MONMOUTH COUNTY, NJ:  Troy Burbank and Andrew Bane, partners in Leonardo Boyz Production, both possess that 'fire in the belly' to create something big. So with a script written by Burbank, together they teamed up with like-minded talented folks and made it happen.  The A-Team includes local guyz; Danny Sanchez, Mark Weiss, Robert Ruvolo, Brad Perott, Ernie O'Donald, Phil Kozma, Paul McGarry, Marc Fratto and Gregory Garaizar.  

Troy Burbank says, "We are very excited to have our movie previewed at The Garden State Film Festival in Asbury Park, this coming weekend. Theres an event filled four days for everyone to enjoy. Click here for information and to reserve tickets for the 17th Annual Garden State Film Festival. Gone for the Weekend will be screened at the GSFF on Saturday, March 30th, at the Paramount Theatre in Asbury Park. 

TAPinto Middletown spoke with Garden State Film Festival Founder Laura Raven who commented, "We are pleased to support our home grown New Jersey talent. This was the reason for founding the festival in the first place. Our festival serves as a launching pad for the next generation of film makers and we are pleased to spotlight a legacy we hold in this state and promote Gone for the Weekend." 

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Now for some background...

TAPinto first met Burbank at The Monmouth Film Festival in Red Bank this past August. Then again caught up with a large part of the Gone for the Weekend team at Joey Benefit, a Joe Piscopo movie fundraiser event at Abby Farms in Colts Neck that Leonardo Production supported.  TAPinto met again with Burbank recently at the revived creative mecca; Bell Works in Holmdel, the focus was on Gone for the Weekend and the man behind the script.  Of course Burbank was looking at the building through a producer's eyes, realizing all the potential for filming in the 2 million square foot Bell Works...

Burbank says, "I was born and raised in the Leonardo section of Middletown, and although my professional boxing career took me all over the place, Middletown has always been home. I like to live here and I like to film local. We have so much opportunity, I mean just look around this place in Holmdel, who would even imagine this was here if they didn't know.  I trained in a boxing program at Middletown Police Station in the mid '80's. I always wanted to be a fighter. I saw the movie Rocky and that was it. I decided I wanted to be a professional fighter. Then shortly after I started boxing at age 13, there was a production company filming a movie in Asbury Park in 1986. They were looking for boxers to be in Home Boy, a Mickey Rourke movie. So I auditioned and got paid for hitting the bag for two days of acting. It was my first real hit though because even though I was paid for two days of acting, they cut the scene and I never made it into the film, but it changed me... I had the passion for fighting professionally and I also caught the bug at a young age for film production. Professional fighting was my passion and on the back burner simmering was always the dream of writing a script and making a was always evolving."

When asked what the sequencing was with professional boxing and film production, Burbank said,

"I took the dream of professional boxing and turned it into a reality, boxing professionally until age 32. I have 5 boys who now are aged from 10, 12, 16, 17 and 25. I had eight pro fights and many amateur championships. When I retired from boxing, I started writing scripts and discussing different ideas  with my longtime good friend Danny Sanchez who was also someone I used to work out with boxing.  I wrote a short film called White Trash Cribs inspired by MTV's Cribs in 2008. We also had a feature film, shorts, commercials,... When we did White Trash Cribs, Danny Sanchez hooked me up with a great contact and now friend; George McMorrow, founder of Cinecall Soundtrack and Production in Red Bank then now in Keyport.   Sanchez has been involved in various productions with us since 2008 and now he is a part of Gone for the Weekend, it's local talent at its best."

When asked to speak about his production company Leonardo Production, Burbank said:

"I was born and raised in the Leonardo section of Middletown, where I met my partner in Leonardo Production, Andrew Bane when we were in kindergarten, at age 5. I love Leonardo because it's the type of town where everyone knows one another and I like that. Bane and I graduated Middletown South together in 1990 and have always made a great team. When I wrote the script for Gone for the Weekend, there was no question that together, Bane and I along with our team could make it happen.  This was truly a community production." 

When asked what the movie Gone for the Weekend compares to Burbank said: 

"I would say Gone for the Weekend best compares to 1984's Bachelor Party, and today's Hall Pass. It's funny, you will laugh. There's a lot of drinking, partying and hollering... We interviewed for casting out of NYC and locally. We got such a huge response and auditioned literally hundreds of interested actors. The movie was filmed on location in so many favorite local spots. We've had tremendous support from local business owners. Without their support we would not have finished production yet, that's for sure. No matter where the movie eventually goes, this is home for it. Area businesses who we would like to thank and encourage everyone to support are:  Atlantic Cinema, The Blue Bay Inn, Slater's Deli, Atlantic Bagel, and Town and Surf Diner."  

Things seem to be coming full circle for Burbank...the film that he is starring in and co-produced will be shown at the Garden State Film Festival in Asbury Park, the same town Burbank first became interested in film production, when he was a young teen getting paid to hit the boxing bag in a movie being filmed in Asbury Park back in the '80's.

For more information about The Garden Film Festival click here. 

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