Blog JBFC Founding Director of Film Programming Brian Ackerman on News 12

Posted September 18, 2020

The JBFC’s Founding Director of Film Programming Brian Ackerman talked to News 12 on Sept. 10, 2020, to address New York’s continuing refusal to allow movie theaters to reopen in the state. Tune in to hear Brian’s comments in the clip below.



The JBFC is glad to reaffirm its position that reopening independent art house theaters in New York State would both accelerate the economic recovery of our communities, and also pose a lesser risk to public health and safety than other businesses—such as casinos, gyms, bowling alleys and restaurants—that have already reopened to the public.

During the JBFC’s temporary closure due to the COVID-19 crisis, a comprehensive set of health and safety measures have been introduced to our facilities to ensure that our patrons are as safe and comfortable as possible once New York permits us to open and filmgoers are able to return to our theater. Our position—and the position of the other 16 art house theaters who have petitioned the State—is to forgo sales of food and beverages at concessions, to help ensure that masks will be worn through the entire experience, thus adding to the safety for the public.

While in-person activities are still halted, the JBFC continues to engage and serve our community. We offer an ongoing selection of curated films—both new and repertory—to stream through our Virtual Screening Room, and enrich the at-home viewing experience through engaging virtual discussions and events free to the public. Our educators have pivoted towards adapting our media literacy curricula for the new reality of distanced or hybrid learning, and our staff provides continued support to our educational partners and filmmaking fellows.

We are fortunate to have the support from our community to get us to the other side of the pandemic, though we acknowledge that some other wonderful film institutions may not be so lucky. That will be a huge loss for the arts and for their respective communities. We look forward to the day when we can once again reopen our Theater doors, but we stand by our commitment to be present for our community, virtually, in the meantime.


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