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.
Dominick joined the JBFC in May 2008, following seven years as General Manager of NYC’s Film Forum. Since 2011, he has served as an advisor to the DeVos Institute of Arts Management. As a producer his credits include Another Telepathic Thing and I’m Carolyn Parker, both directed by Jonathan Demme, and Moisés Kaufman’s 33 Variations, starring Jane Fonda (Tony Award nomination). He has served as a grant panelist for NEA, NYSCA, ArtsWestchester, and CEC/ArtsLink.
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."
Assistant to the Executive Director
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.
Jeffrey joined the JBFC family in 2012, and despite rumors, is not a starting player for the Utah Jazz. In addition to being a House Manager, Jeffrey attends SUNY Purchase College, where he studies art history and screenwriting/playwriting, too. More than you, he really loves the film Boyhood. He eats a lot of sushi. He credits his love for film in large part to his photographer grandpa. He’s been told he’s hopelessly romantic.
Senior Faculty, Program and Curriculum Development
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.
Edie joined the JBFC as executive director in May 2014. Previously, she worked with the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Los Angeles and was Director of Education at New York’s New Victory Theater, where under her direction, its education programs were honored with the Americans for the Arts award for Arts Education. She also spent several years in Ireland, where she worked as an education officer with Graffiti Theatre Company, founded UnReel, an international film festival for young people, developed scripts for children’s film and television, and served as an Associate Artist for Education and Outreach at The Abbey Theatre. Edie holds an MA and PhD from NYU’s Program in Educational Theatre.
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.
Director of Operations
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.
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 Operations
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.
Education Outreach Coordinator
Before relocating to the East Coast and joining the JBFC, Adrienne worked for a variety of Midwest film festivals and art house theaters as an educator, programmer, and event coordinator. She has studied film as an undergrad at Eastern Michigan University and as a grad student at University of Kansas, primarily focusing on film exhibition and screenwriting.
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!
Front of House Manager
Aarti has been a House Manager at the JBFC since 2010. Her interest in film began early, growing up in a video store owned by her parents. From being in the store every day after school to eventually running it, regular customers gave her the nickname "Little Miss Videophile." Outside of work Aarti enjoys making artwork and costumes and playing with her son, who aspires to be a kung fu superhero when he grows up.
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
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 a producer and production assistant on shorts and web series, and maintains a film criticism and analysis blog entitled Not Suitable for All Audiences.
Possessing a passion for both food and film, Imani received her BFA in photography from Purchase College, and then graduated to the non-profit world at Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture. She is a native of Washington, D.C. and, naturally, an avid Kung-fu film fanatic and cheese connoisseur.
Since joining the JBFC in 2006 Andrew has been a film print coordinator, projectionist, and now curates several series for the JBFC as a film programmer. He holds a B.A. in Cinema Studies from Purchase College, where he is now an adjunct professor at the School of Film and Media Studies; he teaches at Westchester Community College as well. He hosts the popular We Hate Movies podcast, and has produced two feature films with his comedy arts collective, Private Cabin. Andrew once sold a Snickers bar to Gene Shalit.
Director of Education
Emily has overseen the JBFC education programs since their inception in 2001. She has consulted for non-profit film centers on the development of their school programs, and has presented at many national education and literacy conferences. She is an adjunct faculty member at Pace University’s School of Education. Emily graduated from the University of Virginia with a B.A. in English Language and a focus in Film Studies and received an M.A. in Education, Communication, and Technology from New York University’s Steinhardt School of Education.
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 Coordinator
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 has also volunteered with the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival. Nicole holds a B.A. in Film Studies from Wesleyan University. Outside of work, you can find her playing tennis, walking her dog, and watching as many movies as possible (preferably something starring James Mason).
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.
Sarah Lempke O'Hare
Manager of School Programs
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.
Registrar/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.
Senior Faculty, Manager of Program & Curriculum Development
Aaron specializes in teaching people of all ages how to tell stories though video, animation, and photography. Having trained with master storyteller Bill Gordh, oral storytelling forms the backbone of his early childhood work, with students as young as four. Aaron focuses on supporting the stories while keeping the technology in students' hands to create new work. From 2009-2016 Aaron was the Director of the JBFC's Summer @ the Lab. He has also worked behind the scenes as a film projectionist.
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.
Assistant House Manager
Noelle, a Pleasantville native, joined the JBFC House Staff in 2012, became a Teaching Assistant, and is now an Assistant House Manager. While pursuing a Bachelor of the Arts at Purchase College, she was heavily involved in the campus newspaper and literary magazine. Noelle enjoys working at the Burns because it allows her to combine a few of her great loves: storytelling and cinema. Meeting Ryan Gosling at fourteen years old didn't hurt either.
Manager of Theater Operations
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.
Senior Faculty, Program & Curriculum Development, JBFC Kids Curator & Creative Producer
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.
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.
Shane is double majoring in Digital Cinema and Filmmaking & Film and Screen Studies at Pace University. He is enthusiastic about all aspects of film, and enjoys making art ranging from movies to music. Shane aspires to work in film production, and is looking forward to more set experience. Sandwiches are also one of his pastimes.
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.
Manager 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.
Senior Faculty, Lab Courses Coordinator, Program & Curriculum Development
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.
Matt joined the JBFC as a member of the house staff in 2011, working as the theater’s AV Technician. He has since gone on to become a projectionist. He also worked at Pleasantville’s Village Bookstore for a year and a half. In his free time, Matt is a video game enthusiast, and is pursuing a career as a writer, currently working on his second screenplay.
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.
Senior Faculty, Program and Curriculum Development, Teaching Assistant 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.
Audience Services Associate
Matthew joined the JBFC House Staff in August, 2014. He holds a BA in Theatre Performance from Elmira College and has spent most of his life surrounding himself in the arts. He was first inspired to act by Tom Cruise, with whom he shares the same learning disability. Mr. Cruise helped him realize that dyslexia didn’t mean he was any less capable of succeeding than anybody else. Besides stage work, Matthew has dabbled in voice over, commercial work, creative writing, drawing, and the martial arts. His goal is to be a storyteller and to build a career that will allow him to inspire people and enrich their lives through the arts.
Development Associate for Institutional Giving
Daniela is the most recent addition to the JBFC Development team. 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 Initiative
Sean received his M.F.A. from Hunter College in Integrated Media Arts and a B.A. in Cinema Studies from SUNY Purchase, where he is now a faculty member. Professionally, he is a Lead Creative in the Private Cabin Collective and the director of the digital team, Brinkman, at the Upright Citizens Brigade. At the JBFC, Sean is the director of Creative Culture, an initiative connecting emerging makers to creative careers through fellowship opportunities, residency programs, and the JBFC’s network.
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.