Founding Director of Programming
Brian joined the JBFC as the Founding Programming Director in 2001, which followed several years in an advisory capacity assisting the planning and development of the theaters. He designed the programming template that presents over 400 films annually to include special events, new releases, documentary, foreign-language, retrospective films, as well as thematic series, under one roof. He has worked for over 30 years in the New York cinema arts scene—building, programming, and operating art houses. He also serves on juries at film festivals including SXSW and Full Frame. He is partially deaf and a classically trained pianist.
Giancarlo started working at the JBFC as house staff and a teaching assistant in 2013 and joined the management team in 2015. He's a cinema studies major at SUNY Purchase. Before working at the Burns he was a development intern at Leopard Films, as well as a Production Assistant on several web series and feature films. During his free time Giancarlo enjoys watching movies and buying his girlfriend chocolate ice cream.
Customer Service Manager
Tara began her time with the JBFC as House Manager in 2012 and joined the Membership team in 2016. She earned a BFA from SUNY Purchase, where she studied opera. Tara has also worked as Director of Ticketing Services at Tilles Center for the Performing Arts. In her spare time she tries to attend as many live concerts as she can and being a connoisseur of music she is constantly striving to make the best mix playlist.
Kathy began at the Burns as an education volunteer, then worked in development, and has been a film programmer since 2004. She organizes annual series including FrameWorks, Jazz Sessions, and Dance on Film, and has curated JBFC’s classic French and contemporary German series. She has served on juries at the Berlin Film Festival and the Venice International Short Film Festival. Kathy is a graduate of Smith College and received her master’s in art history from NYU's Institute of Fine Arts.
Theater Operations Assistant
Kelly has been with the JBFC since August of 2011. When she's not working, you should be able to find Kelly spending time with a dog. A highlight of her six plus years at the Burns is when she sold Alexis Bledel, aka Rory Gilmore from Gilmore Girls, one of her favorite shows, a bottle of seltzer. Congratulations, you've finished reading Kelly's bio, now as RuPaul would say, "Sashay Away."
Christine joined the JBFC in 2017 as Assistant to the Executive Director. She holds a B.A in English with a minor in Journalism from Mercy College. Prior to joining the JBFC, Christine worked as an Assistant Bank Manager. Christine enjoys writing and owes her love of cinema to her Dad’s own film obsession, and also to the awesome kids movies of the 80’s. She’s a horror fan, but holds an exclusive place in her heart for Wong Kar-Wai’s Chungking Express.
After earning his B.A. in cinema studies from SUNY Purchase, Ed worked as a freelance blogger for a couple years before he found his way into the theater business in 2015. Before joining the Jacob Burns, Ed worked as a projectionist for The Downing Film Center in Newburgh, New York and at iPic Theaters in Dobbs Ferry. Ed is an occasional podcaster who loves to talk about horror movies, pro-wrestling, and his obsession with basketball.
Education Program Manager
Theresa began as a film professor in the UK and has since developed curricula for the American Museum of the Moving Image, consulted for media organizations Witness and Manhattan Neighborhood Network, and worked as an instructor at BRIC and an adjunct professor at Westchester Community College and Concordia College. She has a deep interest in inspiring students to make media that advances social change. Theresa is curriculum designer for Created Equal and develops curriculum for Image, Sound, and Story. She teaches various Courses @ the Lab.
Technical Director, Media Arts Lab
Justin received a BS in Film from Boston University, where he focused on cinematography. After working in production and post-production, he joined the Jacob Burns Film Center in 2012 as part-time Equipment Staff. He is currently the Technical Director at the Media Arts Lab, part of JBFC Production, and part-time faculty. Working at the JBFC allows him to share his interest and experience in many aspects of filmmaking and media creation.
Kendra has worked with the Jacob Burns Film Center Theater Staff since 2008. Prior to joining the JBFC, Kendra worked Off-Broadway with Playwrights Horizons and with ABC Television in the East Coast Primetime Casting Office. Kendra holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Drama from Syracuse University, and a Professional Certificate in Arts Management from SUNY Purchase. In her free time, she enjoys live theater and music, traveling, being outdoors, and cooking at home.
Charlotte started working at the JBFC as a member of the House Staff in 2008 and is very happy to return as a House Manager. She graduated with a B.A. in Theater Arts at Hunter College, and is currently getting her M.S.Ed in Educational Theatre at City College of New York. She is a stage manager, and also works as the Office Coordinator at Broadway Training Center of Westchester. She loves theatre and dogs!
Director of Development
Judy joined the JBFC as Director of Development in December 2001. Prior to this, she raised money for a number of nonprofits, including New York City Ballet, Caramoor, and Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Judy holds a B.A. in Communications from The College of Wooster. A Pleasantville resident, Judy loves books, crossword puzzles, film, and theater. Judy and her husband, Tom, have two daughters and a four-legged son (a black lab).
Manager of Theater Systems and Administration
Sara joined the JBFC’s house management team in 2010. Prior to that she was a volunteer for the JBFC’s Minds in Motion program, as well as a teaching assistant for various classes held at the Media Arts Lab. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Animation from the School of Visual Arts. Sara is a classically trained pianist who enjoys creating motion graphics and watching movies in her spare time.
Before relocating to the East Coast and joining the JBFC in 2018, Adrienne worked for a variety of Midwestern film festivals and art house theaters as a programmer, educator, and event manager. She’s studied film as both an undergrad and grad student and works and volunteers at film festivals in her spare time. When she’s not working, she dabbles in filmmaking, rewatches The Twilight Zone for the umpteenth time, and makes strange little art.
Senior Graphic Designer
Victoria joined the Art Department in January 2015. She graduated from the City College of NY with a B.F.A. in Electronic Design and Multimedia. Victoria started her career working for Jessica Weber Design, a NYC design firm specializing in the not-for-profits sector, where she worked with clients like The American Museum of Natural History, Musicians Foundation, and the New York City Police Foundation.
Lead Content Producer
Sean joined the JBFC staff in 2010. He is a documentary filmmaker and his first film, Brothers of the Black List, screened at festivals including DOC NYC, Dallas International Film Festival, and DocuWest. In 2014, Sean served as a co-organizer of TEDxSingSing, one of the first TEDx events held inside a maximum security prison. Sean lives with his wife and two dogs. He thinks it’s weird to write in the third person.
Donor Engagement & Special Events Manager
Allison joined the JBFC’s development department in 2016. She holds a BA from Bard College in Art History and Classical Studies; before coming to the Burns, she worked for German performance artist Nadja Marcin and collaborative art duo ChanSchatz. When she’s not at work, you can find Allison googling cute pictures of Danny DeVito.
Elizabeth joined the startup staff at the JBFC before the theater opened in June of 2001. Prior to joining the JBFC, she worked at a variety of places including Eileen Fisher, Otowi Trading Company, and WW Norton. Elizabeth has a BA in comparative literature from Harvard. She enjoys working for a nonprofit—combining a love of the arts and helping foster shared experiences. She has fond memories of seeing movies at the old Rome theater!
Director of Website and Digital Services
Alex Gorski joined the Jacob Burns Film Center in September, 2018. Prior to joining the JBFC, Alex developed software and digital products for the American Museum of Natural History and 8to18 Media. Alex is an alumni of Johns Hopkins University and the Flatiron School.
Paige Grand Pre
Digital Marketing Associate
Paige is a writer and filmmaker with a background in international relations and nonprofit work. She graduated from Swarthmore College with a B.A. in Political Science and received a Certificate in Screenwriting from NYU’s School of Professional Studies. Paige has written both feature and short films, served as everything from Executive Producer to production assistant on shorts and web series, and maintains a film criticism and analysis blog entitled Not Suitable for All Audiences.
Manager of Theater Operations: Administration and Customer Service
Chris grew up in the UK, graduating with a BA (Hons) in Drama from the University of Hull, the same course as Oscar winning director Anthony Minghella. He’s worked as an actor, a theatre educator, an events host, and most recently as a radio DJ and producer for BBC and Gaydio. Chris runs marathons, and lives in Mt. Kisco with his American husband and his French dog. He’s thrilled to be working back in the arts at JBFC.
Office Manager/HR Assistant
Conor joined the Jacob Burns as a House Manager in March of 2019. After spending some time in finance, Conor chose to abandon the corporate world to pursue his true passion: acting. As fate would have it, he was offered an opportunity to join the JBFC, and gratefully accepted. Working at the film center allows him to be surrounded by fellow creatives and work to help strengthen the presence of film and film education in New York.
Since joining the JBFC in 2006 Andrew has been a film print coordinator, projectionist, and now curates several series as the senior film programmer. He holds a B.A. in Cinema Studies from Purchase College, where he wrote his senior thesis on the American horror film. He also hosts We Hate Movies, the long-running comedy podcast that has been on the air since 2010 and also tours the country performing live. He has produced two feature films with his comedy arts collective, Private Cabin. And he even once sold a Snickers bar to Gene Shalit before a private screening of the film Stealth.
Susan joined the JBFC in 2002 as its first in-house designer. She was assigned an old desk and sent off to buy the company’s first Apple computer. Susan graduated as a design major from UCLA and worked in a tiny advertising agency in California. She happily moved back East for a job at Harper’s Bazaar. Susan continued in publishing, designing for Ms. and Sassy, eventually running a design firm with a childhood friend.
Special Events Programmer
Nicole started at the JBFC as a Minds in Motion volunteer and joined the programming department in 2017. Before the Burns, Nicole worked with Film Circuits, where she organized Academy Awards campaigns for various studio films. She also volunteered with the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival. Nicole holds a B.A. in Film Studies from Wesleyan University. Her interests include tennis, watching as many movies as possible, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge.
Alex Kononenko started at the JBFC as part of the House Staff for the theater in 2014, and was promoted to House Manager in 2016. While working at the JBFC he gets to combine his past experience in customer service with his love for movies. He is currently enrolled at BMCC in downtown Manhattan pursuing a field in nursing. In his free time, Alex likes to play basketball.
Initially welcomed into the Jacob Burns family as a Teaching Assistant, Kerry has further delved into the Burns community as a member of the Equipment Staff. Receiving her Bachelor’s Degree in Cinema Studies and Screenwriting from Purchase College, Kerry has developed a love for independent and foreign cinema.
Yves has been in the movie theater industry since 2000, starting as an usher, becoming a 35mm projectionist, then IMAX 15/70mm film, leading up to Digital Cinema. Running hundreds of titles in multiple formats and working in many multiplexes big & small has given Yves’ wide-ranging knowledge of the movie theater world. To this day, Yves is one of the few IMAX projectionists left in the world. He is a YouTuber, collects movie theater memorabilia, and loves sharing movie theater stories.
Sarah Lempke O'Hare
Interim Director of Education
With a background in oboe performance and arts administration, Sarah has worked in a number of arts administrative capacities at various orchestras, music festivals, museums and arts education organizations. Sarah graduated from the University of Louisville School of Music with a Bachelor of Arts in Music and minor in Business Administration and also holds a Master of Arts Administration and a Certificate in Fundraising Management from Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs.
Jesse joined the JBFC in 2006 as House and A/V Staff, and later went on to become a projectionist in 2012. A true geek of cinema and a graduate of the School of Visual Arts, he also works regularly as a camera operator and focus puller on a variety of different projects, both narrative and documentary. When he’s not working, he also co-hosts a podcast on obscure underground films called Trading Tapes.
Administrative Director of Education
Ann joined the JBFC’s Education Department in 2009 as Registrar, overseeing registration and scheduling for public courses at the newly opened Media Arts Lab, before taking on the additional role of Administrative Director of Education. Ann is able to combine her background in accounting, conference organization, event planning, and administration management in her work at the JBFC. Ann has lived in Europe, Asia, and North and South America, working for nonprofit and corporate organizations.
Tim joined the Jacob Burns Film Center as a projectionist in March of 2016. Tim has worked in the theater business since 2010 after graduating from Providence College with a minor in film studies. In his free time Tim enjoys hiking, music, video games, and poker, and is currently on a quest to becoming a master Pokemon trainer.
Lead AV Technician and Content Producer
Kervin joined the JBFC Production and Equipment team in 2012. After receiving his degree in Digital Filmmaking he worked with renowned director Jonathan Demme, which increased his passion for the field. Kervin's work has since expanded from music videos to short films and even art installations.
Danny Mendelson first joined the JBFC as a student when he was 13. He has since worked as a TA, house staff, and now as equipment staff. Danny is a student at Purchase College studying media studies. He also plays drums and guitar in his band, Tummy, whose first EP was recorded here at the Lab.
Erica is the most recent addition to the JBFC Art Department. She holds a Bachelors of Arts in Graphic Design from SUNY New Paltz, where she created a website and promotional materials for the Farm-to-Table local food movement in Dutchess County as her senior thesis project. Prior to joining the JBFC Erica did design work for non-profits through Mark and Phil (now Digital Empire). She enjoys all things cats, online subscription boxes, and Halloween.
Technical Director, Film Center
Jesse joined the JBFC in October 2007 as a Projectionist. Since then he has also worked as a House Manager and as the first Film & Media Coordinator/Booth Manager.Now as Lead Projectionist, Jesse ensures 400+ films a year are being screened at the highest standard. With Jesse’s 20 years of experience his attention to detail is a welcomed asset to the film center.
Creative Culture Program Coordinator
Arno Mokros is a New York-based arts organizer, dedicated to supporting emerging filmmakers and other artists working across disciplines. In previous roles, he supported artists and small arts organizations at Fractured Atlas, a nonprofit arts service organization, and coordinated an interdisciplinary fellowship program for doctoral students at the Social Science Research Council. He graduated from Smith College with a degree in environmental studies, and is passionate about mental health, cooking, and queer community.
Manager of Theater Operations: Staffing, Special Events, and Exhibitions
Chris has worked at the JBFC since 2007. He studied Fine Arts and psychology at Caldwell University. A Pleasantville lifer, Chris came to this theater in the eighties when it was the Rome Theater. The first film he saw here was Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Kahn. He can be seen compulsively doodling at any given time.
Tessitura Implementation Manager
Susan joined the startup staff at the JBFC 9 months before the Theater opened to the public in 2001. Since then she's gone from Website Manager to Online Services Manager, to Tessitura (CRM) Implementation Manager and, since 2016, has been providing Data Insights. Susan is a film and tech buff, and a passionate researcher. She has a Masters in Library and Information Science from Pratt Institute.
Education Program Manager/JBFC Kids Curator
Owing her early passion for watching films to the Jacob Burns, Emily’s appetite for film stuck during college, leading her to a B.A. in Cinema Studies at SUNY Purchase. In 2018, Emily received her Masters in Educational Studies from Manhattanville College allowing her to continue finding innovative ways to effectively teach young people the power of film. Since 2010, she has been a JBFC educator who loves teaching, filmmaking, and exposing young viewers to films they never would have seen. And somehow, Emily still finds time to do yoga!
Technologist, Media Arts Lab
Russ graduated from Binghamton University with a B.S. in Cinema. Working as a Technologist for the Jacob Burns Film Center Media Arts Lab, Russell researches and implements new technologies, including camera systems and production workflow, and develops technical workshops and interactive installations. With over a decade of professional photographic experience, Russell continues to explore image making through still photography as well as cinematography on independent features and web series, including the award-winning Pioneer One.
Public Relations and Series Curator, Senior Afternoon Cinema
Abby joined the JBFC as a volunteer in April 2001 after retiring from Westchester County government where she spent 21 years in the Public Affairs Office and in various County departments handling marketing and public relations. She came on board as a JBFC staff member in September of that year. Abby is surrounded by a much younger and very technically savvy group of people and loves every minute of her workday and the many nights she spends at the JBFC theater.
Film & Media Manager/Booth Supervisor
After working for the Cable Car Cinema in Providence, RI for seven years, Andrew began working for the JBFC in 2009. His interest in film can find its origins in his love for literature and physics, and how both employ the use of narrative to convey a compelling idea. He can sometimes be seen at the theater teaching the trade to his four year old son, who has begun to refer to himself as “Daddy’s Projectionist.”
Saidah joined the JBFC programming department in 2015. Before starting with the Burns she was a Projects Manager for a small independent documentary production company. She got her start volunteering with local film festivals in her (majestic) home state of Delaware and subsequently earned a degree in Media Culture and Communications from NYU. Outside of her work, she continues to volunteer and staff festivals in her free time.
Inger joined JBFC’s accounting team in 2018. A native of Sweden, she previously worked for a Swedish government agency in New York City, as well as the Permanent Mission of Sweden to the United Nations. She’s also had accounting experience at two CPA firms in Westchester. Inger holds a degree in business administration from Sweden’s University of Gothenburg. A Bedford resident, she loves travel, music, and the great outdoors. Inger and her American husband, Roger, have one daughter— she speaks both English and Swedish.
Director of Human Resources
Rich joined the JBFC as Manager of Human Resources in May 2018. He holds a BA from Georgetown University, a JD from the University of Miami School of Law, and a PhD in Counseling Psychology from Arizona State University. Most recently, he served as Director of EOAA Training and Director of Human Resources and Faculty Affairs at Columbia University. Rich enjoys writing and has written two novels and several screenplays that no one has heard of… yet.
Education Program Manager
Brandon graduated Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a B.S. in Electronic Media, Arts and Communication. While attending RPI he interned at IBM in the Software Division. He has also designed and scored independent video games as well as being an accomplished freelance writer. He teaches various Courses @ the Lab.
Marketing Associate and Series Curator, Adapted: Page to Screen
Sarah joined the JBFC marketing team in January 2016. She holds a master’s in Film Studies from the University of St Andrews, where she was Editor-in-Chief of Frames Cinema Journal. Sarah has worked with several film festivals, including the Tribeca Film Festival, and the Miami International Film Festival. She has an irrational love for Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights.
Education Program Manager
After getting his BA at Boston College, Darrel studied screenwriting at New York Film Academy. If memory serves, his screenplays included a lot of music from The Cure and Radiohead. Darrel’s perfect movie would be a musical coming-of-age story where a con artist forms a band and if he ever had to air guitar for his life, he would perform The Eagles’ One of These Nights (though he otherwise doesn’t love The Eagles.) He enjoys the links and the slopes but can always just curl up with a good audiobook.
Mike joined the JBFC Equipment team in March 2015. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Recording Arts and Music Production, and has 10 years experience in audio engineering. Prior to working at the Burns, Mike worked for Mercy College’s Recording Arts program where he served as an assistant studio manager, teaching assistant, studio musician, and audio engineer. He suffers from severe impulse buying, pouring funds into concert tickets, vinyl, video games, and comics.
Director of Communications and Marketing
Denise, a public relations and marketing professional with more than 25 years experience in various industries/sectors including nonprofit, publishing, and entertainment, joined the JBFC in 2004 as Marketing Director. Previously, Denise worked for The Vitamin Shoppe, Scholastic Inc., and MTV Networks’ Nickelodeon. A classic movie fan, her DVR is set record every Montgomery Clift, Bette Davis, and Cary Grant film that airs.
Manager of Institutional Giving
Daniela joined the JBFC Development team in 2018. She holds a BA in English, with a concentration in Creative Writing from SUNY New Paltz. Prior to joining JBFC, Daniela meddled in nonprofit database software and worked as a freelance writer. When she isn’t at work, you can find her playing Assassin’s Creed or rereading her favorite book, The Picture of Dorian Gray.
Development Administrator and Project Coordinator
A recent transplant from the Midwest, Rose joined the JBFC development team in February 2018. Prior to this she worked in research and grant administration at Indiana University Bloomington. She holds a BA in French and Italian, a master’s in Linguistics, and has worked to document endangered African languages from Mozambique, Uganda, and the Ivory Coast. So, it won’t be a surprise that she loves foreign films that feature diverse languages and cultures. She also has a weakness for bagpipes.
Director of Creative Culture: Fellowship & Residency Programs
Sean Weiner is a NY-based producer, filmmaker, and the director of the Creative Culture program at the Jacob Burns Film Center. He is a professor of film at Purchase College, a creative in the Private Cabin Collective, and a director for the Upright Citizens Brigade. His producing credits include Death Metal Grandma (NYTimes Op Docs, SXSW, Hot Docs), Nevada (Sundance, Vimeo Staff Pick, Oscar-Qualified), and Yves & Variation (BAMcinemaFest, Hamptons International Film Festival). These shorts were produced within the Creative Culture program which connects emerging filmmakers to creative careers through fellowship and residency opportunities.
Bonnie Elder Yassky
Special Projects Manager
After serving as film director Jonathan Demme's operations officer/archivist/art wrangler/ enthusiast/script purveyor and occasional producer, Bonnie joined the JBFC team in November 2017 as Manager of Special Projects and is delighted to be working along side Jonathan's compatriots at his home away from home.
Chris is originally from Halfmoon, NY, later attend undergrad in West Virginia, and then graduate school in Brooklyn. He enjoys movies, music, and spending time with his girlfriend and their dog, Bean.