LOS ANGELES – Noted Greek-American film producer Anthony Katagas, who has backed more than 30 films, hit the jackpot at the 2014 Academy Awards, winning an Oscar as one of the producers for the Civil War drama 12 Years A Slave that was in tight competition with a host of other movies.
Katagas has New York roots. His mother, Anastasia Kapsis was born in the United States and his father Stelios, who was born in Piraeus, came to Long Island in 1969 at age 31. Katagas’ brother, Alexander, lives in Astoria.
“I don’t have the words to describe the joy and happiness Anthony has given us. Even as a child he told us he was going to be famous and that everyone was going to talk about him, we didn’t really believe it,” his father Stylianos Katagas told The National Herald. “”I could never imagine that God would bless a humble immigrant like me to see his son to see his son win one award after another.”
Kataga’s mother was at the Oscars, along with Katagas’ wife Brandi and their two older children, Ella and Zoe were, but Stylianos was unable to travel to Los Angeles, so he watched the ceremony on television.
Katagas is known to readers of The National Herald since the autumn of 2006 when he chose Astoria for to be the backdrop for scenes in the 2008 film The Accidental Husband that starred Colin Firth and Uma Thurman.
Katagas and his wife have two other children, Emily, 6, and George, who is 2 ½ years old. The two youngest children watched on TV with their grandfather.
His aunt, Georgia Kapsis, married John Bastidis of Astoria, who has two brothers, while uncle Thanassi operates a business in Astoria and another, Classic Cleaners, on 29th St.
Katagas, a 1992 graduate of Western New England University in Springfield, Mass., began working in the business as an assistant director on independent films in 1997. Shortly thereafter he production managed his first film for Miramax, a low budget version of Hamlet.
In 1999 Katagas started Keep Your Head Productions which had in mind the producing and supporting independent film in New York City. He produced four film for the company including, Homework, which in 2004 earned him a nomination for an Independent Spirit Award,The Producers Award.
“We have been in contact with Anthony since hearing of this great news. We couldn’t be more proud.” said Kathy Pappas, Director of Alumni Relations for Western New England.
While on campus, Katagas played goalie and served as captain of the Golden Bears men’s lacrosse team. Coach Joel Castleman remembers inserting Katagas into the lineup as an untested freshman after the original starter left the team.
“Anthony’s energy and skills exploded on the field and he ended up playing in most of the remaining games that year,” says Castleman. “Anthony continued to play lacrosse for four years and remains a close friend of mine. He’s a very creative guy.”
Katagas has produced Killing Them Softly starring Brad Pitt, who was also a producer on the Oscar winner. Other Katagas films include The Big Wedding with Robert DeNiro, Robin Williams, Susan Sarandon and Diane Keaton; and The Immigrant starring Joaquin Phoenix.