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Discussion Panel at Laemmle Royal in LA (left to right): Van Jones, Tylo James, Virgie Walker of People Coordinated Services of Los Angeles, Pete White of LA Can, Brandon and Lance Kramer.


The theatrical results were amazing with 5 of 7 screenings in NYC sold out at the incredible new DCTV Theater, 3 of 5 sold out in DC, a great sold out screening with Van Jones at the Laemmle Royal and many of the other 23 nationwide screenings selling out as well. The success of the theatrical also led to a digital distribution deal with DeskPop Entertainment as reported in Screen Daily. But the best part of the release was how the filmmakers were able to create community around the themes of the film - criminal justice reform, addressing our nations addiction crisis and trying to build bridges in our ever divided country.  

Lance Kramer, producer of The First Step"The theatrical release strategy we developed with Jon Reiss and 8 Above was transformative. The approach created a rare opportunity for audiences in more than 30 cities across the country from a diversity of backgrounds to connect with the film and more than 50 partner organizations in a deeply meaningful way, in beautiful, accessible venues, in their own communities. Our partners have consistently shared how the events facilitated new connections, conversations and next steps toward action. I've walked away from this experience with a stronger belief than ever in the power of independent storytelling, in-person theatrical experiences, and the essential role of community-based organizations in leading change."

Brandon, me and Lance, at DC TV’s Firehouse Cinema in NYC for the premiere of The First Step.

Check out what some of the partners had to say about the screenings:

Terrance Coffie, advocate, activist, and educator who has committed himself to creating social and political change within the criminal justice system.

John Fabricius, digital organizer at Dream Corps, said “Screening the film was incredible - it brought together members of the community, organizations, lawmakers, policy makers, to have an experience and a conversation about the need to change our criminal legal system".