The Burbank International Film Festival (BIFF) Advisory Board and Board of Directors is comprised of talented industry professionals and production executives who work within the studio system. Our festival judges, screening committees, and even many of our volunteers are respected professionals in the motion picture and television industry. BIFF offers over 30 awards in a variety of categories, with special awards honoring inclusion, social awareness and diversity.
The Burbank International Film Festival is a California non-profit organization operating as a 501(C)(3) tax-exempt corporation.
Our mission is to promote and support inclusive and culturally-diverse perspectives and content. With constantly changing technology, it brings new opportunities to tell unique stories, honor independent filmmakers and to provide a platform for appreciative and informed discussion of their work. BIFF continues to cultivate independent film, to create, develop, discover and celebrate extraordinary filmmaking from around the world. BIFF sets a standard for excellence and recognizes the important work of emerging talent to not only provide a gateway to expand their careers in the entertainment industry, but to help filmmakers with funding and distribution for their cinematic art.
THE MARSHALL FAMILY
The Marshall advisory board include’s the late Garry Marshall’s widow Barbara, his daughter Kathleen, his son Scott and his former producing partner, Heather Hall. BIFF festival director Jeff Rector (a friend of Garry’s since working together on Pretty Woman) had the idea to create a special award to keep his memory alive after his passing in 2016. Together they created The Garry Marshall Spirit Award to honor his generous philanthropy, his sense of humor and his incredible talent as a writer, director, producer and actor. The first award was presented to The Marshall Family who agreed to collaboratively choose a new recipient each year. Other recipients include NBC weathercaster/comedian Fritz Coleman, Criminal Minds actor Joe Mantegna, Happy Days actress Marion Ross, and this year, BIFF is proud to be honoring actress, singer and activist, Yvette Nicole Brown. In 1997, Garry founded The Falcon Theatre in Burbank, providing innovative performances, storytelling activities and educational opportunities and was reestablished as The Garry Marshall Theatre in 2017. BIFF is grateful for The Marshall Family’s continued support.
Jeffrey Maynard has 22 years of industry experience in a variety of roles, including as a producer, studio executive, post producer, post supervisor and UPM. After serving as a senior studio executive in charge of worldwide post-production for a number of years, he decided to shift his attention back to his first love of producing and the company he co-founded: Gold Pictures, Inc. Mr. Maynard is an innovator with a wealth of experience in the areas of physical and post-production as well as workflow, digital content, and archiving. He is an expert at managing budgets and personnel in order to bring films in on time and often under budget. Mr. Maynard is actively involved in the development and integration of new and emerging technologies as they relate to the entertainment industry and is frequently asked to share his knowledge and visionary thinking. His consulting services remain in high demand from filmmakers, vendors and studios. He has become known as a “fixer” who can rescue the most complicated and difficult productions. Previous clients of his include Netflix, Europa Corp and Relativity Media, among others. Jeff is a Directors Guild of America UPM member and a U.S. Army Veteran.
Jenni Gold is considered a triple threat in the world of entertainment. Her advanced editing and screenwriting skills serve as a foundation for her directorial efforts which have received multiple awards and have placed her among the best in her field Director Member of the Directors Guild of America. Jenni is the co-founder of Gold Pictures, Inc. a development / production entity established in 2001. In addition to directing feature films, short films, PSA’s, and music videos; her star-studded feature documentary “CinemAbility,” recently premiered on Turner Classic Movies. Jenni has also co-written and is developing narrative feature films including a suspense thriller titled “Adrenaline” and the family film “Lucky.” She also recently directed the comedy/horror feature film “Aaah Roach!” which is currently in post. Jenni is a co-chair for the Media Access Awards and she is on the advisory board for the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. Jenni has Muscular Dystrophy and has used a wheelchair since the age of seven. She went to film school at the University of Central Florida where she graduated Summa Cum Laude with two BA degrees, one in Motion Picture Production and another in Radio and Television Broadcasting. Her passion for storytelling and entertaining audiences is clearly evident in her work and achievements.
Gigi’s career began as a baby in MGM’s “Madame Curie” with Walter Pigeon and Greer Garson, and has spanned over 6 decades…”Enchantment” for Samuel Goldwyn Studios, with David Niven and Theresa Wright, was the beginning of a studio contract and a very busy acting career. Universal Studios cast her in several films, starting with “Has Anybody Seen My Gal”starring Charles Coburn, Piper Laurie, and Rock Hudson. It was also the first film of James Dean, who had one small scene as a soda jerk! Other films include “Family Honeymoon” with Fred MacMurray and Claudette Colbert, and “Bonzo Goes to College”, “There’s Always Tomorrow”, starring Barbara Stanwick and Fred MacMurray with a standout role playing the daughter of Fredrick March in “The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit”. Her television Guest Star Roles included “Gunsmoke”, “Stagecoach West”, and her favorite role of Heller in “The Rifleman” with Chuck Connors. Other TV credits include “My Three Sons”, “Father Knows Best”, “The Donna Reed Show”, and “The Brady Bunch”. Gigi has been active in the March of Dimes and many health organizations, and was excited to share her talents and experience with the many students she taught, first at Notre Dame High School and then for 23 years at her former high school, Immaculate Heart in Hollywood. She retired from teaching in 2006, and has appeared in several films, and voiced several animated features, including “Fly Me To The Moon”. Last year, she was honored by Cinecon Film Festival with their Legacy Award. Gigi was one of the first fifty stars to be honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame!
Board of Directors
Jeff Rector – President and Artistic Director
Jeff Rector is an award-winning writer, director, actor and producer. His feature film “Revamped” which he wrote, directed and produced, is currently being distributed worldwide and is a feature length version of his first short film “Fatal Kiss”, which won awards for “Best Screenplay”, “Best Director”, “Best Picture” and was one of the first short films ever acquired by HBO. Jeff has had the pleasure of working with most of the major studios, television and cable networks. Jeff hosted and executive produced SFN: Science Fiction News for PBS, is a voting member of the Television Academy (EMMY Awards), and is the official spokesman for the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films that produce the annual Saturn Awards. Jeff’s many years in the television and motion picture industry has earned him over 100 feature film and television credits on shows including “American Horror Story”, “How I Met Your Mother”, “The Bold & the Beautiful”, “One Life To Live”, “Beverly Hills 90210” and “NYPD Blue” to name a few. Jeff’s community involvement includes serving on The Burbank Cultural Arts Commission for four years and The Toluca Lake Neighborhood Council for five years. He continues to support other non-profits and a variety charitable organizations including The Frontline Foundation that feeds the homeless on Skid Row.
Michele Ortmann – Secretary
Michele Frances Ortmann began working with the Burbank International Film Festival in 2019 and joined the Board of Directors as Secretary in 2020. Originally from Pittsburgh, PA., Michele earned her Bachelors of Science in Business Management degree from Carlow University. Michele then moved to Los Angeles in 2001 to pursue a career in television and film production. Her passion for film and television led her to Hollywood to work as a producer. Michele has worked as an administrator for Disney Studios in the television programming department as well an executive assistant in the Business Affairs department for Warner Bros. in Burbank. Michele’s extensive business background has made her invaluable to producers who rely on her strong project management and organizational skills. Michele is the second Vice-President for the American Legion Post 43 Auxiliary in Los Angeles. In her spare time, Michele is a very talented dancer, experienced in a variety of dancing styles including jazz, salsa, swing, waltz, tango, Hawaiin and tap.
Larry Thornton – Treasurer
Larry Thornton is an Alumnus of UCLA’s Doctor of Business Administration. Dr. Larry Thornton is currently CEO of the Accounting and Business Consulting Firm, Thornton and Associates and was a consultant and contracted with the Department of Energy, Department of Labor and the Department of Justice, in both Los Angeles and Washington DC. He has provided services for the Mayor of Los Angeles and currently consults for the LA City Council regarding veteran housing and drug and alcohol treatment centers. In addition, he sits on several business and non-profit boards and is CFO of Ridgeview Ranch Treatment Center, a drug and alcohol treatment facility on Altadena Ca and Pasadena California. Larry has received many awards and accolades from the Governor and Mayor’s office and was honored as businessman of the year in the San Fernando Valley. He is a Buffalo Soldier and National Treasurer for the organization overseeing financials for 45 chapters throughout 38 states. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his family, skeet and trap shooting, riding his horse throughout the San Fernando Valley and participating in the annual Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade.
Anna McNiven – Director of Social Media
Anna Grace McNiven is the Secretary and social media strategist for several years, initially starting as a festival judge. Originally from Australia, Anna was selected as a Board Member in 2016. Her passion for film, music and entertainment has led her to a career in those arenas both in front of and behind the camera. She began her career in the performing arts as a dancer which developed into theater and then working in the film and television industry in both Australia and the US. She has been an on-camera host for several music, entertainment and health channels. Companies Anna’s worked for include Noise Farm, Waypoint, Level 3 and music videos for artists such as Young Thug, Phantogram , Greta Van Fleet, Tom Truise and with labels Sony, Ghostly, and Universal Music. Also Anna is a film director and producer for a range of music festivals for Insomniac since 2018. Her love for storytelling and music progressed to further expanding her career into photography, writing, directing and producing. Her experience in the industry and ability to manage the festival’s social media is a great asset. Anna is well-versed in a variety of social media platforms which not only promotes the festival internationally, but creates unique social engagement with the filmmakers, sponsors, advertisers and festival attendees.
Lana Ford – Director of Logistics
Lana Ford blends her experiences of civic, corporate and artistic talent to join the impressive team of BIFF Board Members. Following a ten year career with Fortune 50 company BellSouth Communications, Lana moved to LA to continue adding to her list of adventures, such as marketing manager for the Falcon Theatre (now the GARRY MARSHALL THEATRE) in Burbank, as an elected official serving 6 years on the Studio City Neighborhood Council, President of Phi Mu Alumnae-LA, President Southern California Council of Phi Mu Fraternity, Adviser to Phi Mu Sorority-CSUN, all while sprinkling area Theatres with performances in various roles, including KING ALFONSO in “The Tempest” and AMANDA in “For Whom The Southern Belle Tolls.” She currently works with independent casting director Aaron Griffith, is a Talent Executive for The Saturn Awards and served on the 2017 SAG Nominating Committee. She has written a civil war epic based on a true story.
Brad Bucklin – Director of Submissions & Programming
Brad Bucklin received a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Theater from Windham College. He worked as an actor on such notable shows as “One Day at a Time,” “Waverly Wonders” and “Jurassic Park”. He was a partner at The Empty Stage Theater where he co-wrote the hilarious screenplay, “Sex and the Modern Marriage.” He has also produced the critically acclaimed sketch shows, “Traditional Female Roles I & II” and co-directed “Heart Mummers and Brain Matter.” For nine years, Brad taught Editing Aesthetics and Story at the post-production school Video Symphony and for over 20 years he has assisted individuals in preparing for the entertainment job market.
Amy Foell – Director of LGBTQ Programming/Internships
Amy Foell is an educational consultant specializing in workforce readiness. Her clients include Pasadena Unified School District and the San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership. Amy has been providing the Burbank International Film festival with student interns since 2015. She completed a television writer’s certificate through UCLA Extension and has written for a variety of clients including: Television Du Monde Ltd., Bold TV, Millennium Concepts, Promark Television and more. Amy is a staunch advocate for human rights and the environment. Amy is an active member of Surfrider Foundation.
Kurt Patino – Board Member/Celebrity Liaison
Kurt Patino is a native Angeleno and grew up in Burbank, CA. He runs Patino Management Company (PMC), a full service Talent Management firm focusing on Film/TV actors. Kurt began his career as a Talent Agent and rose through the ranks to eventually co-create the very successful Defining Artists Talent Agency. In his over twenty-year career as a Talent Representative, Kurt has guided the careers of well-known performers such as Rami Malek, America Ferrera, Kelly Stables, Nichole Bloom, Ayesha Curry, Molly Hagan and former Oscar® nominee Patty McCormack. His stand up comedy clients have performed on Amazon Prime Comedy Specials and “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.” Kurt is a graduate of the University of Southern California. He wrote and produced the Sci-Fi/Horror web series Soul Fire Rising distributed by STARZ Digital Media and streamed on HULU. Kurt also co-wrote & co-produced the feature film, Tin Holiday, which was shot in London and Los Angeles. It won Best Story at the London International Film Festival, and was Nominated for Best Feature Film at the Nice International Film Festival. Kurt recently returned from Canada where he presented a TEDx talk on “How Fear Can Be A Four Letter Word For Success.” Kurt is a diehard baseball fan and voracious reader who enjoys traveling with his wife and two sons.