Jacob Burns Film Center Elects New Board Leadership

Arts and Entertainment

April 18, 2014

From: Jacob Burns Film Center

Pleasantville, NY The Jacob Burns Film Center (JBFC) announced April 17, 2014 that at the annual meeting of the Board of Trustees Hugh Price was elected Chairman of the Board and Janet Benton was elected to the newly-created position of Vice Chair. Former Board Chairman David Swope is now Director Emeritus.
"I am deeply honored to be chosen to chair the Board of Directors," said Hugh Price. "Founding Executive Director Steve Apkon and his team, the directors, benefactors, and patrons of the Burns have built a one-of-a-kind film and educational institution that already is a national treasure. I will do my level best to help ensure that the Burns continues to be the Burns - and even better - for generations to come."
"Thirteen years in, the mission of the JBFC film, education, community is indelibly ingrained in and powerfully energizing to all of us on the Board of Directors," said Janet Benton. "I look forward to the work ahead as we expand and deepen our impact locally and beyond."
Hugh Price was the John Weinberg/Goldman Sachs Visiting Professor of Public and International Affairs in the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University from 2008 until 2013. There he taught courses on the role of governments, foundations, and nonprofit organizations in addressing social problems. A senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, Price served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Urban League from 1994 through 2003. Prior to the National Urban League, Price served as Vice President of the Rockefeller Foundation and Senior Vice President of WNET/Thirteen in New York. He belongs to the Georgetown University Board of Trustees and recently retired from the boards of Metropolitan Life Insurance Company and Verizon. Hugh previously served on the boards of Sears Roebuck, Mayo Clinic, Educational Testing Service, and the Urban Institute.

Janet Benton holds an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and a B.A. from Pomona College. She is the founder and trustee of Frog Rock Foundation, which supports not-for-profit organizations serving economically disadvantaged youth in Westchester County. Additionally, she serves on the board of trustees of Pomona College, Children's Village, a social services agency supporting vulnerable children and families through residential and community outreach programs, and Neighbors Link Network, which oversees affiliate organizations working to promote the integration of immigrants into local communities. Janet was a member of the Chappaqua Board of Education from 1999-2010 and served as president for the 2001-02, 2005-06, 2007-08, and 2010-11 school years.
David Swope is Chairman of the Westchester Community College Foundation, a Director of Historic Hudson Valley, a Trustee of Lesley University, and involved in the Ossining Children's Center and the Katonah Museum of Art. He is a graduate of Harvard College and Columbia Law School. David served in the U.S. Peace Corp in Bombay, India where he set up a legal aid clinic. David practiced law at the firm of White and Case in New York City before returning to Westchester to become involved in his own businesses Tappan Hill (Abigail Kirsch at Tappan Hill) and Club Fit.

Swope was elected Chairman of the Board in 2009, very soon after the JBFC's Media Arts Lab opened its doors to the public. Under his leadership the JBFC significantly expanded its education programs for students in Pre-K through Grade 12 and adults. Throughout this time, the JBFC also increased its focus on professional development programs, giving educators creative and technical experience with digital media as well as guidance on their application in the classroom. Finally, he successfully led the organization through a time of transition. Edie Demas will become Executive Director of the JBFC on May 1. In assuming the position, Demas becomes the first Executive Director to follow founder Steve Apkon, who held the post for 13 years. Apkon is stepping down to head a newly created nonprofit media production company. He will continue to serve on the Board of Directors.

Edie Demas brings a wide range of experience to the JBFC. Active in arts education networks locally, nationally, and internationally, she has spent 20 years focused on arts appreciation and education programming, including serving as the Director of Education at New York City's New Victory Theater for ten seasons. Under her direction, the Theater's education programs were honored with the Americans for the Arts annual award for Arts Education, and Demas herself received a BAXten (Brooklyn Arts Exchange) award in recognition of her work with teaching artists and young audiences.

"We are excited to bring in such an accomplished arts educator to continue our work in quality film programming and to expand the impact of our innovative visual literacy curricula," said David Swope. "Not only does Edie bring a wealth of experience; she has the ideas and vision necessary to enable the JBFC to continue to succeed as one of the country's leading film and media education centers."

The Jacob Burns Film Center is a nonprofit cultural arts organization dedicated to: presenting the best of independent, documentary, and world cinema; promoting 21st century literacy, and making film a vibrant part of the community. Located on a 47,500 sq. foot, three-building campus in the center of Pleasantville, the JBFC is just 30 miles outside of New York City. Since the opening in 2001, over 2,000,000 people have seen over 5,400 films from more than 40 countries. The campus includes the 27,000 sq. foot Media Arts Lab, the JBFC's state-of-the-art education center, a creative and educational community for storytellers in the digital age, offering one-time workshops, intensive courses, and weekend programs for children and adults of all ages.