The JBFC is more than just a venue to see outstanding films. We are also committed to enhancing the viewing experience through dialogues with great filmmakers, authors, scholars, and other informative speakers. In 2001, guests included Ed Burns, William Greaves, Robert Klein, Sylvia Nasar, Clive Owen, and Stephen Trask.
The dream of creating a unique cultural institution that entertains, challenges, educates, and inspires audiences of all ages through the power of film began to come true in 1998 with the purchase of the old Rome Theater in Pleasantville, NY. The Spanish mission-style landmark was renovated and expanded, and the Jacob Burns Film Center was born, named in recognition of the Jacob Burns Foundation’s leadership gift. Over the past ten years, with the generous support of the community, the Film Center has become the largest venue of its kind in the country with a vision that uniquely embraces both film presentation and education.
Glenn Close, Ang Lee, Christopher Reeve, and other dignitaries joined us for the ribbon cutting at the Grand Opening of the Jacob Burns Film Center on June 16, 2001. A week of special events to thank our volunteers, donors, and Pleasantville residents preceded the official opening.
The renovated and expanded Jacob Burns Film Center opened to the public in June, 2001. Designed by architects Davis Brody Bond, LLP, and executed under the management of Yorke Construction, the building marries the historic façade of the old Rome Theater with contemporary features and state-of-the-art technology.
On June 18, composer Stephen Trask joined us for a Q&A following a screening of his Grammy-nominated film, Hedwig and the Angry Inch.
In October, 2001, the JBFC presented Krzysztof Kieslowski's 10-part Decalogue series, with discussions led by film scholar Annette Insdorf.
On Nov. 11, 2001, pianist Sara Davis Buechner performed live piano accompaniment at a rare screening of the 1925 silent classic Ben Hur.
On Oct. 13, 2001, actress Vanessa Williams was the honorary chairperson for a day of interactive exhibits, demonstrations and hands-on activities for young people, exploring how films are made.
Through such annual series as "Dance on Camera," "Classic Italian Cinema," and the "Jewish Film Festival," our audiences are able to reflect each year on both the cultural diversity and the universality of the global community as expressed in the language of film.
A dynamic and unique array of film series were curated by our expert programmers in 2002 in partnership with the Film Society of Lincoln Center. They included "Fantasika! The Films of Alexandr Ptushko," "Essential Asian Cinema," "Rendezvous with Jean Gabin," "The Great American Western," "The Amazing Films of Michael Powell," "Akira Kurosawa: The Master at His Peak," "A Cultural Dialogue: 5 Films and 5 Filmmakers from Iran," "Andrei Tarkovsky: Visionary," and "The Early Films of David Lynch."
"Personal Favorites with Janet Maslin" has become a popular feature with our audiences. From time to time, prominent actors, filmmakers and authors share their favorite movies and discuss them with Janet after the screenings. Her first guest was noted columnist and author Anna Quindlen with Waterloo Bridge. Others have included Frank McCourt (The Horse's Mouth), Kevin Smith (A Man for All Seasons), and Tim Russert (Cool Hand Luke).
In 2002, we hosted Q&A's with George Clooney and Sam Rockwell, Todd Haynes, Arliss Howard, Stephen King, Mark Moskowitz, Christopher Reeve, Ruth Reichl, John Sayles, Thelma Schoonmaker, Paul Schrader, Maurice Sendak, Kevin Smith, Mira Sorvino, Chris Wedge, Treat Williams, and Debra Winger, among others.
Silver Screen Circle members are crucial to our innovative film, education, and outreach programs. In grateful appreciation for their generous annual support, they have access to all that the JBFC has to offer. They also enjoy an exclusive opportunity to celebrate a distinguished film industry leader at the annual Silver Screen Circle Dinner. Past honorees include Stanley Tucci (2002), Robert Duvall (2003), Jeff Bridges (2003), Kevin Spacey (2004), Rob Marshall (2005), Edward Norton (2006), Hilary Swank (2007), Ed Harris (2009), and Jessica Lange (2010).
Model/filmmaker Emme was a guest at our monthly "Girls Outreach" program in 2002. Through screenings and discussions with women filmmakers, this series for at-risk teenage girls presented the art and business of filmmaking as an attainable goal in their lives.
In 2003, we hosted Q&A's with Robert Benton, Jeff Bridges, Tim Burton, Robert Duvall, Clint Eastwood, Eve Ensler, Colin Firth and Scarlett Johansson, Stephen Frears, Terry George, Paul Giamatti, Farley Granger, Salma Hayek, Joe Klein, Juliane Lorenz, Rob Marshall, Albert Maysles, Ismail Merchant and James Ivory, Rebecca Miller, Mike Nichols, Philip Noyce, Susan Orlean, Sydney Pollack, Parker Posey, Anna Quindlen, Reno and Nancy Savoca, Tim Robbins, Gary Ross, Joel Schumacher, Martin Scorsese, Campbell Scott, Susan Seidelman, Omar Sharif, Meryl Streep, Sigourney Weaver, Harvey Weinstein, and Vanessa Williams, among others.
The perfect brew: Stephen King, horror films, and Halloween. On Oct. 30, 2003, after a week-long showing of films he personally selected for our Halloween programming, Stephen King joined us for a benefit screening of Cujo.
JBFC-curated series in 2003 included "Pushing the Limits with Roman Polanski," "Eric Rohmer's Moral Tales," "Fassbinder," "Films from the Silk Road," "Hitchcock," "Jeff Bridges: The Big Picture," "After Dark: Music Festival," and "Errol Morris: Philosopher-King of Cinema."
Director Susan Seidelman previewed and discussed her film Gaudi Afternoon as part of our ongoing "Celebrating Women Filmmakers" series.
Exciting exhibits have filled the third floor at the Film Center, named the Jane Peck Gallery in 2006 in honor of one of our first and most dedicated volunteers. Highlights include photos of Martha Graham by eminent photographer Barbara Morgan, on view during "Dance on Camera 2004," and the heartbreaking snapshots taken by Calcutta street children on display during the run of the Oscar-winning documentary Born into Brothels.
In 2004, we hosted Q&A's with Robert Altman, Alejandro Amenabar, James L. Brooks, Ken Burns, David Denby, Nora Guthrie, Tony Hendra, Andrew Jarecki, Mike Leigh, Frank McCourt, Dow Mossman, Mike Nichols, Joyce Carol Oates, Melvin Van Peebles, Rex Reed, Tim Russert, Kevin Smith, Kevin Spacey, Morgan Spurlock, Meryl Streep, John Travolta, Stanley Tucci, Gene Wilder, Zhang Yimou, and Neil Young, among others.
JBFC-curated series in 2004 included "Another Russia: A Tribute to Lenfilm Studios," "Chris Marker: The Greatest Filmmaker You've Never Heard Of," "Great Pianists of the 20th Century," "French Thrillers of the '50s and '60s," "Werner Herzog," "Orson Welles," and "Lords of the Ring."
On July 3, 2004, director Michael Moore dropped in to surprise 250 stunned audience members at a screening of his film Fahrenheit 9/11. After, he had high praise for the film's exhibition: "The picture was GORGEOUS! The sound was MAGNIFICENT! It was the best experience we have had since Day 1 watching the film."
Executive Director Steve Apkon was one of 35 leading educators, authors, policy makers, and researchers invited to the 21st Century Literacy Summit, a global conference to exchange ideas, explore visual, aural, and digital literacy, and devise strategies to maximize their potential. The summit was sponsored by the George Lucas Educational Foundation, Adobe Systems, and The New Media Consortium.
In 2005, we hosted Q&A's with Noah Baumbach, Jonathan Caouette, Judy Collins, Horton Foote, Charles Grodin, Daniel Handler, Geoffrey Holder, Ron Howard, Bill Irwin, Jim Jarmusch, Ang Lee, Daniel Day Lewis, Jerry Lewis, Rob Marshall, Alan Menken, Paul Reiser, Jason Ritter and Tom Arnold, Richard Russo, George Stevens Jr., Chris Wedge, and Gene Wilder, among others.
JBFC-curated series in 2005 included "Three by Horton Foote," "The Indiscreet Charm of Luis Buñuel," "George Stevens: Hollywood Giant," "The Golden Age of German Cinema 1919-33," "The Marx Brothers," "Stanley Kubrick," "Cinema Caliente: Latin America in Film," and "Louis Malle."
Two exciting new series were added to our annual roster in 2005: "Global Watch" presents a selection of the year's most essential and controversial documentaries; and "FrameWorks: Art on Film" offers an array of films about great visual artists and insights by critics, art historians, filmmakers, and artists.
An unforgettable event. On Jan. 7, 2005, special guest Paul Rusesabagina, the real-life hero depicted in Hotel Rwanda; and Terry George, the film's director, joined us for a preview screening.
Jonathan Demme's "Rarely Seen Cinema" series has developed a loyal and growing following since its launch in 2005. From the forgotten, the wild, the strange, and the outrageous to the never-released and just plain terrific, Oscar-winning filmmaker Demme selects films that take us on a unique journey through the cinematic past and leads a spirited discussion with the audience after each screening.
Opening night of our "Dance on Camera 2005" series featured a screening of Carmen and Geoffrey, a documentary about the lives of dance icons Carmen de Lavallade and Geoffrey Holder. After, author Esmeralda Santiago led a discussion with the mesmerizing Geoffrey Holder, who later joined JBFC members and area youth at a reception.
On Nov. 16, 2006, ground was broken at 405 Manville Road for the Media Arts Lab. Just up the street from the JBFC Theater, the Lab is the hub for the JBFC's innovative 21st century literacy programs for students of all ages.
Sixty educators, grades 3-12, took part in the first "Summer Teachers Institute," a week-long course designed to prepare them to integrate 21st century communication tools into their classrooms. The goal: for teachers to learn new ways to empower their students to become active viewers, engaged world citizens, and inspired creators.
Steve Apkon was a featured speaker at the first ever UNESCO Conference on Arts Education in Portugal. The conference was attended by over 1,100 people from 150 countries. Steve's breakout session was "The Power of Story."
In 2006, we hosted Q&A's with Lucy Arnaz, William Baldwin, Angela Bassett, Steve Buscemi, Christopher Buckley, Charles Busch, Christo and Jeanne-Claude and Albert Maysles, Donovan, Nora Guthrie, Terrance Howard, William Hurt, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Garrison Keillor, Edward Norton, Melvin Van Peebles, Ruth Reichl and Farmer John, Isabella Rossellini, Campbell Scott, Will Shortz, Kevin Smith, Steven Soderbergh, and Oliver Stone, among others.
JBFC-curated series in 2006 included "New German Cinema," "Four on Food," "Ernest Lehman: The Invisible Art of Screenwriting," "After the Apocalypse," "Ingmar Bergman," "Kenji Mizoguchi," "War in Iranian Cinema," and "Viva Pedro!"
Opening with an evening dedicated to John Cheever and a play read by Mary Beth Hurt, "Celluloid Suburbia" featured seven film programs on the American dream of suburban bliss and the anxiety of sprawl. This Jan. 2006 series was a collaboration among several of the County's nonprofit cultural organizations: ArtsWestchester, the Hudson River Museum, Katonah Museum of Art, and the JBFC.
A generous grant from philanthropist Kathryn W. Davis made possible the purchase of 5 Grant Street, a residence adjacent to the new Media Arts Lab. The site houses filmmakers, educators, and programmers from around the world who live, work, teach, and screen on the JBFC campus as part of our Fellowship for International Understanding through Film.
Over 1,000 middle and high school students participated in a 24-hour film marathon at the JBFC featuring groundbreaking movies about genocide. The goal of the project was to raise awareness about the crisis in Darfur, but the group also raised more than $70,000 for a selected group of Darfur relief agencies.
In 2007, we hosted QnA's with Noah Baumbach, Judy Collins, Alex Gibney, Ryan Gosling, Todd Haynes, Robert Klein, Al Leiter, Mark Morris, Joong-Hoon Park, Sarah Polley, Simon Schama, James Schamus and Ang Lee, Julian Schnabel, Paul Schrader, Duncan Sheik, Steven Soderbergh, Oliver Stone, Julie Taymor and Elliot Goldenthal, and John Turturro, among others.
JBFC-curated series in 2007 included "50 Years of Janus Films," "Thursday Nights at the Opera," "The Meditative Life," "After Dark: Takashi Miike," "The French New Wave," "The View from a United Germany: Films Since 1990," and "Take Me Out to the Movies: Baseball at the Burns."
And the award goes to…the JBFC for screening several films prior to their winning the Oscar for best documentary. First there was Bobby Houston's The Children's March (2004), followed by Zana Briski and Ross Kauffman's Born into Brothels (2006) and Alex Gibney's Taxi to the Darkside (2007).
We showed the first American retrospective of the films of Korean film star and movie idol Joong-hoon Park, who was on hand for the opening night screening of his newest film, Radio Star, followed by a discussion with filmmaker Jonathan Demme.
In Oct. 2007, Danish film director Susanne Bier previewed and discussed her film Things We Lost in the Fire.
"Digital Storytelling" was piloted as a summer workshop for promising students from the Bronx and Yonkers public schools. The program enabled them to discover, share, preserve, and celebrate the stories that lie within their hearts. Through the power of communication technology, they each created their own digital story. The 22 students in grades 10-12 were hosted through the Chappaqua Summer Scholarship Program.
JBFC-curated series in 2008 included "Stranger than Fiction," "Envisioning Russia: A Century of Filmmaking," "African Film Festival," "Jazz Sessions: The Greats on Camera," "Hitchcock Returns," "Fritz Lang in Germany," "United Artists: The Studio at 90," "From Bach to Glass: A Feast for Classical Music Lovers," and "Europe & Hollywood: The Films of Ingrid Bergman."
How Cool! Opening night of "Jazz Sessions: The Greats on Camera" featured a special performance by John Pizzarelli followed a screening of Keeping Time: the Life and Photography of Milt Hinton. A reception, book signing, and exhibition of 20 of Hinton's photographs followed. Grammy award winning bassist Todd Coolman hosted the Q&A's in the series.
In 2008, we hosted Q&A's with Alec Baldwin, Danny Boyle and Dev Patel, Patricia Clarkson, Pearl Fryer, Werner Herzog, Ron Howard, Bill Irwin, Eugene Jarecki, Elaine May and Julian Schlossberg, Albert Maysles, Meat Loaf, Denis O'Hare, Philippe Petit and Debra Winger, John Pizzarelli, Paul Schrader, David Schwimmer, John Scofield, Kevin Smith, and Oliver Stone, among others.
Film, Food, Jazz, Live Art! Opening night of "FrameWorks: Art on Film," an annual series featuring films and prominent guests from the worlds of filmmaking and visual arts, featured a screening of Helvetica followed by a reception with great food, live music, and spontaneous paintings on the theme of typefaces.
The JBFC proudly hosted three International Filmmakers-in-Residence fellows in 2009. They were here as part of The Project for International Understanding through Film, which invites filmmakers, programmers, and educators from around the world to live, work, and teach on our campus, nurturing lines of communication between cultures using the power of film.
In 2009, the Media Arts Lab opened for business! It quickly became home to dozens of filmmaking and cinema studies courses for kids, teens, adults, and families during the day, after school, in the evenings, and on weekends. From June to August each year, "Summer @ the Lab" offers camp programs for children and teens.
In 2009, we hosted Q&A's with Anvil, Alec Baldwin, Michael Caine, Patricia Clarkson, Jeff Daniels, Lee Daniels, Nora Ephron, Ed Harris, Jeremy Irons, Logan and Noah Miller, Mira Nair, Chazz Palminteri, Jason Reitman, Mary Stuart Masterson, Michelle Monaghan, Amy Redford, Stanley Tucci, and Nobel Laureate Eric Kandel, among others.
JBFC-curated series in 2009 included "Pictures at a Revolution," "Jazz Sessions: The Greats on Camera," "The Meditative Life," "International Noir," "Sidney Lumet," "Satoshi Kon," "Adaptations: Books into Film," and "Yves Montand."
"Teaching and Technology in the Digital Age" (TTDA) was piloted with eight teachers, grades K-12. This new, intensive two-year professional development program helps teachers master 21st century visual literacy tools and expands their perception of what can be achieved in the classroom.
Another first at the Burns – live, HD broadcasts via satellite from the prestigious National Theater in London. The JBFC is one of only 320 venues around the world to participate in the pilot program of National Theater Live (NT Live), an exciting new venture designed to bring vibrant stage productions of the best of British theater to a wider audience.
Nonprofit organizations learn how to make public service announcements (PSAs) and short films an effective part of their advocacy work in the "Reel Change for Nonprofits" course at the Media Arts Lab.
In 2009, an ongoing monthly series for high school students, “Friday Night Films @ the Lab” was launched. Director Jonathan Caouette was a special guest for a screening and discussion of his film Tarnation.
Another proud moment! Adding to the several prestigious awards the building had already been given from the design community, the Media Arts Lab received a LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Gold classification by the US Green Building Council, the recognized certification system for building construction that focuses on sustainable environmental performance. To date, it is the only registered LEED Gold N.C. (new construction) building in Westchester County, NY.
In 2010, we hosted Q&A's with Kevin Asch, Noah Baumbach, Bruce Beresford, Joe Berlinger, Stuart Blumberg, Jeff Bridges and Maggie Gyllenhaal, Patricia Clarkson, Nigel Cole, Ann Curry, Dave Davidson, Ruby Dee, Nash Edgerton, Scott Freiman, Alex Gibney, Mark Harris, Ruth Gruber, James Kaplan, Robert Klein, Stephen Lang, Jessica Lange, John Cameron Mitchell, Jo Mennell, Galt Niederhoffer, Niels Arden Oplev, Steve Reich, Ira Resnick, John Schaefer, Campbell Scott, Dan and Toby Talbot, Julie Taymor, and Susanna White, among others.
JBFC-curated series in 2010 included "Elia Kazan," "Celebrating Chekhov," "Kurosawa Centennial, 1910-2010," "Sounds of Summer: New Music Documentaries," "The Big Score: The Greatest Heist Films," "Fatih Akin: From Berlin to Istanbul and Back," "Focus on Nature," and "Bogart."
In memoriam: We note the passing of several prominent individuals who honored us with a visit during the past 10 years. Christopher Reeve, Robert Altman, Frank McCourt, Sydney Pollack, Ismail Merchant, Jeanne-Claude, Horton Foote, Tim Russert, and Ted Sorenson all shared their unique gifts, histories, and expertise with the JBFC family and helped make us a more vibrant community.
In partnership with the Mount Pleasant Public Library, we created the Jacob Burns Film Center Curated Collection, a unique assemblage of over 200 films on DVDs available to library patrons throughout Westchester. The collection will be expanded on a regular basis based on recommendations from our film programmers.
International Film Programming