Jacob Burns Film Center: A Hudson Valley Destination for Film Lovers (2024)

Whether you’re a film buff or a parent searching for a great weekend outing for the kids, Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville is a Hudson Valley destination worthy of a trip any time of year.

In 1998, local resident Steve Apkon bought the Rome Theater in Pleasantville with the goal of transforming the town’s defunct circa 1925 mission-style movie theater into a serious film center for the Hudson Valley. Almost 25 years later, the Jacob Burns Film Center (JBFC) has become one of the most successful suburban art house theaters in the country.

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Photo by Lynda Shenkman

JBFC is more than just a movie theater, however. It offers a year-round docket of screenings showcasing the best in independent film, foreign film, and documentaries; special events featuring some of the biggest names in the film industry such as Steven Spielberg, Greta Gerwig, and Bong Joon-ho; and education programs that engages nearly 4,000 students each year and offers one-of-a-kind summer camp experiences in film for kids and teens.

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Photo by Ed Cody

Greta Gerwig discusses her film Little Women at JBFC.

After an extensive renovation project, JBFC is more welcoming to visitors of all ages and interests than ever. Last year, its original three ground-floor theaters received a complete overhaul for state-of-the-art comfort and audio-visual technology, and this month it welcomed the grand opening of a new space on the third floor:the Take 3 Wine Bar & Café,adjacent to the Jane Peck Gallery.

Can’t-Miss Spring and Summer Programming at JBFC

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Nancy Sovaca's 1993 film Household Saints is one of the films being screened as part of JBFC's first film preservation festival.

Serious film lovers will want to make plans for JBFC’s first ever film preservation festival, “Restored and Rediscovered” (May 13–23). The festival features films from five continents, from the silent era to the 2000s. In addition to screenings, there will also be introductions, panels, and Q&As from the films’ directors, actors, and organizations and individuals at the forefront of film preservation.

Popular with art aficionados is JBFC’s ongoing series “Beyond the Frame,” which offers an up-close look at art’s past and present. Upcoming screenings include Exhibition on Screen: My National Gallery, London (June 26), which gives voice to experiences of the museum’s visitors from all walks of life and Exhibition on Screen: Hopper - An American Love Story (July 31), which exploresthe influential Nyack-born artist’s work, life, and relationships.

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Nicholas Ray's The Lusty Men will be screened on May 1 on 35mm film.

Another must-catch series is “Hollywood Maverick: Nicholas Ray,” which highlights the acclaimed postwar director’s cinematic odes to the lives of loners, outcasts, and rebels that helped inspire generations of filmmakers to come. The four-film series still has three screenings scheduled, including 35mm film screenings of The Lusty Men (May 1) and Rebel Without A Cause (June 5).

Looking for an all-star outing for the kids? JBFC Kids introduces young ones to cherished films from the past and present in a family-friendly setting. Upcoming screenings include an Encanto sing-along (May 4-5), Brave (May 11), and Hugo in 3D (May 18). Once a month, one JBFC Kids film is also offered as a sensory friendly screening, which helps young people with sensory needs, including autism, enjoy what might otherwise be an overwhelming filmgoing experience.

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The Jane Peck Gallery's newest exhibit features the work of renowned poster designer Bill Gold.

Alongside the exciting lineup of series, screenings, and events, visitors will want to stop by the Jane Peck Gallery’s new exhibit, “Bill Gold: 70 Years of Iconic Movie Poster Designs.” Curated by Gold’s widow and collaborator Susan Cornfield, the show provides a glimpse into the private collection of the prolific American graphic designer who created the iconic poster designs for Casablanca, Mystic River, Camelot, and countless others.

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Photo by Ed Cody

Take 3 Wine Bar & Cafe opened in April.

Before or after a screening, be sure to make time to visit the brand new Take 3 Wine Bar & Cafe, designed by JBFC board member Laureen Barber (co-owner and designer of nearby Blue Hill at Stone Barns). Enjoy conversation with friends and nosh on locally sourced food and drink, including soups, salads, sandwiches, and cheese boards from neighboring Second Mouse Cheese Shop and beer from nearby Captain Lawrence and Soul Brewing Company before heading out to explore the charming streets of Pleasantville, lined with independent shops of all kinds.

To learn more about upcoming screenings, events, and programs, or membership at Jacob Burns Film Center, visit Burnsfilmcenter.org.

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Jacob Burns Film Center: A Hudson Valley Destination for Film Lovers (2024)
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