Posted July 20, 2022

A Letter from JBFC Executive Director Mary Jo Ziesel to our Community


Dear Members of the JBFC Community,

As I approach my one-year anniversary as Executive Director of the Jacob Burns Film Center, I remain incredibly excited for the JBFC’s future.

My dedication to non-profit work began with a keen interest in building community and uplifting women and girls through the power of the arts. I was drawn to the Burns by the strength and resilience of this vibrant and engaged community. With outstanding film curation, innovative media education and artist support programs, and an incredibly talented and deeply committed staff, the Burns upholds its reputation as the foremost art house theater in the country.

We are a community connected by shared experiences. Recently, we welcomed special guests including James Lapine, Viggo Mortensen, Kenny Loggins, and Ethan Hawke for insightful conversations regarding their careers, current projects, and life achievements. In May, we were honored to screen JBFC Board member Ron Howard’s latest documentary, We Feed People, which tells the story of Chef José Andrés and the inception of World Central Kitchen. We opened the film with an inspirational message from WCK on the Ukrainian frontlines and continued the conversation with community partners who are taking action now to alleviate hunger in our own backyards.

Looking ahead, this summer brings a variety of films, including Where the Crawdads Sing, Jordan Peele’s upcoming thriller Nope, and family favorite Shaun the Sheep Movie with real, live sheep presented in partnership with the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture. In the coming months, we will continue to curate special opportunities for our members to come together and celebrate the unique Burns experience. This fall, the Media Arts Lab will welcome students from across Westchester County with a new field trip experience to parallel our immersive Classroom to Screening Room program. Our commitment to emerging filmmakers continues with our Creative Culture Fellows presenting their films at Aspen Shortsfest and Palm Springs International Shortfest.

Thanks to the strength of our community and the transformative power of film, we will continue to educate, entertain, envision a better world, and inspire change for many years to come.

And finally, thank you for continuing to support and believe in the Jacob Burns Film Center. Our outstanding film programming staff will continue to deliver the stellar programs and special events our community has experienced for the last 20 years. I hope you enjoy the summer, and I look forward to seeing you at the Burns soon and often!

With gratitude,
Mary Jo Ziesel

The Jacob Burns Film Center is proud to receive generous support from:

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