Our Films

City of Trees

City of Trees Image

Coming soon

Director: Brandon Kramer
Producer: Lance Kramer
Editor: Edwin Martinez
Original Music: Brian Satz
Associate Producer: Lindsay Davis
Cinematographers: Brandon Kramer, Ellie Walton
Assistant Editors: Jen Quintana, Sara Fusco
Consulting Producers: Gordon Quinn, Justine Nagan, Katy Chevigny

501(c)(3) Non-profit Fiscal Sponsor: Kartemquin Films 



A deeply personal story about the struggle to make social, economic and environmental change in the thick of the worst recession in a generation, City of Trees documents a period in the lives of Charles, Michael, James and Steve when their lives intersect with stimulus resources designed to make change in DC.

City of Trees follows the lifecycle and aftermath of a $2.7 million stimulus grant awarded to DC-based nonprofit Washington Parks & People. With the grant, Parks & People launches the 'Green Corps' as an introduction in urban forestry to DC residents in communities hardest hit by the recession. For Charles, the paycheck offers him a chance to give his newborn daughter the life he never had and escape the cycle of violence that already impacted his younger brother. For Michael, the job training is a first step forward after a drug conviction permanently marred his employment record. For James, a Ward 8 native in his late 50s, the position offers a chance to prove that his experience and wisdom is an asset. For Steve, the president of Washington Parks & People, the grant offers the opportunity to elevate the impact of his organization's work — and the challenge of finding the resources to continue the program after the short-term stimulus dollars run out.

A film about normal people fighting to provide for themselves, their families and environment, City of Trees offers a critical new perspective on the challenges of retraining our workforce and rebuilding the natural environments in our cities for the 21st century. What sounds like a simple goal — putting people back to work by planting trees in a blighted neighborhood — opens up a complex web of personal and community challenges. In the age of recession and rebuilding, City of Trees documents a story representative of the hopes and struggles of countless Americans impacted by the recession.


American University Center for Social Media
2013 Media That Matters Conference
February 14, 2013
Washington, DC

Corps Network Annual Conference
February 11, 2013
Washington, DC

2012 AFI SILVERDOCS Hackathon Panel
June 21, 2012
Silver Spring, MD



Help us complete City of Trees. Make a charitible contribution to the project today.


Supported in part by the Bancroft Foundation, All Souls Beckner Fund, US Forest Service, District Department of Transportation, and 503 individual backers on Kickstarter.


Advance review of City of Trees
By Van Jones, December 17, 2014

Silverhacks Roundup
Living Docs Blog, July 16, 2012

Ellie Walton, documentary filmmaker and D.C. native, turns a wide lens on her city
By Carla Brolyes, The Washington Post, April 26, 2012

Design & Development by Velocity | Illustrations by Steven Weinberg Studios