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Adam Burke Student Fund

The Adam Burke Student Fund was launched by founding Board member Renay Weissberger Fanelli and her husband Michael Fanelli to ensure that all local students have full access to the Alexander Valley Film Festival and our year-round educational opportunities.

The fund has been named in honor of Adam Burke, another founding Board member of AVFilm, who passed away in October 2018. He led the organization’s first student-focused workshops and served as the defining voice in the creation of AVFilm’s comprehensive educational services.

A devoted father and animator at Pixar Animation Studios, Adam was an engaging and inspiring presence for kids of all ages. We miss him terribly and will proudly carry on his commitment to young people.

Here’s a letter Adam wrote to a student after the 2016 Student Film Competition

Hi “J,”

It’s Adam Burke from Pixar. I was speaking to Kathryn recently and your name came up in conversation. We spoke about how dedicated you’ve been with the film society and how hard you’ve been working. I just wanted to take a second to drop you a line [of] encouragement. It was great to see you and your brother submit to the student film contest last fall. Keep at it and keep pushing yourself to learn and grow.

Seeing you get excited about using film to express your creativity is THE reason why Kathryn and so many of us have put our effort into creating the film society. If you’re passionate and truly excited about film, I have no doubt that your work will make it to the screen someday. I know it sounds like a corny cliche, but the only one who can get in your way is you.

Keep at it, “J.” I’m looking forward to bragging to people in the future about how far you’ve come from your “comedy kung-fu days.” 😉


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