Sunday, September 23, 2007

Quick VA (and related) Update

Hey everyone, in the next couple days we will be uploading a lot of commercials and a new edition of when American Bands Appear on Japanese Television, and you will not be disappointed with the latter! I think this is our best find yet! Hopefully it will get you over a lot of sorrows over the sad news with Geneon. A lot of fans are wondering what is going to happen to the anime classics Geneon has rights over such as Serial Experiments Lain, Akira, Tenchi, Trigun, and other hot hits. We're still going to keep an eye on the situation in the hopes that we hear of a distributor soon.

In the meantime, there are a few quick sightings that we need to let you all know about!

We mourn with all you Emilie-Claire Barlow (Sailor Mars #2, Sailor Venus #2) fans! Her character, Courtney, was voted off the island in the animated reality cartoon, Total Drama Island. Fans can check out a couple of clips of Courtney and Duncan here and here. We thought she would have lasted a bit longer. Now we are rooting for Gwen!

The recent Barbie movies have a connection to anime. The voice actors recorded for the film in Canada, and have featured actors such as Kelly Sheridan (Hitomi from Escaflowne) as Barbie, and others like Kirby Morrow (Van from Escaflowne, Miroku from InuYasha), and Cathy Weseluck (Kagome's Mother from InuYasha, and who could forget the elusive Cybersix?). Well, now these terrible movies have a connection to Sailor Moon. Currently on a store shelf almost everywhere is Barbie as the Island Princess. Unfortunately I had to sit through this movie last weekend watching it with a few young'uns. I'm going to spare you all from any plot details, it's pretty much a cross between Cinderella and childhood amnesia. But unless you are okay with listening to someone break into a song every few minutes, believing that a person can understand every language of each animal, or watching some profusely lifeless and plastic computer animation, avoid this film at all costs. Susan Roman (Sailor Jupiter) plays the elephant Tika, and though her acting in this is commendable, this movie is not. If you still don't believe us, here's a trailer.

And, here comes an article from our VA Vault from Setpember of 2000, all about Stephanie Morgenstern (Sailor Venus #1)! You'll get to find out where she got her start, and at the end makes mention of her hit short film from sometime later, Remembrance.

Actor of many languages, maker of many films

Stephanie Morgenstern, a former Montrealer now living in Toronto, says she was thrilled to land a substantial supporting role as a French-speaking Norwegian in Maelstrom, Denis Villeneuve's parable of love, death, guilt and atonement that takes its cue from a talking fish.

"French filmmakers seem to be much less dominated by the American model," she said, "in style and subject matter and in the way that they direct. I think they're much more expressive of themselves."

And they're not afraid to take risks. Villeneuve "has fabulated this huge Norwegian presence in Montreal," Morgenstern said. This includes, among other things, a sauna scene in which two women are overheard speaking Norwegian. "I think he wanted to soak the whole film in this mythic, Norwegian, Viking, operatic grandeur."

Morgenstern's character is the comic-relief foil and trusty friend who tries to raise the hapless heroine out of a severe depression. Her performance is seamless, as usual. "I think my ambiguous accent is beginning to pay off."

As further proof of her versatility, she also appeared in an English-language film at Montreal's World Film Festival that ended Monday night -- a 15-minute short called Passengers, directed by Francine Zuckerman. It's a poignant piece about a lesbian (Morgenstern) who attends her father's funeral, full of regret that she never came out to him.

In Maelstrom, playing a grad student worried about a thesis wasn't that difficult, Morgenstern said. She's been there, done that.

Born in Geneva, Switzerland, she was raised in Montreal and studied at McGill University. She moved to Toronto 10 years ago to study social and political thought at York University. Her master's thesis was on "Epistemic autonomy of mass-media audiences."

She got her start in theatre with Clare Shapiro's Creations Etc., doing original bilingual shows with other teenagers. This led to a stint in French television on a children's program. At McGill, she appeared in theatre productions. At Montreal's Centaur Theatre, she was seen in Quiet in the Land, Vassa, and, in 1993, Look Back in Anger.

By then she was already commuting from Toronto, where she now lives with her husband, actor Mark Ellis.

Although she's been active in Toronto theatre, in both English and French, and made her Stratford debut as Hermia in A Midsummer Night's Dream in 1993, she's currently seeking her challenges elsewhere. "I made a choice about four years ago," she says, "to take a break from theatre."

In addition to acting in films such as The Sweet Hereafter (1997) and Oh! Revoir Julie (1998), she has taken to making them herself, with a little help from brother Mark Morgenstern. They began with a short titled Curtain or Rideau, a backstage theatre romp shot at the National Theatre School a few years ago. After being shown at Montreal's World Film Festival, it was picked up by 25 other festivals worldwide and was nominated for a 1996 Genie Award.

Their next was Shooter, about the paparazzi. It won an award at a festival in Houston. She and her husband are now working on a film about Second World War espionage and the role of Canadian spies.

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