One of a number of American independent filmmakers launched to prominence in the '90s by virtue of their success at the Sundance Film Festival, writer/director Edward Burns was born in Woodside, Queens, in 1968 and raised on Long Island. After attending Oneonta College and S.U.N.Y.-Albany, he transferred to Hunter College in New York City to study motion pictures; there he helmed a number of short films, including the 15-minute Hey, Sco! Upon graduating, Burns began working at a local news outlet and made Brandy, a 45-minute effort screened as a work in progress at the 1992 Independent Feature Film Market.
During the spring of 1993, while working as a production assistant for the television newsmagazine Entertainment Tonight, Burns began conceiving [[Feature~V133593~The Brothers McMullen~thebrothersmcmullen]], a comedy focusing on the romantic troubles facing three Irish-Catholic siblings. Shot primarily in his parents' Long Island home, with a cast of unknowns including Burns himself and his then-girlfriend [[Performer~P195091~Maxine Bahns~maxinebahns]], the feature was filmed over eight months' time with a budget of about 25,000 dollars and with the aid of a technical crew comprised largely of fellow Entertainment Tonight staffers. Rejected by a series of distributors, [[Feature~V133593~The Brothers McMullen~thebrothersmcmullen]] bowed at Sundance in 1995 and won the festival's Grand Jury Prize, becoming one of the most successful independent efforts of the year.
For his follow-up, [[Feature~V136512~She's the One~shestheone]], Burns retained much of the [[Feature~V133593~McMullen~thebrothersmcmullen]] cast and crew, including [[Performer~P195091~Bahns~maxinebahns]] and actor [[Performer~P47465~Mike McGlone~mikemcglone]]; by virtue of his newfound fame, he was also able to cast up-and-coming stars [[Performer~P1831~Jennifer Aniston~jenniferaniston]] and [[Performer~P195733~Cameron Diaz~camerondiaz]] in pivotal roles, and he even solicited an original soundtrack from rocker [[Performer~P56447~Tom Petty~tompetty]]. Filmed with a comparatively lavish budget of about three million dollars, the romantic comedy premiered during late August 1996. Burns soon began work on his third feature, [[Feature~V161602~No Looking Back~nolookingback]], a romantic drama set in a coastal town's working-class community. The film co-starred Lauren Holly and was released in 1998; that same year, Burns co-starred in the [[Performer~P112325~Steven Spielberg~stevenspielberg]] World War II epic [[Feature~V163037~Saving Private Ryan~savingprivateryan]]. In 1999, he was back on the screen with an appearance in [[Performer~P112907~Oliver Stone~oliverstone]]'s football drama [[Feature~V181275~Any Given Sunday~anygivensunday]]. In the years that followed, Burns wrote and directed a series of additional comedy-dramas incluing Sidewalks of New York (2001), Ash Wednesday (2002), Looking for Kitty (2004) and The Fitzgerald Family Christmas. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi