Posted January 18, 2018
By JBFC Marketing Associate Paige Grand Pré
New to the JBFC? Welcome! Whether you’ve just visited us for the first time or are considering stopping by in the near future, we hope the below Q&A will help you get to know “the Burns.”
So, you guys are a movie theater?
Well no, not exactly. Sure, to many in the surrounding community, we are “just” their local movie theater. But in reality, we’re much, much more. The Jacob Burns Film Center (JBFC) is a nonprofit five-screen cinema and media education center located in Pleasantville, NY. With our films, events, series, community screenings, visiting artists, and special guests, we strive to further our nonprofit mission, spark dialogue, and encourage an acceptance of a diversity of perspectives among our theatergoers and the community—something we started when we opened our doors in 2001.
What sort of films do you show?
At the JBFC Theater, we screen more than 400 films a year from over 60 countries, from current releases and documentaries to curated series. In addition to current-run films, our film programming includes curated series such as Focus on Nature; The Meditative Life; World Stage on Screen; Global Watch: Crisis, Culture & Human Rights; Retro Revival; Greenhouse: Emerging Documentary Voices from the Middle East and North Africa; Remix: The Modern Black Experience in Film, Media, and Art; and JBFC Kids, allowing us to keep our programming lineup fresh and engaging while also shining a light on new artistic voices and important issues of our day. Augmented by repertory programming, one-night-only events, late night screenings, movie marathons, family benefits, live events, and more, there is certainly something for everyone to see.
If you’re a movie theater, how do you host live events?
We host over 170 “#JBFCLive” events each year, bringing special guests from the worlds of film, literature, art, music, and fine dining to the Burns for screenings, in-depth conversations, and unique reception experiences. These experiences include preview screenings and Q&As with accomplished filmmakers and actors; live performances from musicians; conversations with like-minded community groups; fundraisers with activists; food tastings with distinguished chefs; and readings and book signings with authors.
What are the benefits of becoming a JBFC member?
Our members not only receive a member discount on tickets every day of the week, they are also entitled to a variety of other benefits, including a 10% discount on all concessions items, complimentary ticket offers, members-only ticket opportunities, pre-sales, and invitations. At premium levels, members also enjoy extra benefits including discounts on Courses @ the Lab, priority access to special event tickets, and waived ticket fees. Memberships help us sustain the outstanding level of programming we offer as part of our operating budget—along with ticket sales and donations—so members support everything we do! It’s easy to join or renew, either online at our Membership website or by calling 914.773.7663, ext. 6.
Courses @ the Lab? What are those?
Our Media Arts Lab, just across the street from the JBFC Theater, serves as the hub of our education programming, encompassing both our on-site Courses @ the Lab and school initiatives. Kids, teens, and adults alike hone their communication and critical thinking skills through a dazzling variety of Courses @ the Lab, with offerings in screenwriting, film production, animation, editing, and more.
Do you work with any schools or student groups?
We sure do! Through both professional development for educators and school curricula, our school programs—from the Image, Sound, and Story curriculum to our Classroom to Screening Room program at the JBFC Theater—share the gift of “viewing and doing” with nearly 15,000 students. From Westchester County to Brooklyn, Bridgeport to New Orleans, K-12 students throughout the country engage with JBFC’s media literacy curriculum to enhance their study of existing subjects, adopt skillsets for a changing technology landscape, learn to read film as a visual text, and shape their capacity to be digital storytellers.
I’m not sure my child is old enough to sit through a feature-length drama just yet. What sort of events/ activities do you have for families?
Through our JBFC Kids initiative, we’re making the theater-going experience more inviting for kids with family-friendly screenings of classics, new releases, and short film programs at the JBFC Theater, FREE hands-on activities at our Family Saturdays @ the Lab events, and a variety of workshops and Courses @ the Lab for kids ages 3–13!
Do you have any programs for up-and-coming filmmakers?
Also based at the Media Arts Lab is our Creative Culture initiative, which connects emerging filmmakers and visual artists in the Hudson Valley region and beyond with creative careers. Through a combination of grants, generous donations, a willing and able staff, and the Lab’s cutting-edge production spaces, our Creative Culture program offers financial, production, and networking support to emerging artists through Maker positions, fellowships, and international artist-in-residence opportunities.
Where do the Creative Culture filmmakers go from there?
Past Creative Culture participants have received accolades including—but certainly not limited to—Sundance Ignite fellowships and faculty positions; screened their work at film festivals such as Mammoth Lakes, New Orleans, and Sundance itself; shown visual art at venues such as MoMA; and seen their work picked up by distributors as large as Netflix.
How do I get involved in Creative Culture?
Creative Culture runs on an academic schedule, spanning two, four-month-long semesters in the fall and the spring; applications can be submitted online for upcoming fellowship opportunities.
This seems like a lot of work! How do you make it all happen?
Of course, all of our work would not be possible without a passionate and committed network of donors, members, volunteers, office and theater staff, local businesses, community organizations, government entities, and family foundations, all buttressed by the tireless work of our Board of Directors and Industry Advisory Committee. We encourage you to explore our website to learn more about membership benefits, institutional giving, special or free events, education initiatives, and regular film programming. Most of all, we welcome you to our close-knit community of film lovers, makers, and appreciators.
How do I get to the Jacob Burns Film Center?
The Jacob Burns Film Center and JBFC Media Arts Lab are centrally located in Westchester County, just 30 miles north of Manhattan. The buildings are within two blocks of the Pleasantville stop on Metro-North’s Harlem Line and are easy to get to via car or bus. Please visit our Directions & Parking page for detailed information on best routes to the JBFC, parking options, train and bus schedules, and more. See you at the movies!
How can I stay up-to-date on the latest films, events, and courses at the Jacob Burns Film Center?
We encourage you to subscribe to our E-Bulletin to stay in the loop on all things JBFC. You can choose to receive every email we send out, or tailor your subscription based on your interests and desired email frequency. We look forward to staying in touch!
“The JBFC is a force for social change disguised as a movie theater.” — Jonathan Demme, JBFC Board member (2006–2015) and curator (2005–2017)