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The First Step, a film by by Brandon & Lance Kramer

Documentary Feature | Live forum + cocktail party to follow


Sunday, September 12  | 7:00 PM | Crawford Theater
Open to All-Access and Sunday Passholders

EVENT DETAILS

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

Genre: Documentary Feature
Length: 89 min.
Director: Brandon Kramer
Country: United States

SYNOPSIS

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 live Q&A after the film featuring Director Brandon Kramer and Louis Reed. Cocktail party to follow!

Special thanks to Shonkinite for their support of this event.

Meet the Panelists

Brandon Kramer | Director

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.

Louis Reed | Activist

Louis L. Reed is the Sr. Director of Membership and Partnerships for the REFORM Alliance. He brings to the REFORM Alliance years of experience in government, criminal justice expertise, policy advocacy, public health, and personal impact, serving nearly 14 years in federal prison and several years on supervision.

Louis is a board-certified addictions counselor and licensed alcohol & addictions practitioner. Prior to joining REFORM, Louis was the Director of National Organizing & Partnerships for Dream Corps JUSTICE (formerly #cut50), where he grew the nation’s largest bi-partisan grassroots advocacy and organizing coalition through the Empathy Network.

Louis’s experience in government includes conceptualizing and serving as Director of the Mayor’s Office for Reentry Affairs in the City of Bridgeport, CT.  There, he led services for all persons impacted by the criminal justice system both in and returning to the City after incarceration.

His policy reform experience includes leading advocacy for the historic First Step Act, and working with the Connecticut legislature for successful enactment of legislation related to expanding access to licenses for people living with criminal records, limiting asset forfeiture practices by law enforcement, and strengthening reentry practices and services for people returning from prison.

Louis is a Council of Criminal Justice trustee, Forbes Coaches Council Member, Huffington Post contributor on Prison Traumatic Stress Disorder, and has appeared on CNN, CBSN, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, and in national publications.

Louis has received many awards recognizing his work and leadership, including recognition by The Brigadoon’s 2020 top 20 influential leaders, and a 2021 Ebony Magazine Power 100 nomination.

Louis lives in Connecticut, consults in strategic partnerships/organizing, and is a guest commentator on the Law & Crime Network.

The First Step, a film by by Brandon & Lance Kramer

Documentary Feature | Live forum + cocktail party to follow


Sunday, September 12  | 7:00 PM | Crawford Theater
Open to All-Access and Sunday Passholders

Join us for the first night of BZN 2021, emceed by comedian Bassem Youssef, with a cocktail party catered by Plonk, and the unveiling of the BZN Film Center and the BZN Film Fund. Open to all BZN Passholders.

The BZN Film Center provides private fiscal sponsorship—from Montana—of Montana film projects and is proud to introduce the superb team of Cortina Tango. The BZN Film Fund will sponsor up-and-coming filmmakers with student, production, and career grants in increments of $1,000. Our 2021 gala will feature Montana State University seniors pitching their films for the coming year.

BZN is beyond thrilled to announce the brilliant and hilarious emcee for the gala; Bassem Youssef!

Bassem Youssef is an Egyptian comedian, writer, producer, surgeon, doctor, media critic—and television host!  Dubbed the Jon Stewart of the Arab World, Bassem was the host of a popular TV show called AlBernameg from 2011 to 2014, the first of its kind political satire show in the Middle East. AlBernameg became the first online to TV conversion show in the Middle East and the most watched show across the region with 30 million viewers every week. Before becoming a comedian and political satirist, Youssef majored in cardiothoracic surgery and practiced cardiothoracic surgery in Egypt for 13 years.Youssef has appeared on Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show,” Stephen Colbert’s “The Late Show.” He starred in a comedic documentary about his life and career called “Tickling Giants,” with Jon Stewart, and has written a children’s book dedicated to his daughter entitled, “The Magical Reality of Nadia.” Youssef also has a worldwide touring standup show. Learn more about Youssef and view his upcoming tour dates on his website here.

Brandon Kramer | Director

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.

Louis Reed | Activist

Louis L. Reed is the Sr. Director of Membership and Partnerships for the REFORM Alliance. He brings to the REFORM Alliance years of experience in government, criminal justice expertise, policy advocacy, public health, and personal impact, serving nearly 14 years in federal prison and several years on supervision.

Louis is a board-certified addictions counselor and licensed alcohol & addictions practitioner. Prior to joining REFORM, Louis was the Director of National Organizing & Partnerships for Dream Corps JUSTICE (formerly #cut50), where he grew the nation’s largest bi-partisan grassroots advocacy and organizing coalition through the Empathy Network.

Louis’s experience in government includes conceptualizing and serving as Director of the Mayor’s Office for Reentry Affairs in the City of Bridgeport, CT.  There, he led services for all persons impacted by the criminal justice system both in and returning to the City after incarceration.

His policy reform experience includes leading advocacy for the historic First Step Act, and working with the Connecticut legislature for successful enactment of legislation related to expanding access to licenses for people living with criminal records, limiting asset forfeiture practices by law enforcement, and strengthening reentry practices and services for people returning from prison.

Louis is a Council of Criminal Justice trustee, Forbes Coaches Council Member, Huffington Post contributor on Prison Traumatic Stress Disorder, and has appeared on CNN, CBSN, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, and in national publications.

Louis has received many awards recognizing his work and leadership, including recognition by The Brigadoon’s 2020 top 20 influential leaders, and a 2021 Ebony Magazine Power 100 nomination.

Louis lives in Connecticut, consults in strategic partnerships/organizing, and is a guest commentator on the Law & Crime Network.

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