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Director of Burbank International Film Festival looks to showcase local talent

Director of Burbank International Film Festival looks to showcase local talent
Glendale resident Woody Wise, pictured here, is the subject of the documentary "Brotherhood of the Popcorn" that the Burbank International Film Festival screened in 2015. (File Photo)

With the Burbank International Film Festival about two months away, the event's director is looking to bring the community together with a pre-festival gathering.

On July 16, Jeff Rector and the festival will present the inaugural "Burbank's Got Talent" variety show, in which eight performers from different performing-arts backgrounds will get a chance to showcase their talents. The event will be hosted by NBC4 weatherman Fritz Coleman.

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Ticket proceeds from the variety show will be used to help fund the Burbank International Film Festival, which is in its ninth year.

Some of the acts will include Magic Castle magicians Perron and Joycelyne, opera singer Diana Taweel, the Pacific Ballet Dance Theatre and singer/songwriter Tia Osborne.

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Rector, an award-winning actor and filmmaker, said he chose to make the fundraiser a variety show because he wanted to give the audience a show that displays some of the best performing artists in Burbank and the surrounding area.

"These are all professional, working artists, so it's a high-level show," he said.

Rector added that he also chose specific acts, such as the Pacific Ballet Dance Theatre and Charissa Wheeler, owner of the Music Junction in Burbank, to promote some of the local businesses that can provide training to those who want to pursue a career in performing arts.

While Rector was not a variety show aficionado while growing up, he said he has learned to respect that type of production and what it has to offer to audiences.

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"If there's an all-singing show, I probably wouldn't be into that, or even an all-dance show," he said. "But variety shows have such varying talent, and that's exciting to me. It's not just one art. It's a culmination of a lot of arts put together. How can you get bored or uninterested with a show that has so many different aspects to it?"

Since taking over the Burbank International Film Festival in 2012, one of Rector's goals for the festival was to have it become more of year-round community event rather than just a five-day film festival.

"We're the media capital of the world, and we want to excite the students and young people about the exciting future of the entertainment industry, whatever that is," Rector said. "Whether it's performing, editing, writing or directing, we should be supporting our young people in the entertainment field."

Tickets for "Burbank's Got Talent" are $20 for adults, $15 for seniors and $10 for children under 17 years old. Attendees can also purchase a $30 VIP ticket, which includes a pre-show cocktail reception.

Tickets are available at itsmyseat.com/variety.

Twitter: @acocarpio

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