Posted July 20, 2020

Celebrating the JBFC's 19th Birthday with Member Memories

by JBFC Marketing Associate Paige Grand Pré

To celebrate the JBFC’s 19th birthday in June, we asked those who know us best—our loyal members—to share their favorite memories and experiences. Thank you to everyone who has made the past 19 years at the JBFC so special, and here’s to many more!


“Happy 19th Birthday to my second home!

My favorite JBFC memory couldn’t possibly be limited to just one! But, if I have to speak of just one it would be Wednesday, May 15, 2019, when my 5th Grade students had the opportunity of seeing their short, Love, Blossom on the big screen in the main theater at the Burns! A memory, which impacts us all so deeply! Here’s to 19 more and beyond!”

With gratitude and love,

Tara O’Gorman


“Wow! Nineteen years. Seems like a long time—it is a generation. But my JBFC memories are as fresh as yesterday. My ties are strong. I’m a member of origin vintage, and you employed my daughter for a spell as well (after graduating as a film major—no surprise—and working awhile in the industry, she’s loving law school—a surprise).

Most of my memories are tied to your special events, of which I enjoyed so many. There’s still a big hole in my heart for Jonathan Demme and his Rarely Seen Cinema. Not only did I learn gobs about film, particularly when I sat through films I never would have seen on my own, but I learned as much about humanity and community. Can you imagine what Jonathan would have contributed to our current moment?!

And I remember vividly seeing with my whole family The Last Waltz the night of the Pleasantville Music Festival. You guys!

It’s no exaggeration to say my life has been enriched and indeed transformed by the JBFC. And although we can’t be together right now, its impact on my life will remain forever.

Thank you, Brian, for all you’ve done and all you do. Looking forward to a smashing 20th birthday celebration.”

– Gail Sider


“So many wonderful experiences at my home away from home!  I was original member #313… was always so proud to see that # on the early membership cards!  From the Beatles series, to Whale Rider to The Biggest Little Farm….and the hundreds of movies over the last 19 years, the JBFC has enriched the Pleasantville area and, certainly, my life.  Thank you. Miss you.  (and the popcorn is tasty!)”

– Mary Ellen Atsari


“Thank you JBFC for so many wonderful evenings spent in one of your theaters!  Can’t wait until we can all re-convene.  I’ll cite 2 memories that come to mind: sitting in a completely sold-out theater 1 showing of Fahrenheit 9/11 in the midst of the Iraq War—it felt positively tribal—and being in the audience for a Johnathan Demme Rarely Seen Cinema showing of Au Hasard Balthazar which left everyone—including Demme—speechless.  We have been members since 2001 and look forward to seeing much more on the big screens.”

– Lee and Lea Richardson


“THANK ALL OF YOU for providing all of us with a wonderful space to meet and greet friends, and view the best films available. All your programs are a tremendous asset to the community and especially the children. HAPPY 19TH BIRTHDAY.”


Susan and Stan Weingast


“Early on at the Burns I saw the movie Hotel Rwanda, and when the lights came up afterwards the real life hero and manager of the hotel, Paul Rusesabagina, who hid more than 1,000 Hutu and Tutsi refugees at the hotel, suddenly came on stage. This was in 2004—and yet it has never left me, to have just seen Don Cheadle in this nervewracking film about genocide and then to unexpectedly be in the presence of such bravery and be able to applaud it.”

– Stephanie Lynn


“One of our fondest memories regarding Jacob Burns happened several years ago.  On Academy Award night, you would show them on all screens and audience members would get dressed up and “attend” the ceremony.  It was so much fun.”

– Linda Hendrick


“From that day 19+ years ago when I heard a rumor in the hair salon, to the day I signed before there was even a “hole in the ground so to speak” until today, what a gift the Burns has been to me. New friendships, new ideas, new visions, new worlds, great films to help us discover places and peoples. We are here—waiting until we can be together again in our shared place.”

Warm regards to all,

Lorraine Pantaleo


“One day I read an article in the New York Times speaking of a new art theater opening in Westchester. A longtime film fanatic,  I was ecstatic about the prospect of not trekking to the Angelika, Lincoln Plaza, Film Forum or other NYC art houses all the time. I must have been one of the first members to enroll, and I still remember viewing my first film there, The Closet. Over these 19 years I have come and brought many friends who have become film literate thanks to the extraordinary offerings. I cannot begin to explain all the special moments there that have literally taken my breath away. The last memory of a dear friend before her death was going to Burns to see the Nina Simone doc and the group of us singing the songs on the way home.

I even had the mind blowing experience of watching my film editor son being interviewed  by Janet Maslin (The Power of Song). Now my grandchild and I attend the JBFC Kids film series and she has known of Burns center since she was 2. Thank God for the Burns Center. HAPPY 19th birthday and looking forward to our big reunion very soon!”

– Glenda Pollard


“Happy Birthday, JBFC!

I’m from Austin, TX & met my wife, Deb, in Israel on a Jewish LGBT trip in June of 2014. Deb was living in Katonah, & we dated long-distance for several months. Our first “movie date” was at JBFC to see Begin Again on July 4, 2014! At age 54, I truly felt as though I was “Beginning Again.” We have such fond memories of seeing films at our beloved Jacob Burns!! In February of 2015, Deb moved to Austin. I really wanted to move to NY, but my clients (I’m a fitness trainer) wouldn’t let me. Deb was so tired of shoveling snow & loves the hot Texas summers. We both miss NY & travel to see friends and family several times a year. We always try to stop in to JBFC & see a film when in the area. We have been out-of-town members since 2016.

Wishing JBFC & all the JBFC staff a very happy & healthy birthday, and here’s to many many more!!!”

Be well,




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