On Monday, Sept. 18, the Jacob Burns Film Center(JBFC) in Pleasantville, New York, presented National Geographic Society President and CEO Gary E. Knell with the JBFC Vision Award. At an event “Celebrating Forces of Nature,” Knell was recognized as an inspiring individual who helps support and sustain our natural world through the power of visual storytelling. Past Vision Award winners include Ron Howard, Steven Spielberg, Jonathan Demme and Sheila C. Johnson, among others.
The prevailing theme at the celebratory event was changing lives through storytelling, a cause Knell knows all too well from his tenure at Sesame Workshop, National Public Radio and currently at the National Geographic Society. As part of the awards presentation, the JBFC developed a tribute video highlighting Knell’s achievements while leading these three extraordinary organizations — educating, inspiring and illuminating the world through storytelling.
The ceremony also recognized the Hoch and van Hengel families, founding supporters of the annual JBFC’s Focus on Nature series. Following the awards presentation, guests enjoyed dinner in the JBFC’s Jane Peck Gallery. The current exhibition features stunning photographs from Antarctica taken by acclaimed nature photographer and National Geographic contributor Paul Nicklen.
The Jacob Burns Film Center is a nonprofit film and education organization dedicated to presenting the best of independent, documentary and world cinema; promoting visual literacy; and making film a vibrant part of the community. All proceeds from Monday’s event benefit the JBFC’s film, media education, scholarship and outreach programs.