First published in the Sept. 10 print issue of the Burbank Leader.
The Burbank International Film Festival kicked off festivities Thursday evening with a red-carpet event. The fun will continue through the weekend with dozens of film screenings, a sci-fi-themed after-party, and a closing-night gala and awards show. Movie-goers can catch screenings of independent films from countries around the world at the AMC 16 Theatres in Burbank.
Burbank native Tim Burton joined the festival line-up to present the inaugural “Tim Burton ‘Burbank Native’ Visionary Award.” The legendary filmmaker is sending the elevator back down with an award set to be given to a filmmaker currently living in Burbank who “shows unique imagination and creative flair in their filmmaking,” according to a statement from festival staff.
Burton, who grew up in Burbank, is perhaps best known for his original, dark and often quirky creative vision in films such as “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” “Beetlejuice” and “Edward Scissorhands.”
“As a Burbank native myself, I am pleased to be part of this year’s festival, with this new ‘Visionary Award’ going to a local Burbank filmmaker who shows unique imagination and creativity,” Burton said.
Festival President Kurt Patino, whose entertainment background stems over 20 years as a talent representative, is leading this year’s proceedings.
“Our lineup of movies this year will excite audiences,” Patino said. “That’s what great films do. They make us react viscerally to the stories and characters on the big screen… The Burbank International Film Festival presents films from every genre, so we’re sure movie-goers will find something to enjoy this year.”
The festival will present more than 30 awards in a variety of categories, with special awards honoring inclusion, social awareness and diversity. The closing awards ceremony will be held on Sunday and will be hosted by television director Christine Lakin, whose most recent credits include include “The Goldbergs,” “High School Musical” and the new “Life By Ella.”
Lakin will be joined on stage by celebrity presenters like composer Pinar Toprak of “Captain Marvel,” Autumn Reeser from “The O.C,” Julie Ann Emery of “Better Call Saul,” Jason Neese and Jamie Neese from Netflix’s “The Umbrella Academy,” Jim Piddock of “Best In Show” and Burbank City Mayor Jess Talamantes.
The opening film, “The Way Out,” starring Mike C. Manning, Jonny Beauchamp, and Ashleigh Murray, captures the struggle of a young man dealing with the loss of his abusive father.
Other movies on the line-up throughout the festival include the comedy feature, “RE-OPENING: A Lockdown Mockumentary,” “The Grand Bolero,” and “No More Goodbyes” from Emmy winner James Ganiere.
Braver audience members might want to catch horror-thriller “The Red Tide Massacre” from John A Russo of “Night of the Living Dead,” sci-fi horror-thriller feature “Liberty,” “The Day I Found A Girl In the Trash’ or horror-thriller film “They Crawl Beneath.”
For more information, visit burbankfilmfest.org.