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Jacob Burns Highlights Westchester Filmmakers

PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. - The Jacob Burns Film Center will soon begin highlighting filmmakers from Westchester with the launch of its new series “Local Element: Works from a Westchester Perspective.”

Films will be shown four times a year and will highlight short and feature length documentaries, narratives, animation, and experimental and music videos. The series will kick off on July 16 with a screening of "My Comic Shop DocumentARy," a film by Hartsdale resident and Pace Law School graduate Anthony Desiato.

"The timing was very fortuitious," said Desiato, who submitted the film without knowing about the series. "The goal, as they've told me, is they really want to foster a network among the local independent filmmakers."

The film centers around Alternate Realities, a comic book shop in Scarsdale, and its owner, Steve Oto. Desiato has worked at Alternate Realities since he was in high school.

"It's always been a source of inspiration for me," Desiato said. "The movie is very much about the store's owner who used to be a lawyer, but gave it up to open the comic shop. It's very much about his unlikely journey, and just the colorful community that's developed at the store over the years."

Desiato said My Comic Shop DocumentARy has already been screened at five film festivals, including Comic-Con International's Independent Film Festival in San Diego, the Buffalo Niagara Film Festival, and the St. Louis International Film Festival.

"I've gotten to watch with an audience, which has just been a lot of fun just watching people react to it," Desiato said. "And they seem to be responding well to it, which is always encouraging."

Desiato's documentary will be screened at 7:30 p.m. in the Jacob Burns Media Arts Lab, and will be followed by a question and answer session. The event is free but those attending must RSVP via email to Lori Zakalik at

To qualify for a “Local Elements” screening, the project must have at least one key creative person from Westchester. Films must be submitted to, and be shared through a link to a video sharing website.

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