It will be all about the films and the talents behind them at the eighth annual Burbank International Film Festival, which opens Wednesday.
Festival director Jeff Rector's goal is to show residents and moviegoers as many films as he can during the five-day run of the event, which is held at the AMC 16 in downtown Burbank.
Minimizing the amount of cast Q&As this year, Rector was able to fit in about 140 films — including 22 international films and 12 world premieres. In previous years, the festival averaged about 100 movies during their stint.
"I'd rather show more films than hear actors talk about themselves," he said. "I've been there, I've been in that seat with the microphone and you want to be in the limelight, but that's not what a film festival should be."
Rector, an award-winning actor and filmmaker, took over the Burbank festival in 2012 with the goal of elevating the status of the event to the likes of other well-known festivals like the Sundance Film Festival.
"We have our own airport, we have the studios, it's just situated perfectly and Burbank is unique community," he said.
In an effort to make the Burbank's festival more unique, Rector created awards like a diversity award, awareness award and presidents' innovation award.
A new award is being unveiled during this year's event called the Garry Marshall Spirit Award, which pays tribute to the recently deceased director, producer, writer and actor. The award is aimed at honoring someone who is multifaceted and gives back to the community.
"It's embodying the spirit of Garry Marshall," Rector said. "He was a writer, a director, a producer; he was a philanthropist. If you ask anybody in the business, they'll tell you that he was the nicest guy, and we all know that everybody in the industry is very nice. But if you ask anyone about Garry, they'll tell you that they loved him."
Aside from dozens of independent film premieres, the Burbank film festival will screening "Top Gun" and "Aliens" to commemorate their 30th anniversaries. They will also be showing "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory," which they had planned for its 45th anniversary but will also double as a tribute to the late Gene Wilder, who passed away on Wednesday.
For information about the festival, visit www.burbankfilmfest.org/.
Anthony Clark Carpio, email@example.com