Posted June 21, 2021

Two Exciting Announcements for our 20th Anniversary


Today’s Announcement Kicks Off Year-Long 20th Anniversary Celebration Which Includes Theater Refurbishment in 2022

Pleasantville, NY—June 21, 2021— Today, the Jacob Burns Film Center (JBFC), a nonprofit five-screen cinema and education center and one of the most successful suburban art houses in the country, launches its 20th anniversary celebration, which will continue through June 2022. As part of the festivities, JBFC has announced it will rename its largest theater as the David Swope Theater after founding leader David Swope, who passed away in 2018. The official renaming will take place in 2022, once the original first-floor theaters are refurbished with new seats, technology, and other amenities to enhance the JBFC experience.

David Swope, founding board member and former Chair, was generous with his time, friendship, and financial support. He was a true friend to JBFC staff, board, students, emerging artists, and countless members of the community.

“David’s passion for our mission, contagious enthusiasm for our programs, inspiring leadership, and incredibly generous support helped to propel the JBFC to the institution it is today,” said Lynn Sobel, JBFC Board Chair. “This is a fitting tribute to a dear friend who selflessly contributed so much in boundless ways. People will enter the David Swope Theater with a smile as they remember a man who touched their lives and had a lasting impact on the JBFC.”

Board President Janet Maslin continued, “We are especially grateful to three individuals whose vision, inspiration, and tenacity originally brought the JBFC to life, my dear friends Founder Stephen Apkon, and Co-Founders Lisa Hertz Apkon and Sabrina Coughlin. It began with Steve’s dream of building a community through the power of film. His vision fostered a thriving campus with a mission dedicated to sharing and creating stories, championing diverse voices, and teaching media literacy. Thank you to Steve, Lisa, Sabrina, and, last but certainly not least, our founding programming director Brian Ackerman. It’s been an amazing 20 years and we have only just begun.”

“I also want to thank fellow JBFC Board member, Ron Howard, for joining me as Co-Chair of the 20th Anniversary celebration,” continued Janet Maslin.  “Ron is a champion of our film, education, and artist support programs.  I am proud and honored to stand with Ron as we celebrate the past 20 years, while embracing new opportunities and challenges.”

The JBFC opened in 2001 with three theaters, and expanded to five in 2015. The 2022 Theater refurbishment is funded by a $506,000 grant from the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council, which the JBFC successfully matched dollar for dollar from many generous donors. The JBFC continues to raise the remaining funds needed to fully support this vital project.

“The JBFC community remained by our side during the 14 months we were closed,” said Brian Ackerman, JBFC Founding Director of Film Programming. “Enhancing the theater experience in the original three theaters will be a highlight of our 20th Anniversary. It is also a way for us to demonstrate our immense gratitude to our community for their words of encouragement and generous contributions that helped us get through this most difficult time. We are thrilled to be reopening the Theater, little by little, and look forward to great film and great conversation during our anniversary year.”

20th anniversary programs and special events will be scheduled and announced throughout the year. To learn more about the upcoming lineup of new release films and series, visit

Download the Press Release PDF

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

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