Our Mission

The Jacob Burns Film Center (JBFC) is a nonprofit cultural arts center dedicated to teaching literacy for a visual culture; presenting the best of independent, documentary, and world cinema; and making film a vibrant part of the community.

The Media Arts Lab, down the street from the JBFC Theater in Pleasantville, NY, is the hub of our education initiatives. This state-of-the-art facility is truly a laboratory where we pilot, implement, and develop programs to help educators and students of all ages succeed in the visually, digitally, and globally connected 21st century.

The JBFC is committed to working with all communities. Over 70% of the students who take advantage of our programs each year are from under-resourced schools and community organizations and participate absolutely free of charge. Scholarships are available for every course.

Teaching and Learning Philosophy

JBFC media education programs connect teachers and students through unique viewing and creating experiences.

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Active Viewers

  • Observe, comprehend, and analyze visual texts
  • Critically respond to visual texts as a collection of choices that create meaning and emotion
  • Apply the language, techniques, and vocabulary of film to all visual texts

Engaged Citizens

  • Welcome the diversity and commonality of perspectives, stories, and experiences
  • Practice empathy and communciate with open minds
  • Share and receive new ideas
  • Become thoughtful and curious media consumers

Thoughtful Creators

  • Celebrate self-expression and imagination
  • Make intentional choices that support their creative vision
  • Utilize technology with imagination and confidence
  • Participate in a reflective process that welcomes peer feedback

The JBFC Learning Framework

The language of image and sound has a rich history, but innovations in media creation and sharing have given it new relevance as an essential communication tool. Based on a decade of experience with over 100,000 students, we have created The JBFC Learning Framework, which provides benchmarks towards true literacy in today’s visual culture.

The Learning Framework provides a progression of vocabulary, concepts, critical and creative thinking skills to support fluency with visual and aural communication for learners at all stages of their development.


Staff & Faculty

JBFC faculty members are passionate about film and media and about creating an experimental, safe, and playful atmosphere for learning. They are collaborators and creators themselves, with a diverse array of expertise including film studies, production, and education. Their backgrounds include both formal and informal teaching environments and demonstrate a strong understanding of curriculum design and reflective practice. Most of all, every member of our faculty is deeply committed to inspiring a generation of visual storytellers.


Partners in Education

The Jacob Burns Film Center heartily thanks the thousands of individuals who support our education and outreach programs through their annual gifts. For information on how you can support our education programs through an annual gift or the creation of a scholarship or outreach fund, please contact JBFC Development Director Judy Exton at 914.773.7663, ext. 414, or jexton@burnsfilmcenter.org.

Contact Us

Courses at the Lab

914.773.7663 ext. 8

School and Teacher Programs

914-773-7663 ext. 7

Monday - Friday, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
The Media Arts Lab and administrative offices are closed on all major holidays.

In the event of inclement weather, please call 914.773.7663 ext. 444 for an automated message.

Media Arts Lab
405 Manville Road
Pleasantville, NY 10570