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The Burbank International Film Festival is a California non-profit organization operating as a 501(C)(3) tax-exempt corporation.

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.


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.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Stephanie Garvin is a producer and founder of ETM Pictures and hails from Lafayette Louisiana. Stephanie has moved around between UT, CA, TX, AZ, MN, OH, PA, IL and CA. She laughs when someone asks “Where are you from?” She says ”Which month and year?” “The best part about moving around the country is having many friends across the nation.” Her many life experiences lend unique perspectives to her screenwriting and storytelling. She has extensive business experience as both a Financial Advisor and entrepreneur, running six separate businesses. A Fortune 500 Executive set the tone for Stephanie to enter the entertainment industry as a seasoned professional. Her work with ETM Pictures focuses on inspirational projects that inspire human emotional growth. “I am always looking for a way to make the world a kinder place. I live here too!” Most recently Stephanie contributed to the highly acclaimed film The Trial of the Chicago 7 as a Co-Executive Producer. ETM Pictures next project in development is Holiday Twist, a family-friendly Christmas-themed film (written by Stephanie) and is currently pitching it to major production studios.



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.