“The First Step” To Be Heard Across The Aisles From Harlem To Hollywood

The First Step features media personality and change maker Van Jones attempting to bring people together from Harlem to Hollywood.

He wants to bring them together to pass a landmark criminal justice bill on prison reform.

Yet, Mr. Jones found himself under fire from all sides.

The film reveals an intimate portrait of an activist’s isolation and internal struggles, and what it takes to make a change in a divided nation. 

The First Step, is a film by the Kramer Brothers, the film is Directed by Brandon Kramer
Produced by Lance Kramer. Featuring Van Jones, Jared Kushner, including Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, Vice President Kamala Harris, Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Cory Booker, Senator Shelly Capito, Senator Rand Paul, Senator Mike Lee, Mayor Karen Bass, Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, Louis L. Reed, Patrisse Cullors, Charlemagne Tha God, Karen Hunter, Kim Kardashian, Donald Trump and many, many more.


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The official Selection was made by Tribeca Film Festival, AFI Docs, Pure Non-Fiction, and many more. DOC NYC 40 Under 40 List with Producer Lance Kramer.

An 8 Above Theatrical Release playing theatrically in New York on February 17 (DCTV Firehouse), Washington, D.C. on February 19 (JxJ Theater), 2023, and Los Angeles on February 24, 2023, (Laemmle Royal Theater) with additional screenings in key cities in February and March 2023.

The film will hit the Theaters in New York on February 17, 2023, at DCTV Firehouse (1-week run) Washington, D.C., February 19, 2023, at JxJ Theater (1-week run), and in Los Angeles, on February 24, 2023, at Laemmle Royal Theater (1-week run).

With key regional screenings programmed in partnership with national and local criminal justice reform organizations and leaders including Flagstaff (Harkins Flagstaff, February 21, 2023), Denver (Harkins Denver, February 21, 2023), Phoenix/Scottsdale (Harkins Scottsdale, February 22, 2023), Gilbert (Harkins Gilbert, February 22, 2023), Boulder (The Dairy Arts Center, February 22, 2023), Tuscon (Harkins Tuscon, February 23, 2023), Wichita (Tallgrass Film Center, February 26, 2023), Fayetteville (Malco Razorback Cinema Grill, February 28), Jackson (Malco Renaissance Cinema Grill, Feb 28, 2023), Memphis (Malco Studio on the Square, February 28, 2023), Nashville (Darkhorse Theater, March 3, 2023), Milwaukee (The Oriental Theater, March 6, 2023), Grand Rapids (Celebration Cinema Studio Park, March 8, 2023), Lansing (Celebration Cinema, March 9, 2023), Portland (Cinema 21, March 16) and more to follow.

In a divided America, Van Jones controversially works across party lines on landmark criminal justice reform and a more humane response to America’s 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.

Facing fierce opposition from both political parties in a climate where bipartisanship has become a dirty word, Jones and his team enlist the support of justice-impacted individuals, faith leaders, grassroots activists, and cultural figures — including Kim Kardashian — to pass legislation that would fix some broken aspects of the justice system and bring thousands of incarcerated people home early. The bill’s champions immediately find themselves navigating a high-stakes game of political chess in Washington, D.C. Their quest brings them face-to-face with progressive champions like Congressman Hakeem Jeffries,  U.S. Senators Kamala Harris and Bernie Sanders, as well as conservative figures like U.S. Senator Rand Paul, Kellyanne Conway, Jared Kushner — and ultimately, Donald Trump himself.

While trying to pass a bipartisan bill through a deeply polarized Congress, Jones is condemned by the right for his progressive beliefs — and by the left for working with conservatives. The film reveals an intimate portrait of an activist’s isolation and internal struggles, what it takes to make a change in a divided nation, and everyday people in both political parties drawn into a historic fight for freedom and justice.



The First Step is an independent production of Meridian Hill Pictures (CITY OF TREES, PBS, Netflix 2016) and Magic Labs Media (Beyond the Messy Truth, 2017 Webby Award Winner, in association with filmmakers at Kartemquin Films (Minding the Gap, Hulu, 2019 Oscar Nomination) and Big Mouth Productions (Dick Johnson is Dead, Netflix 2020) and the editorial talent behind King in the Wilderness (HBO, Sundance 2018) and BIRTH OF THE COOL (PBS, Sundance 2019).

The First Step – Official Theatrical Trailer

Van Jones

Van Jones is a media personality, entrepreneur, and change maker — who has dedicated his career to bringing people together in clean energy solutions, criminal justice reform, and racial inclusion in the tech sector. In 2007, Van was the primary champion of the Green Jobs Act, signed into law by George W. Bush. In 2009, he worked in the Obama White House as the Special Advisor for Green Jobs. Over the past 25 years, Van has founded and led social enterprises including REFORM Alliance, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Color of Change, Green For All, and the Dream Corps. He worked with Prince to launch #YesWeCode (now called Dream Corps TECH) to get jobs in the tech sector for low-opportunity young people. Van is also a CNN host, an Emmy Award-winning producer and a 3X New York Times best-selling author.

Brandon Kramer

8 ABOVE  is a theatrical distributor and rights management partner dedicated to connecting award-winning independent films with audiences. Working in close partnership with filmmakers, 8 ABOVE develops strategies that build community and social impact around unique theatrical experiences. Founded by distribution pioneer Jon Reiss, 8 ABOVE has developed bespoke audience-building strategies and theatrical campaigns for independent films, specialty films, and documentaries, including Hooligan Sparrow, Two Gods, The Disrupted, Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise, Sweetheart Dancers, Surviving Sex Trafficking, Nasrin, and No Small Matter.

THE FIRST STEP, Social Media/ Website

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