The First Step


In a divided America, Van Jones controversially works across party lines on landmark criminal justice reform and a more humane response to the addiction crisis. Attempting to be a bridge builder in a time of extreme polarization takes him deep into the inner workings of a divisive administration, internal debates within both parties, and the lives of frontline activists fighting for their communities.

Join us for a panel following the film, supported by Shonkinite, featuring Director Brandon Kramer and Louis Reed. THE FIRST STEP is the BZN 2021 Closing Film.


Brandon is a Washington, DC-based filmmaker and co-founder of Meridian Hill Pictures. Brandon directed CITY OF TREES (Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, national broadcast on PBS’ America Reframed, Netflix); and the Webby Award-winning independent documentary series THE MESSY TRUTH. Brandon won Best Director at the 2016 Chesapeake Film Festival and Indie Capital Awards, received the Audience Choice Award at the 2015 American Conservation Film Festival and was a 2015 DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities Individual Arts Fellow. Brandon has directed over 30 short documentaries commissioned by public agencies and nonprofits including AARP and US Institute of Peace. Before starting MHP, Brandon served as a teaching artist for the John F. Kennedy Center’s national media education program. Brandon holds a bachelor’s degree in film and cultural anthropology from Boston University.


Time: 7:00 PM
Date: Sunday, September 12
Venue: Crawford Theater

Live Q&A to follow the film, featuring Louis Reed and Director Brandon Kramer.


Title: The First Step
Genre: Documentary Feature
Length: 89 min.
Director: Brandon Kramer
Country: United States