Festival, which ended Friday.
The 34-year-old Beirne flew into town, script in hand, to make his
dreams come true as a professional writer. To get him to that point, he
entered his script ("A Cat Who Could Fly") in the festival's
The story of a cat who gets on a plane that takes him on a series of
adventures all over the globe, "A Cat Who Could Fly" ultimately won Best
Animated Screenplay at the Friday evening awards dinner.
"This idea came to me," Beirne said about his story. "It was such a
powerful idea that I had to go with it."
When he isn't thinking about cats, Beirne is thinking about his job as
a member of the NYPD scuba team. In July 1996, Beirne waded through the
wreckage of TWA Flight 800 after the plane crashed off the Long Island
coastline, recovering airline parts and human remains.
Beirne was called upon in 1993 shortly after Long Island serial killer
Joel Rifkin confessed to murdering 17 women, mostly prostitutes. Beirne
uncovered the oil drums Rifkin allegedly used to dispose of the women's
bodies in the Hudson River.
The job can be grisly at times, but also thrilling, Beirne said. In
addition to the recovery work, Beirne rescues swimmers and others trapped
in life-threatening situations. He once pulled a pilot out of a submerged
"I'm an adrenaline junkie," Beirne said. "Living on the edge. That's
Not surprisingly, Beirne is also working on a television series based
on his high-octane job.
Beirne and others who attended the inaugural weeklong festival saluted
the event for offering them an opportunity to share common concerns and
try to market their projects to distributors.
Paul Sirmons, who directed "The First of May," another award-winner
among the festival's 70 offerings, also lauded the festival.
"This festival is vital to us because it's in Burbank," Sirmons said.
"You can throw a stone and hit Disney or Nickelodeon. These are people
who make family films."
2000 BURBANK INTERNATIONAL CHILDREN'S FILM FESTIVAL AWARDS
Best Feature Film - Drama: "The First of May"
Best Feature Film - Animation: "Salam & The Golden Queen"