Burton Gershfield was born and raised in Everett, Massachusetts. He initially studied physics at Northeastern before earning a BA in Art History from Boston University. There, he decided that film was the artistic medium that best represented the current times. He went on to study filmmaking at UCLA, where he met Pat O'Neill and was introduced to underground film culture. Inspired by a Buffy Saint-Marie song, he created his student film Now That The Buffalo's Gone, an elegy to the Native American way of life. The dense, optically printed visuals in that film that led to work on the Monkees film, Head. Gershfield was involved in other film and music projects including work on Frank Zappa's 200 Motels and managing bands during the heyday of the hard rock scene on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles. He currently lives in Malden, Massachusetts.