Meet BIFF's Team
Kurt Patino grew up in Burbank, CA and runs Patino Management Company, a full-service Talent Management firm representing Film/TV actors. He produced the action-comedy feature film, “Double Threat,” starring Matthew Lawrence and Dawn Olivieri, which premiered in summer 2022. “Double Threat" was the sole indie feature amongst Hollywood blockbusters listed in the Amazon Prime “Top 10 in the US” category. He co-wrote & co-produced the comedy-adventure movie, "Tin Holiday," which was shot in London/Los Angeles and can now be viewed on Amazon Prime. He accepted an invitation to speak in Canada where he presented a TEDx talk on “How Fear Can Be A Four Letter Word For Success.” Kurt began his career as a Talent Agent and rose through the ranks to eventually become co-founder of 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 Sakura, Ayesha Curry, Molly Hagan, Barbara Niven, Kenneth Choi and former Oscar® nominee Patty McCormack. He’s a diehard sports fan and voracious reader who enjoys traveling with his wife and two sons.
Michele Frances Ortmann
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, Hawaiian and tap.
Anna Grace McNiven
Director of Social Media
Anna Grace McNiven is BIFF's Social Media strategist. 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 with include Sony, Ghostly, and Universal Music. Anna has been a film director and producer for a range of Insomniac music since 2018. Her love for storytelling and music progressed to further expanding her career into photography, writing, directing and producing. 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 attendees.
Stephanie Garvin is a producer and founder of ETM Pictures hailing from Lafayette Louisiana. 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. 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!” Stephanie contributed to the highly acclaimed film "The Trial of the Chicago 7" as a Co-Executive Producer. ETM Pictures next project in post-production is "Holiday Twist," a family-friendly Christmas-themed film written & directed by Stephanie.
Advisory Board Member
An LA native, Michelle Alexandria, began her career working in finance with high-net-worth individuals and major banks. After many years as a finance director, she began studying at the prestigious Beverly Hills Playhouse where she remained for several years. Within time she naturally gravitated towards the business side of the film industry. She has been a regular attendee at the major film festivals and markets since 2002, including the Cannes, AFM, Berlin, and Paris working in distribution and acquisitions for established film distribution companies. Michelle continues to represent film investors and filmmakers, working with them to obtain strong content according to the current market. Michelle's producing credits include feature family film First Dog starring Eric Roberts (The Dark Knight) and Priscilla Barnes (Three’s Company, Jane the Virgin), successfully remaining #1 on Redbox for several weeks. More recently she produced romantic comedy, Ask Me To Dance starring Briana Evigan of STEP UP 2.
Director of Web Media Services
Dustin Richardson is a screenwriter, novelist, and actor from Dublin, California. He has an Associate of Science in Film, Television, and Electronic Media, a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Media Studies, and a Minor in Women's and Gender Studies from Sonoma State University. He is the creator of Bad Reception, a YouTube Channel that focuses on raising awareness of an underrepresented neurological syndrome called Visual Snow, which has become quite successful in the VS community and works alongside the non-profit Visual Snow Initiative. Dustin had the honor of working on Bumblebee (2018) and Bill & Ted Face the Music (2020). He loves the feeling of being on set and a part of a production. Dustin is proud to be a part of BIFF and can't wait for this year's festival!
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.
Director of Marketing
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.
Director of Diversity & Student Outreach
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.
Director of Submissions and 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.
Advisory Board Member
Dionisio Tafoya is a multi-disciplined media visionary working in traditional cinema and developing digital immersive experiences for entertainment, educational and enterprise applications. He is the founder and President of Dionysus Creative, LLC, a creative media solutions company, co-founding board member of the Alliance of Entertainment Designers & Artists; Board Member, Trustee and Chair of Professional Development for the Art Director’s Guild, I.A.T.S.E. Local 800. He also sits on the advisory boards of the Burbank International Film Festival; California Department of Education’s Animation, Media and Entertainment Board; as well as the San Gabriel Valley K-12 Education Development Consortium.
Community Relations Director
Catherine Kleynen is a filmmaker and podcast producer who has dedicated her career to bringing compelling stories and unique voices to the screen. She holds a Master of Arts in Communications and Journalism from the VU University of Amsterdam and is a UCLA Extension Film Producing program graduate. Throughout her career, Catherine has worked on a range of projects, including notable animations such as The Sandman (2022), Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Adventure (2022), and Undone (2019). In addition to her work in production, Catherine is passionate about the film festival community. She has worked for a variety of local and international festivals, including the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, The International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, and SEEfest LA.
Driven by a desire to explore important social issues and promote understanding and empathy, Catherine is dedicated to creating films and documentaries that inspire and connect audiences.