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10th annual Big Apple Film Festival proudly presented honorary Spirit of New York award to actor Elias Koteas

Elias Koteas

The 10th annual Big Apple Film festival was proud to present our honorary Spirit of New York Award to actor Elias Koteas. The award was presented following the screening of the film "Jake Squared", which stars Koteas, as well as Mike Vogel, Virginia Madsen, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jane Seyymour and directed by Howard Goldberg.

Elias Koteas was born on March 11, 1961, in Montreal, Canada. Both his parents are of Greek descent. Elias attended Vanier College in Montreal before leaving to attend the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City in 1981, of which he is a graduate. He also attended the Actors Studio in New York City, where he studied acting under Ellen Burstyn and Peter Masterson. His film debut was in One Magic Christmas (1985). He has also appeared on stage in "Kiss of the Spider Woman," "Death of a Salesman," "Bent" and "The Cherry Orchard." In 1989 he was nominated for a Genie (Canada's Academy Award) for best actor in Malarek (1988), a true story in which he plays a troubled street-kid-turned reporter for a Canadian newspaper. A somewhat of a breakthrough role for Elias happened in 1990, when he got the role of vigilante Casey Jones in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990) and its sequels. He is one of Canada's most popular actors and frequently appears in films by Canadian directors Atom Egoyan and David Cronenberg. It was Cronenberg's controversial movie Crash (1996) that had Cannes all abuzz in 1996. Elias played Vaughan, a self-appointed "mad scientist" with an unusual fetish for Koteas, adding six more roles to his resume. As Capt. James Staros, the commanding officer of Charlie Company in The Thin Red Line (1998), he brought sensitivity and compassion to his portrayal of a man who cared about the safety of his men--even at the risk of his own career. In 2000 he appeared in Lost Souls (2000), a thriller starring Winona Ryder, and starred on Broadway with Josh Brolin in the Sam Shepard play "True West."


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