Reviews

What people are saying about CITY OF TREES:

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  • City of Trees is honest. It is real. It explores the messy truths embedded in all fights for environmental and social justice. The film offers a window into the nuances, hopes and fears that play out whenever well-intentioned people try to make things better in struggling urban communities.” — Van Jones, CNN political commentator, NYTimes bestselling author

  • "Beautiful and engaging. City of Trees offers a great ‘new narrative’ to counter the conventional formula of the traditional success story and explores different dimensions of social and environmental justice.” — Thomas Walker, PhD Director of the Environmental Studies Program, Goucher College

  • "An expertly crafted, intimately rendered, verité documentary...the film closely examines how race and class difference functions, and the real tensions between wanting to change and improve the environment with the urgent need to secure good jobs for one’s family, safety and well-being.” — Giovanna Chesler, Director of Film & Video Studies Program, George Mason University

  • "A subtly powerful, insightful, and at times poignant social and environmental documentary. City of Trees so brilliantly succeeds not because it is an environmental film (though it clearly is) but rather because, as a terrific labor film, [City of Trees] uses an environmental program as a prism into the interconnected intricacies of work, race, class, urban space, male breadwinner gender roles and community politics." — Jason Kozlowski, Labor Historian and Labor Educator, West Virginia University Institute for Labor Studies and Research

  • "Focusing on the struggles of managing a non-profit organization while simultaneously seeking to implement a local park's beautification and the empowerment of its neighboring citizens, this handsomely shot story makes its viewers intimate observers of the emotional journeys experienced by both the project leaders and the hired staff who passionately grab at this opportunity to improve their lives." — Chris Haley, Director of the Study of the Legacy of Slavery in Maryland, Maryland State Archives

  • “This is a special film. Anyone interested in the complex challenges of "helping others" will find deep insights in this parable of human aspiration. Take advantage of this opportunity to see it on a big screen.” — Patricia Aufderheide, Professor, School of Communications, American University

What people are saying about screening CITY OF TREES: 

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  • "I showed City of Trees to my freshmen class and they were touched by the film. They were particularly interested in the struggle for sustainable employment. It felt beneficial for the students to learn about people who live in communities far different from their own and still care that their communities have green spaces." — Lillian Walker-Shelton, Discover Instructor, Marymount University - Fairfax, VA
  • "City of Trees, and especially the hour-long discussion that followed, made people think about the economic disparities and lack of opportunities for minorities. Given the current racial tensions in the US, the film brought individual's life challenges, white privilege, social, racial, class, and economic disparities to the forefront. I'd like to think that we opened some eyes and minds by screening and dialoguing about the film." — Pamela Thompson, Manager of Adult Education, Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University - Boston, MA
  • "City of Trees opened up a discussion about the relationship between urban residents and their parks. Can planting trees improve community engagement and participation in their own neighborhoods? Although our screening was small, it included a number of recent college graduates who are currently exploring ways to get involved in urban environmental issues. I think the film and discussion got them very interested and invested in the link between social justice and environmental sustainability in a way that a lecture or book could not." — Jeanne Haffner, Dumbarton Oaks, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Urban Landscape Studies - Washington, DC
  • "City of Trees was a real depiction of the difficulties nonprofits face when trying to make a difference. The audience was able to relate to the lives of the main characters and see themselves in the struggles and successes of each person. Community members walked away with a better understanding of the challenges related to programs like The Green Corps that have great intentions, but still struggle. They also gained a better sense of the opportunities that exist in our own community that are similar to DC Green Corps." — Glenn Wilson, President and Co-founder, Communities First, Inc. - Flint, MI

More audience reactions to CITY OF TREES:

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  • "City of Trees is a truly thought-provoking, memorable film and worth watching no matter who you are. But if you're someone who's interested in social service, non-profits, neighborhood revitalization, re-entry and working with the formerly incarcerated, or the state of U.S.'s human rights in general, then this should be required viewing. The power of local communities and local politics to transform lives is at moments heart-wrenching, hopeful and even invigorating, especially given the nonstop drag that is the current national scene. There are some important local elections coming up wherever you live! This film will add enough oxygen to the fire in your belly to get inspired, maybe even to get involved. Check it out!" — Ryan Berger
  • "City of Trees is thought-provoking and genuine.  I particularly like the rough edges of the film, and that the ending is not sugar-coated. The documentation of Washington Parks & People accurately shows how difficult it is to achieve lasting impact with even the most well meaning objectives and a totally dedicated staff. This film is a real case study for any organization setting out to make a social impact." — Chaz Kerschner
  • "I appreciate how the film depicts plenty of tensions —just like real life. When watching City of Trees one is both moved by and frustrated with the limitations so many people face, and the difficulties to move beyond our zones of comfort." — Tom Burkhardt
  • "I love this film. Gave it my support when I saw a rough cut a year ago. The five years and 275 hours of filming that it took to make this film speaks to the tenacity of the Kramer brothers’ drive to tell authentic stories from an observational point of view. It has left a strong imprint on my thinking about poverty, opportunity, community, urban trauma, nonprofits and the power of nature." — Connie Chang
  • "I have lived in DC since the early 60s. I was blown away by City of Trees. The film speaks directly and honestly to housing, homelessness, jobs and job training. You went to the ground roots of so many of these vital structural issues and life situations. My sincere gratitude to the many people involved in this film. I will be thinking and talking about the experience for years to come. Please stay at it." — Tish Gardner
  • "The film told a story that made me reflect on my own life and all that I should be thankful for, but often take for granted. I enjoyed the panel discussion and audience participation because it carried the story to a new level.  Although I do not come to DC often, I will now see the "trees" in a new light — not just as the shade and beauty they provide — but of the story they tell. Thank you for allowing me to think outside of my rural neighborhood!" — Kathy MacAdams
  • "The film gives people a chance to understand the deep emotions that stir the minds of people less lucky than we are." — Luigi De Luca
  • "City of Trees is awesome! Brandon and Lance were really thoughtful in how they approached the project, as well as in their responses to the Q&A [at DCEFF]. Among other things, the film reminds me of issues inherent in global development practice including questions around local agency + community involvement." — Shardul Oza
  • "It is absolutely amazing the amount of time and effort Brandon and Lance put into this film over the past five years and it poured through on the screen. I have been talking to everyone I know — patients, staff, friends — about the film. I think the most incredible aspect to this entire process was how they spent so much time collecting raw footage with the hope that a story would come through, and in the end pulled together such an amazing story. The ability of the film to engage the audience, tell a very personal story and at the same time make bold statements about our society, culture and country was captured perfectly. Brandon and Lance are both so passionate about what they do and deserve all the great things that come from this film." — Kevin Bunin
  • "The premiere at DC Environmental Film Festival last night was just plain AWESOME! Seriously, such a great film. So glad this project came to fruition and can't wait to share it with my coworkers in our job training program." — Janelle Mackereth

 

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