There’s nothing like the Jacob Burns Film Center, a dynamic nonprofit educational and cultural organization in Pleasantville, NY. At our five-screen Theater—one of the most successful suburban art houses in the country—we present the best of independent, documentary, and world cinema, along with an exciting roster of special guests. Across the street, the Media Arts Lab is the hub of our education mission to develop and implement programs that provide instruction and inspiration in media-making and communication for a visually, digitally, and globally connected world. With these two state-of-the-art facilities and a Residence for International Filmmakers, the JBFC campus provides countless opportunities for dialogue and community engagement.

Each year, over 200,000 people come through our doors to see more than 400 different films. And did you know that 13,000 students participate in our education programs every year? More than half come from underserved communities, and their participation—including transportation—is funded entirely by the JBFC, thanks in part to support from individuals, foundations, and corporations.

The Jacob Burns Film Center (JBFC) is a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Our mission: The Jacob Burns Film Center (JBFC) is a nonprofit educational and cultural institution dedicated to presenting the best of independent, documentary, and world cinema; promoting 21st century literacy; and making film a vibrant part of the community.

Take a look at our first 10 years, including video clips of special guests.

Here’s a taste of what happened last year: 2014 annual report

“Without question, Jacob Burns is the best thing artistically to ever happen to Westchester. Your movies and live performances are always enlightening and entertaining. My wife and I are so proud to be members of your premier organization.” —John, JBFC Member


The JBFC Theater is open 365 days a year. We are well known for our popular curated series and retrospectives. They include: Contemporary Arab Cinema, Focus on Nature, Dance on Film, Classic French Cinema, FrameWorks: Art on Film, Westchester Jewish Film Festival, Jazz Sessions: The Greats on Camera, Global Watch: Crisis, Culture, and Human Rights, and Rarely Seen Cinema, which is hosted and curated by Oscar-winning filmmaker and JBFC Board member Jonathan Demme.

Moviegoers also appreciate our careful selection and impeccable projection of the best of current cinema from around the world. We offer an intriguing selection of thrilling, enjoyable, and challenging movies every day of the week—and you’ll be able to watch them in comfort in our five theaters.

Around 200 directors, actors, authors, artists, and other remarkable guests come to speak with our audience each year. These lively, thought-provoking events spur ongoing conversations that spill into the lobby and even onto the street. We are always looking for opportunities to further community connection and dialogue.

Check out our current and upcoming films!

“The Burns is one of the best things in my life—entertaining, educational, social—and long may it continue!” —Brooke, JBFC Member


The Media Arts Lab, down the street from the JBFC Theater in Pleasantville, NY, is the hub of our education initiatives. We offer classes for kids, teens, and adults in a broad array of courses that utilize our 27,000-square-foot production space and state-of-the art technology, including an animation studio, a fully equipped soundstage, a recording studio, workshop space, a 60-seat screening room, and 16 editing suites. Classes are held after school, in the evening, on weekends, during the summer, and during school vacations. Our popular summer camp extends the fun through the warmer months.

This space is truly a laboratory where we develop, implement, and refine programs that position viewing and creating media , or “viewing and doing” in JBFC parlance, as an essential component to literacy. We are an international leader in the movement to give students and teachers the technical tools and conceptual knowledge to be inspired creators, critical thinkers, and effective communicators with visual media.

“I have never seen my son so energized. He is incredibly excited about making a movie about the lifecycle of a butterfly. What a great way to learn! I am deeply grateful. Thank you.” —Jennifer, parent, Casimir Pulaski School, Yonkers

In addition, we offer the coolest professional development courses around, as well as programs in schools, in after-school settings, and at community organizations throughout the region. More than half of the school districts in Westchester County take advantage of our offerings.

The JBFC is committed to working with all communities. Over 70% of the students who take advantage of our programs each year are from under-resourced schools and community organizations and participate absolutely free of charge. Scholarships are available for every course.

“Our school has benefited greatly from our partnership with the JBFC. Your approach to teaching and learning literacy with media enhances our academic work and encourages every learner. Your curriculum resources and faculty are first rate.” —John Jay Middle School teacher Jesse Weiss

Learn more about our education programs.


his 27,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility was awarded the prestigious LEED Gold certification. Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council, LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is the recognized certification system for the design, construction, and operation of green buildings.

The building’s eco-friendly features include:

  • The revitalization of an existing site—87% of demolition material was diverted from landfill and recycled
  • Ground-source heat pump with a geothermal system for heating and cooling
  • Partial “green” roof, which helps keep the building cool
  • Solar panels for on-site electricity generation
  • Energy-efficient fixtures and smart controls
  • Latest water management technology
  • Dual-flush toilets
  • Environmentally friendly materials, including recycled glass and banana fiber countertops
  • Windows with clear and fritted glass to cut down on heat and glare

With signs posted around the building highlighting its green features, the building itself serves as a teaching tool, providing a mini-lesson in sustainability.

View a comprehensive presentation about the building by KG&D Architects (3MB pdf)

View the press release announcing the LEED Gold designation