s exceeded my wildest expectations,” Moncrieff said. “I always
thought that women would respond to it more than men. But a lot of
men have ... let me know that it moved them quite a lot, that in some
ways I was telling their story of growing up with divorced parents.”
“Blue Car” stars Burbank resident Agnes Bruckner, who plays an
18-year-old aspiring poet with absent parents who is inspired and
mentored by her English teacher.
“She had amazing presence and focus, and seemed to have an
emotional connection to the character of Meg,” Moncrieff said of
Bruckner, who was 15 when making the film. She is 18 now.
Since making “Blue Car,” Bruckner has been busy -- shooting films
with Val Kilmer, Bill Pullman and Anne Archer, as well as talking
with executives about other projects.
“I’ve definitely gotten a lot more meetings with great people and
people high up,” Bruckner said. “My life hasn’t really changed, my
career has. I’ve gotten a lot more respect as an actress.”
Bruckner credits her Burbank acting teacher Andrew Magarian for
helping to instill a solid work ethic.
“He showed me that acting is not all fun and games,” Bruckner
said. “It’s actually hard work.”
Meanwhile, Moncrieff’s directing career is soaring. She has formed
a production company, directed an episode of “Six Feet Under” and
been given the green light from Miramax on another script.
“I actually think that in the independent world, things are pretty
open for women,” Moncrieff said. “The types of films I am interested
in don’t require [$100-million budgets]. I’m interested in telling
more character-driven dramas.”