The Burbank International Film Festival 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. Our festival awards categories mirror the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, and The Annie Awards.

Mission Statement

Our mission is to promote up-and-coming filmmakers by providing a gateway to expand their careers in the entertainment industry. We shine a light on the unknown talent of today, helping them become the celebrated filmmakers of tomorrow. Not only do we actively champion independent filmmaking, we are one of the few, if not the only film festival in the world that offers film distribution seminars to help filmmakers guide their cinematic vision toward profitability.

The Burbank International Film Festival is a California non-profit organization operating as a 501C3 tax-exempt corporation.

Board of Directors
Jeff Rector – President and Festival Director

Jeff is an award-winning filmmaker and actor. His feature film “Revamped” which he wrote, directed and produced, is currently being distributed worldwide and is available on iTunes, Netflix, Blockbuster and VOD. Revamped 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 Hosts and Executive Produces the webseries, SFN: Science Fiction News, is a member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and is the official spokesman for the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & and Horror Films that produce the Annual Saturn Awards. Jeff served his community for five years on The Toluca Lake Neighborhood Council, as well as other charitable organizations and committees.

Jennifer Olympia – Treasurer

Jennifer has worked for Sony Pictures Entertainment for the last fifteen years as an International Theatrical Forecast Manager. Duties include generating and analyzing quarterly forecast reports of theatrical revenue for over 30 major countries. Before that, Jennifer was the Senior Financial Analyst for Sony’s Home Entertainment Division. As a Senior Accountant for Adler, Green and Hassen, Jennifer participated in year end audits, prepared and filed tax returns, extensions and other tax related duties. Jennifer’s interests include running, reading and yoga, and is proud to share her expertise as the Treasurer for The Burbank International Film Festival.

Jill George – Secretary

Jill is an experienced marketing professional having worked for entertainment, media, and advertising departments for major film studios, distributors, and brand partners. Her key accounts include Disney, Warner Bros., Universal, Paramount, Dreamworks, 20th Century Fox, Sony, MGM and Lionsgate to name a few. Her varied duties include Theatrical Worldwide Partnerships, Home Entertainment, Interactive Gaming, Consumer Products, Music, Events and Marketing. Jill works with studio clients to establish, and execute promotions focused on engagement and loyalty. The Burbank International Film Festival is proud to welcome Jill on board this year.

Addison Witt – Director of Marketing & Public Relations

In addition to running the publicity for the Burbank International Film Festival, Addison represents a respected list of television and film actors and personalities and produces local celebrity events. Personal client, RJ Mitte, (series regular on AMC’s hit series “Breaking Bad,” and spokesman for diversity in film), is a celebrity judge for the festival. Another client and festival judge is Max Williams, the star of the new IFC series “Bullet in the Face” premiering this fall. Addison is also the creator and co-producer on a reality series with local production company George Lopez presents. The series follows the life and speaking engagements of RJ, highlighting the advances made with disability in America. Witt and Mitte are collaborating with I AM PWD (SAG/AFTRA/Actors Equity), NDI (National Disability Institute), PACER (National Center for Bullying Prevention, and UCP (United Cerebral Palsy). Addison is also a guest speaker, Hollywood personality, and acting coach.

Ed Ghertner – Director of Animation

Ed graduated from the California Institute of the Arts in the Disney Character Animation Program, receiving a BFA in Film and Video Production. Ed was the Producer and Director for The New Adventures of Winnie The Pooh, which garnered an Emmy Award. He was the Supervising Layout and Designer for the Academy Award nominated movie, Beauty and the Beast, as well as The Lion King, Mulan, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Atlantis to name a few. On television, Ed Art Directed and Designed The Little Mermaid, the animated Hellboy series, The Simpson’s, and is currently Art Directing and Designing a new series for Disney Jr. called “Sophia the First”. Ed has also been a production designer on independent live action films and is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, ASIFA and the Creative Talent Network. Away from the film society, Ed’s interests include classic cars, woodworking, sculpting and painting.

Brandon Scott Kurtz – Director of Submissions

Brandon is a local Woodbury University graduate, and has many years of experience with event management and production, and co-produced numerous outdoor music festivals and events. Brandon also has worked on the production, and pre-production side for feature films, and coordinates the festivals film submission process. In 2008, Brandon launched his own company, B Design Solutions, a graphic design and printing business. B Design Solutions donates their time and services to the festival as well as supporting other non-profit organizations and is responsible for creating and designing the Burbank International Film Festivals beautiful program book each year.

Jerome Courshon – Director of Film Distribution

Jerome is a producer and expert when it comes to knowing and understanding the ‘game’ of film distribution. From his film festival journeys to self-releasing his first movie into theaters (God, Sex & Apple Pie), to securing a direct distribution deal with Warner Brothers. Through Jerome’s straight-forward, real world “what works and what doesn’t” approach, he is able to share this knowledge with fellow filmmakers to help them attain success. Courshon has assisted hundreds of Producers and Directors with achieving domestic, international and online distribution through his classes, speaking engagements and private consultations. Jerome will be teaching his distribution course several times throughout the year to assist independent filmmakers by helping them take their film from completion to the marketplace.

Bill Henderson – Director of Seminars

Bill Henderson has been a professional Sound Engineer for the past 32 years and works for Technicolor Sound on the Sunset Gower Studios lot. Bill was responsible for establishing and coordinating the Industry Seminars for the last two years of the festival. Bill brings a host of well-respected and award-winning industry and studio professionals to this year’s list of scheduled seminars and events. Guest speakers will discuss different aspects about the business, including the latest digital revolutions for Television and Motion Pictures.

Adrian Iñiguez – Director of Social Media

Adrian is also a Woodbury graduate whose experience is in architectural design and management. Adrian was the Architectural Coordinator at Sherwood Country Club, a master planned community for Castle and Cooke and one of the most exclusive private golf clubs in the Nation. Adrian also produces and coordinates production of large-scale events as well as intimate gatherings. He has experience as a liaison between clients and the corporate world and understands the bureaucratic process in order to get things accomplished. Adrian handles the internet networking, blogs and social media for the film festival, a key ingredient to promoting the festival to today’s internet savvy audience.