The Jacob Burns Film Center Makes Major Upgrades

The Jacob Burns Film Center Theater Two. Photo by Jesse LoCascio

In Pleasantville, The Jacob Burns Film Center, a nonprofit cultural institution, has announced the completion of its refurbishment project.

The Jacob Burns Film Center has undergone a transformation. The nonprofit cultural institution recently announced the completion of the refurbishment project that tackled its three ground-floor theaters.

The three original theaters have new plush seats equipped with better-functioning cup holders, new optimal-viewing layout in Theater Two, a new screen in Theater One, and updated flooring with new carpets, among many other refurbishments.

Theater One, which is the largest theater in the center with 245 seats, is now open to host large-scale events and screenings. Theater Two, which seats 118, has improved on-stage lighting and sight lines, which elevates the interactions between patrons and special guests. There’s also improved sound baffling to eliminate the outside noise.

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Jacob Burns Theater.
Theater One. Photo by Jesse LoCascio

The upgrades significantly improve the experience for local moviegoers. Plus, the theater hasn’t received a makeover since its original look designed back in 2001.

“With these multiple refurbishments, the theatergoing experience matches the world-class curation of our programming team,” says Mary Jo Ziesel, Executive Director of the Jacob Burns Film Center. “We’re thrilled to unveil the upgraded facilities just in time for the Jewish Film Festival, our concert doc series Sounds of Summer, Pride Month programming, and eagerly anticipated new releases such as Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, Barbie, Oppenheimer, and Asteroid City.”

Three companies that gave the film center a helping hand during the project are Mount Kisco-based KG+D Architects, Yorke Construction Corporation, and Charcoalblue.

KG+D Architects worked with JBFC back in 2008 when the center opened its Media Arts Lab. The company was recently named “Firm of the Year” by the American Institute of Architects New York State Chapter.

Yorke Construction Corporation helped with the original theater renovation in 2001 as well as the Media Arts Lab project. The company, which provided construction services, has worked on Jazz at Lincoln Center and St. Anne’s Warehouse, along with other destinations within the performing arts community.

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Charcoalblue is the world’s leading integrated theater, acoustic, and experience consultancy service, and it also made a contribution to the Jacob Burns Film Center’s renovation.

Jacob Burns Theater
Theater Two. Photo by Jesse LoCascio

In addition to the physical changes, Theater One will be renamed “David Swope Theater” in memory of founding JBFC Board Member and Chairman Emeritus, David Swope. He was a businessman, philanthropist, environmentalist, and community leader who passed away in October 2018.

“David’s passion for our mission, infectious enthusiasm for our programs, inspiring leadership, and substantial financial support helped to propel the Burns to the institution it is today,” says JBFC Board Chair Lynn Sobel. She adds, “For many years to come, countless people will enter the David Swope Theater with a smile as they remember a man who touched their lives and had an enduring impact on the JBFC.”

The center notes that this renovation project was made possible thanks to the David Swope Fund, the Regional Economic Development Council Initiative, and many generous donors.

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Jacob Burns Theater
Theater Two. Photo by Jesse LoCascio

Additional upgrades include updated Hearing Loop technology, which works with individuals’ own T-coil-enabled hearing aid or cochlear implant, new handrails, and an increase in designated accessible seats, removable seats that can be adjusted to accommodate wheelchairs, and LED lighting on aisle armrests and steps for safety.

Although the renovations are complete, the theater is already planning future additions. Renovations are currently underway to add a wine bar and casual seating in the Jane Peck Gallery. With the opening scheduled for the fall, the theater continues to elevate and exceed the filmgoing experience for local filmgoers. Throughout it all, it works to foster an engaged community that embraces cultural and social opportunities.

Be sure to stop by and watch a film to check out the newest additions!

Outside the Pleasantville film center
Photo by Lynda Shenkman

Jacob Burns Film Center
364 Manville Rd, Pleasantville; 914.773.7663

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