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PLEASANTVILLE, NY-Major screen actors, including Glenn Close, Ang Lee, Christopher Reeve, Vanessa Williams, Paul Schrader, Debra Winger and Arliss Howard gathered here on Saturday to celebrate the “film cutting” of the region’s first cultural center on film–the Jacob Burns Center.

The $7 million facility, that was formerly the Rome Theater, totals 18,500 sf of space and includes a 260-seat “premier theater.” The brick walls of the former Rome movie house were preserved and are surrounded by a facility that offers a stadium seating type format with high-tech acoustical paneling. The architectural firm Davis Brody Bond of New York City designed the new facility.

The Jacob Burns Film Center will show independent films, documentaries, international film series and movie classics. The premier screen at the facility will present “the most talked about, cutting-edge films until now largely unavailable outside of Manhattan,” officials with the Jacob Burns Center note. Film programming will be undertaken in collaboration with the Film Society of Lincoln Center, host of the New York Film Festival.

At a private party to commemorate the center’s opening, actress Glenn Close hosted a program that included the screening of “The Closet,” a French film featuring noted actor Gerard Depardieu. Francis Veber, director of the film, was also on hand for the screening of his film at the center.

The complex features three screens. In addition to the premier theater, the facility has a new wing, which houses a 140-seat theater and a 70-seat screening room.

Stephen Apkon, executive director and founder of the Jacob Burns Film Center, thanked the organization’s board of directors and its major donors in attendance who helped fund the construction of the new center. “Thanks to all of you, over the months and years ahead, we will bring audiences the best in world, independent and documentary film.”"We will offer supplemental programs featuring film-makers, actors, screenwriters and many others engaged in this creative process,” he continued. “Programs on visual literacy will teach children and adults to think critically about the films and images they see. Our family programming promises to expose our children to the rich world of film that exists beyond the multiplexes.”

The film center opens to the public on Thursday, June 21 with “Our Song” a coming of age story written and directed by American independent filmmaker Jim McKay, which runs through June 28. Also running at the center will be “Wild Reeds” (June 21-23) by Andre Techine. The film kicks off a series of 13 French films that will run at the center through August 4.

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