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Is This a Step in the Right Direction?

MOVIE REVIEW
The First Step

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Genre: Documentary
Year Released: 2023
Runtime: 1h 29m
Director(s): Brandon Kramer
Featuring: Van Jones, Jared Kushner, 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, Patrisse Cullors, Charlemagne Tha God, Karen Hunter, Kim Kardashian, Donald Trump, and many more
Where To Watch: opens theatrically in New York on February 17 (DCTV Firehouse), Washington, D.C. on February 19 (JxJ Theater), and in Los Angeles on February 24 (Laemmle Royal Theater) with additional screenings in February and March 2023. A VOD Release on major platforms will also follow


RAVING REVIEW: This documentary takes us on a journey with none other than Van Jones, a media personality and activist, as he takes on the daunting task of passing a groundbreaking criminal justice bill focused on prison reform. Despite facing opposition from political parties and a polarized America, Van Jones works tirelessly to address the nation's addiction crisis and reform its criminal justice system. THE FIRST STEP is an essential viewing experience for anyone interested in the challenges and triumphs of activism.


The film offers a glimpse into the world of activism, giving us a behind-the-scenes look at the political landscape of Washington, D.C., and the daily struggles and victories of those on the front lines. With the support of justice-impacted individuals, faith leaders, cultural figures, and grassroots activists, Van Jones navigates the complex political waters and journeys to the heart of power.

The director's goal was to create a film that was both honest and nuanced, shining a light on the complexities of bridging political, racial, and geographic divides in a deeply divided time. By building trust with Van Jones and the community leaders featured in the film, the director offers an intimate look at the legislative process and on-the-ground movements.

Van Jones views the film as a story of the impossible, a testament to his unwavering commitment to change and perseverance in facing opposition. The film documents his journey, innovative steps to promote the bill's viability, and his ultimate triumph in passing the First Step Act.

THE FIRST STEP is a captivating and enlightening look at the ambitious quest to pass prison reform during a contentious time. The film focuses on Van Jones' commitment to communication and bipartisanship. It is a powerful reminder of what individuals can achieve when working towards a common goal.

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[photo courtesy of 8 ABOVE]