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Laura SturzaWhen she played Cassandra Benedict Lockridge...

Laura Sturza

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.

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“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

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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.”

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“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

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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.”


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