2022 submissions are now being accepted
Danny Woodburn is an actor and comedian and is an activist for the disability Rights Movement. He works on stage, in film and television with 130 TV credits and over 28 film appearances. He is the son of a nurse and a professional golfer, and is a graduate of Philadelphia’s Temple University’s School of Film and Theater and recipient of their Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award. Danny achieved prominence on NBC’s sitcom Seinfeld, performing the role of Mickey Abbott, the volatile but lovable friend of Kramer. His character on Seinfeld was an important role for him, in the sense that the shows writing and portrayal of Mickey is positive and non-stereotypical. Danny has raised awareness of the continued derogatory and dehumanizing treatment of Little People in society and the media. He serves on the Performers With Disabilities Committee of the Screen Actors Guild. He was awarded the DREAM Award by the Disability Rights Legal Center as well as the 2010 Screen Actors Guild Harold Russell Award. He was keynote speaker at the RespectABILITY Conference and the Inclusion Network of Cincinnati, and has been active as both teacher and speaker for The Little People’s Research Fund, Actors For Autism, Media Access, American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) and the National ReelAbilities Film Festivals. We are proud to Honor Danny with this year’s “Diversity Award”.
Kurt Yaeger is an actor, advocate for Performers With Disabilities, a former professional Extreme Sports Athlete and a motorcycle enthusiast. He’s widely recognized for his character “Greg the Peg” on the FX original television series “Sons of Anarchy”. He’s also known for roles in “Quarry”, “Shooter”, “Shameless”, “NCIS”, and Dolphin Tale. Yaeger auditioned for a Nickelodeon/Clear Channel Communications live tour based on the popular cartoon show “Rocket Power”. What he thought to be an acting role turned out to be an athletic/stunt role. He was given the part. At the first day of rehearsals, the director found out that his BMX talent was at a professional level and incorporated it into the show. As a BMX rider, Yaeger gained the nickname “Crowbar” and acquired sponsors for his BMX riding, participating in tours and competing in events. But after experiencing many BMX-related injuries, he decided to go back to college to pursue a master’s degree in hydrogeology. In 2006, while attending school in San Francisco, he was in a motorcycle crash that resulted in multiple injuries. He hit a pole and went over a 40-foot embankment. His left leg was amputated, his pelvis and several ligaments were torn in half along with his bladder, seven vertebra were broken, his lungs collapsed, multiple ribs were broken, and he suffered a severe concussion. One year later, Yaeger made a full recovery, returning to his acting career. We are thrilled to have Kurt present this years “Diversity Award”.
He is best known as a movie auteur of horror and science fiction films – often containing a police procedural element. He has since concentrated mainly on screenwriting including the Joel Schumacher thriller Phone Booth, Cellular, and Captivity. Cohen returned to the directing chair for Mick Garris’ Masters of Horror TV series and directed the episode “Pick Me Up”. We are very pleased to present Larry Cohen with this years screenwriting award.
Ron Clements began his career as an animator for Hanna-Barbera. After a few months there, he was accepted into Disney’s Talent Development Program. Clements worked on a number of projects and made his feature debut as a character animator on both The Rescuers and Pete’s Dragon in 1977. In 1981, he became the supervising animator on The Fox and the Hound. Clements later teamed up with John Musker as story artists on The Black Cauldron. Clements making his directorial debut alongside Musker on the feature The Great Mouse Detective. This feature was based on a pre-Disney short made by Clements. Together, Musker and Clements wrote and directed a series of animated feature films including The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Hercules, The Princess and the Frog and Treasure Planet. This dynamic duo are currently working together once again on a new animated feature Moana, a Polynesian tale involving the island folk and the idols made famous the world over,” and is planned for a future release.
John Musker first met Ron Clements during the production of The Fox and the Hound, where he worked as a character animator under Clements and Cliff Nordberg. Musker later worked with Clements again on the ambitious animated film The Black Cauldron in 1985. In 1986 he made his directorial debut with Clements on the feature The Great Mouse Detective. Together, Musker and Clements wrote and directed The Little Mermaid with Oscar-winning songs by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, the film was a huge success, bringing back critical and commercial clout for feature animation. The two later wrote, directed, and produced Aladdin, Hercules, Treasure Planet, and The Princess and the Frog. To celebrate the 25th anniversary of The Little Mermaid, a special presentation will be screened during the family-friendly day of festival programming. The Burbank International Film festival is proud to honor Ron Clements and John Muskers’ artistic vision and talent as two of this years special Award Honorees.
Lou was only 21 when he won his first Mr. Universe title, a Guinness Book record that stands to this day. At age 22 he won again, and remains the only person to win consecutive titles! Lou carried the world of bodybuilding to new heights and himself to superstardom with the film documentary, Pumping Iron, which chronicled the fabled exploits of the youngest and only person to ever become Mr. Universe twice in a row. In less than a year after Pumping Iron, Lou became a cult legend as the title character of the hit show The Incredible Hulk. Other TV credits include “The King Of Queens”, “My Wife and Kids” and did the voice of The Hulk in the animated series “The Incredible Hulk”. Lou has starred in over fifty feature films including “I Love You Man”, “Cage”, “Cage II”, “All’s Fair”, “Seven Magnificent Gladiators”, “Godson”, “Hercules”, “The Adventures of Hercules” and in the MARVEL Superhero feature films, “The Avengers”, “The Hulk”, “The Incredible Hulk” and the upcoming “Avengers: Age of Ultron”. Lou recently released his autobiography, “My Incredible Life as the Hulk”. Lou also completed the training program and became a “Deputy” for the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. In addition, Lou is regularly invited by universities, corporate executives, and numerous other major event holders to give motivational and inspiring speeches all over the world. We are proud to honor Lou Ferrigno with this years “Diversity Award” as a spokesman and advocate for the deaf.
Stan came to Hollywood in 1969 as an aspiring actor. While waiting for his big break, and with a young family to support, Winston began working as an apprentice makeup artist under the head of the Disney Studios makeup department, Robert J. Schiffer. While at Disney, that fascination became a passion and Winston found himself with a new career. Over the next 40 years, Stan Winston led his team of modern-day Renaissance artists as they created one iconic character after another, from Aliens to Predators, Terminators to T-Rexes, Iron Men to Avatars. In return, Winston received ten Academy Award® nominations and won four. He is one of three effects artists in Hollywood history to be honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. One of the preeminent pioneers in modern creature effects history, Stan Winston believed in the “Hybrid” approach – combining robotics, digitally-enhanced makeups, sophisticated puppetry, and CGI, to create fantasy characters that defied the imagination, and truly lived. In addition to his effects work, Winston directed three films, “Pumpkinhead”, “A Gnome Named Gnorm”, and “T2 3-D; Battle Across Time”. In his private life, Winston was a dedicated family man, advocate of education, and philanthropist who sat on the board of directors of Free Arts for Abused Children. We are proud to posthumously Honor Stan Winston and present the “Visionary Award” to his son Matt who is continuing his great work in the field of FX.
Matt grew up in a world of character makeups and creature effects. While in high school, he began working at Stan Winston Studio and learning the FX ropes. This led to puppeteering work on projects that would become iconic cinema classics including James Cameron’s Aliens and Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park. After graduating from Yale University, Winston returned to his father’s workshop to learn CGI in the fledgling SWS digital department. While the elder Winston’s early ambitions as an actor led him to character-effects makeup work, his son took the opposite path and after working in effects to begin his career, turned to developing characters as an actor and later as a screenwriter. Matt’s acting credits include memorable roles in “Little Miss Sunshine”, “About Schmidt”, “AI: Artificial Intelligence” and “Fight Club”. TV credits include “2 Broke Girls,” “Raising Hope,” “Castle,” “Desperate Housewives,” “Men of a Certain Age,” “Scrubs”, “Six Feet Under” and “Enterprise”. Family has always been foremost, and after his father’s untimely passing in 2008, the entire Winston family worked together to found the Stan Winston School of Character Arts to fulfill Stan’s dream of sharing and teaching the craft of character creation to a new generation of monster makers.
Loken is best known starring opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger as the dangerously beautiful ‘TX’ (Terminatrix) in “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines”. Kristanna has two new films for release this year; “Mercenaries” A female driven action movie and the erotic thriller, “Maid For You”. Other feature films include “Black Rose”, Sony’s “Swat: Firefight”, and “Blood Rayne” based on the popular video game. On television, Loken guest starred on Showtime’s critically-acclaimed “The L-Word” and her SyFy mini-series “Dark Kingdom: The Dragon King” was the highest rated mini-series for the network to date. In 2011, Kristanna started LokenMann Productions and released their first feature “Fighting For Freedom. Her Production Companies goal is to seek humanitarian based, socially aware stories that educate as well as entertain.
John’s first major film role was starring opposite Robert Deniro and Christopher Walken in the “The Deer Hunter”, which garnered five Academy Awards. Another legendary role was playing Claude Bukowski in the film adaptation of the Broadway hit, “Hair”. Other feature films include Terrence Malick’s war film, “The Thin Red Line”, “The Onion Field”, “White Squall” and “The Godfather Part III”. On stage, John appeared on Broadway in David Mamet’s iconic play, “American Buffalo” with Robert Duvall. In more recent years, John’s work has been seen on the small screen as well. He was the recurring character of Donald Lydecker in James Cameron’s series “Dark Angel”, Captain Ransom in the two part episode “Equinox” on “Star Trek: Voyager” and a recurring role as Henry Scudder in the HBO series “Carnivàle”. Other notable TV credits include Guest Starring roles on “Fringe”, “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”, “The District”, “Everwood” and “Law & Order: Criminal Intent”. He is currently starring in the western thriller “The Sorrow” with Michael Madsen and has several upcoming films including the dark romantic comedy “Hit List”, “Bullett” and can currently be seen playing the President of the United States in the SYFY Original movie “Bermuda Tentacles”. John will be presenting the award to this years recipient for acting.
June Squibb’s most recent film appearance was in Alexander Payne’s Nebraska as Kate Grant starring opposite Bruce Dern. She was nominated for best supporting actress at the Academy Awards, Golden Globe Awards, Sag-Aftra Awards, Critic’s Choice Awards, and the Independent Spirit Awards. She had also appeared in director Payne’s earlier film About Schmidt opposite Jack Nicholson. Other films include Welcome to Mooseport, In and Out, Scent of a Woman with Al Pacino and Far From Heaven. Her most recent Indie film (currently in post production) is I’ll Be Seeing You with Blythe Danner. She recently appeared on TV in Getting On, Girls, Glee, Devious Maids, and the upcoming HBO Comedy Special, 8 Days in Hell. On Broadway, June played Electra, the stripper, in Gypsy with Ethel Merman, Happy Time (the musical), Gorey Stories and Sacrilege. We are proud and excited to have Oscar Nominee June Squibb as a presenter at this years Awards Show.
Kristen has been following her passion as an actress from the early age of 17 when she was cast in The Sausage Factory, a wonderfully quirky series for MTV. Currently, Kristen has a recurring role as “Ima” on the critically acclaimed FX series, Sons Of Anarchy and played “Morgan Hollingsworth” on NBC’s popular daytime drama series, Days of Our Lives, as well as many memorable guest appearances on hit TV shows including, The OC, CSI:Miami, CSI:NY, and The Glades. Recent projects include a hilarious pilot for CBS called Friend Me, as well as a terrifying short Girl at the Door directed by Academy Award Nominee Colin Campbell. Kristen recently won “Best Actress” at the Claremont Film Festival for her short “Love In Our Time” which she co-produced. She was able to show her comedic side while playing Charlie Sheen’s love interest in Anger Management, and is looking forward to the release of her most recent film, Another Stateside, which portrays the often dark reality service men and woman face adjusting to home life after returning from war.
Ronn Moss was born and raised in Los Angeles and grew up surrounded by theatre and the rock & roll music world. At age 11, he learnied to play the drums, guitar and electric bass. In 1976, Moss joined creative forces with fellow singer and guitarist Peter Beckett, guitarist/keyboardist J.C Crowley, and drummer John Friesen to form the musical group Player. The group was signed by music impresario Robert Stigwood, and RSO Records and the first three weeks of release, their single “Baby Come Back” occupied the #1 spot on the national pop charts. Moss then made the move from music to television, and was offered the role of “Ridge Forrester” on the soap opera, The Bold and the Beautiful. The show is broadcast in nations all over the world and Ronn has been a Soap Star ever since, with thousands of fans around the globe. Moss frequently travels overseas to promote the show and his music and in 2010 was a participant on the Italian version of Dancing with the Stars, finishing second with his partner, Sara Di Vaira. More recently, Moss also released his new solo album, Uncovered
Crystal allen has landed many leading roles including Crooked Arrows opposite Brandon Routh and Ghost Storm with Carlos Bernard, both released last year. She just wrapped season 2 of Canooks as a series regular, a half hour comedy soon to air. She is also known for her portrayal of the Orion Slave Girl D’nesh on Enterprise and as Navigator Yara in the popular independent film, Of Gods and Men. Allen’s additional notable performances were on hit TV shows such as Castle, Body of Proof, Haven, Prison Break, Desperate Housewives, Boston Legal, Navy NCIS, Modern Men, Sex and the City, Sopranos, ED, and the feature film Maid in Manhattan. She was also well received as the lead in the Hallmark movie Falling in Love with the Girl Next Door. Allen has also starred in the latest two sequels to their already hit films Anaconda 3 & 4. Crystal has been a guest to the Monaco TV Festival in past years and in 2013 was a member of the festival jury.
Isaac C. Singleton Jr. not only makes a living playing big, scary guys, but is also known for his comedic wit. The 6-foot-5 actor can be seen as the menacing Bo’sun in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. For Pirates, he admits his character only had two emotions in the film, angry and annoyed. Other roles include the air marshal in the feature film Anger Management, an evil alien in Galaxy Quest and an ape-soldier in Planet of the Apes. Isaac is extremely well-spoken and articulate and has the kind of resonating bass voice reminiscent of James Earl Jones. Isaac has done voice-over work on over 100 video games including Transformers, Halo 4, Street Fighter 3 & 4 and World of Warcraft. On television, his dramatic credits include The X-Files, Crossing Jordan, Marshall Law and Wanted to name a few. Isaac also showed off his comedic chops on hit comedy shows including The Sarah Silverman Project, Arliss, Sabrina The Teenage Witch and MAD-TV.
Taron Lexton is a South African writer, director and producer known for his unique visual aesthetic and the high emotional impact of his work. At age 19 he became the youngest person to graduate the Los Angeles Film School. Shortly after graduation he directed and produced the Human Rights advocacy short film “United”, winner of the New York Independent Film Festival. In 2008 Taron produced and directed the short film “Struck”, official selection of over 35 film festivals including the Cannes Online Film Festival. Over the past 8 years Taron has directed and produced over 60 commercials, music videos, and short films which have aired to more than 600 million people and been featured on MTV, FOX, CNN, and many other major networks. Taron recently finished working on the major feature film “The Squeeze” where he worked as the Director of Photography. He currently lives in Los Angeles, California with his wife, actress Marisol Nichols. In 2011, BIFF created the “Awareness Award” to honor individuals that utilize the art of filmmaking to not only educate, but transform the publics awareness concerning socially conscious issues. We are honored to be presenting Taron Lexton with this years “Awareness Award”
Charlene Tilton began her career in television on series such as “Happy Days“and “Eight Is Enough”. She made her first film appearance alongside Jodie Foster in “Freaky Friday”. In 1978, Tilton made a cameo appearance in the John Milius film “Big Wednesday”. A year later, she landed the role of the sly, vixenish, Lucy Ewing in the popular television series “Dallas”. After “Dallas” fame, she appeared on 500 magazine covers and drew 65 million viewers for her 1981 TV wedding. Tilton is also a singer; her own vocals were heard on an episode of “Dallas”. She released a dance-pop single, “C’est La Vie”, which became a hit in several countries in Europe. Tilton was the guest host on “Saturday Night Live“ and spoofed the famed Dallas episode “Who Shot J.R.?” She appeared as herself in an episode of “Married… with Children” where her involvement with the “Abdominizer” was spoofed. In addition, she has appeared in several spoof movies, such as “The Silence of the Hams”, “Superhero Movie” and “Paranormal Calamity”. In 2005, she appeared in the British reality television show “The Farm”. In 2012, Tilton joined the cast of TNT‘s “Dallas” revival series, and reprised her role as Lucy Ewing in multiple episodes.