Other Writing

Essays & Reviews | Film | Theatre


What Would You Do to Survive?
—The Nervous Breakdown

The Email That Will Change Your Life
—The Nervous Breakdown

To Graduates and Dropouts Everywhere 
—The Nervous Breakdown

Proper Names or M is for Margie, Mary Ann…Mother? 
Huffington Post

Tamsen Donner is a part of her family now

LA Times

Tamsen Donner Reincarnated?

Why I Love Book Clubs

The Donner Party: Did They or Didn’t They?
Huffington Post

Spotlight on Bookstores: Talking Leaves in Buffalo, NY


For her writing in film, Burton has won the Mary Pickford Prize from the American Film Institute, the Austin Film Festival’s top prize for screenwriting, was selected for Equinoxe in Bordeaux, France, and was awarded the prestigious Nicholl prize for screenwriting from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences

Manna From Heaven

To Buy: Amazon | Five Sisters Productions

MANNA FROM HEAVEN is a lighthearted comedic fable about what happens when you get a “gift from God” (a financial windfall), but many years later you find out it was a just a loan — and it’s due immediately. A feel-good film with a star-studded ensemble cast, MANNA is a delightful and refreshing comedy.
Visit Manna from Heaven’s website: fivesistersproductions.com
Visit Manna from Heaven’s IMDB page

(Rated PG, starring Academy Award winners Shirley Jones, Cloris Leachman, Louise Fletcher, Academy Award NomineeSeymour Cassel, Tony Nominee Harry Groener, Ursula Burton, Shelley Duvall, Jill Eikenberry, Faye Grant,Frank Gorshin, Wendie Malick, and Austin Pendleton)

CRITIC’S PICK, The Washington Post
WINNER Special Audience Award, Sarasota Film Festival
WINNER People’s Choice Award, Ft. Myers Beach Film Festival
WINNER Audience Award, Big Bear Film Festival
WINNER NY State Filmmakers Award, Empire State Film Festival

“Capra-esque. Charming, charming, charming!” — Bob Garfield, NPR

“Refreshingly sincere, gentle and good-natured.” — Dave Kehr, NEW YORK TIMES

“CRITICS PICK! Two feel-good hours of old-timey family entertainment… A much-needed reprieve from the angst, irony and mean-spiritedness that is endemic to modern cinema.” — Natalie Hopkinson, WASHINGTON POST

“A great little movie it is. Dig this cast… Several Oscar winners and nominees and even a Tony citation are in this amazing group. You’ll be hearing more about the Burtons!” — Liz Smith, NEW YORK POST

“This movie has it all: a good plot, great characters and performances, hilarious moments, and genuinely touching personal moments…I’m generally pretty cynical, but I still really enjoyed this movie. I wish more good family movies like this came along.” — Ain’t it Cool News

“A wonderful testament to the generosity of the human spirit – something we are all needing right now!”— Patricia Finneran, IFP NYC

“Manna From Heaven is an entertainment blessing… A story of personal relationships and interactions involving some of funniest and most entertaining characters you will ever meet, human goodness, kindness, faithfulness, and, most of all, the miraculous wonder of dreaming and achieving those dreams.”

“A truly original comedy, which will have the whole family laughing…. Delightful feel good comedy…[that] explores in a delightful yet insightful way the dynamics of the ‘modern family’…This movie has witty and thought provoking dialogue…I recommend [Manna From Heaven] as one…to raise the spirits.”

“A gem of a movie that the big Hollywood studios only wish they would get.”

“MANNA FROM HEAVEN is a marvel of ingenuity, character and comic invention.”

“It is the perfect film for this moment in history. You’ll walk out of the film soaring.”

“We don’t have enough of these movies. It says something wonderful about family.”

“‘Manna’ satisfies the hungry heart, with a gift of finest wit. The movie is witty and thought-provoking, and it features some delightful toss-away lines of unexpected depth and emotion. In fact, viewers will want to see the film a second time just to pick up those lines dropped by the side the first go-round… Moviegoers, especially families, say they’d like better fare to choose from at the movies. Well, it’s here.”

“Five Sisters Productions not only wants to make life-affirming, feel-good movies… but they are also proving there is a desire in the marketplace for feel-good, independent movies with a mature cast. The Burtons’ family-style, independent filmmaking focuses on human character and relationships that are optimistic. We suspect they’re on to something.”

“‘Manna from Heaven’ is an independent movie that ranks among the best of the year. This contemporary fable offers entertainment that us both thoughtful and uplifting. Working out the mysteries of reconciliation and redemption through the complexities humanity and the situations placed in our lives, this little gem is a miracle.”

Other Burton screenplays:

“City of No Illusions” — a mother/daughter reversal comedy in which both mother and daughter are named Bridget. The junior Bridget, Bridg, wins a film school scholarship after college but, at the last minute, decides to go traveling in Nepal with her boyfriend instead. Her mother, having always dreamed of the glamorous movie life, thinks her daughter has made a terrible mistake, so she decides to show up in her daughter’s place. CITY is a playful take on the common person’s dream of being in the movie business, as well as a heartfelt story of a family and their changing and growing together through life.

“The Imperial Waltz” — an award-winning screenplay tinged with magic realism about the Russian revolution, survivors, dreamers, story-telling, and how history is passed down through generations of family.

“Intact” — A family action drama set in Buffalo, NY and Bangkok, Thailand, where an American family gets caught by mistake in an international intrigue with the murky and hidden web of global marketing of women and children, culminating in the daring rescue kidnapping of a child sold by her family into prostitution.

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rita's haircut

Rita’s Haircut and Litany of the Clothes 
2 one-act plays by Gabrielle C., Maria, and Jennifer Burton

To Buy: Five Sisters Productions

The play adaptation of two sections from the novel “Heartbreak Hotel” about women’s relationships to their hair, and also to clothing. Both comic and cathartic, as well as a good kick-off point for discussion, these one-acts can be performed elaborately or with minimal props and actors. Performed at The American Repertory Theater to impressive review, the plays were also the Winner of Earth’s Daughters playwrights competition.

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