Jim Burnstein managed to beat the odds and make it as a successful Hollywood screenwriter without moving from his home in Plymouth, Michigan.
In 1995, Burnstein returned to his alma mater, the University of Michigan, to build one of America’s top undergraduate screenwriting programs in the Department of Screen Arts & Cultures. He serves as Vice Chair of the Michigan Film Office Advisory Council.
Mr. Burnstein’s screen credits include Renaissance Man, the 1994 comedy directed by Penny Marshall and starring Danny DeVito; D3: The Mighty Ducks (1996-1997); and Ruffian, the 2007 drama starring Sam Shepard co-written with Garrett Schiff of Los Angeles for ABC and ESPN.
In July 2012, Burnstein and Schiff collaborated on feature film Love and Honor, with U of M alums Danny Mooney directing and Chip Diggins producing in association with other alums Pat Olson (Peninsula Films) and Eddie Rubin (Deep Blue Pictures). Love and Honor premiered on Direct TV in February 2013 and will open in theaters nationwide in March 2013.
Other Burnstein and Schiff scripts in the works include Helicopter Parents for Route One Films, Basketball Dad written for Two Lefts Don’t Make a Right Productions, Naked Shakespeare with Patchwork Entertainment, and Time of Your Life for New Line Cinema.
Burnstein is also the Executive Producer of the independent film Ocean of Pearls that was released theatrically in Summer 2009 after playing at film festivals around the world.
Born in Detroit, Burnstein and his wife Cynthia, a high school English teacher, have called Plymouth home since 1977. Their son Gabriel and daughter Devin are both University of Michigan graduates, and their youngest son Jacob is now a member of the Michigan class of 2013. Their baby granddaughter Remy is slated for the class of 2025.
(Photo: Jim Burnstein surrounded by his advanced screenwriters at Graduation '09)