Porchfest

Short film. One neighborhood in NW DC comes together to create a unique street fair and transform the street's row house porches into community showcases of food, art, music and culture.

The Story

Tony Harvin is in his 50s. Tony was born on the 1700 block of Hobart Street NW, a long, winding, tree-lined street located in Washington DC’s historic and diverse Mount Pleasant neighborhood. In the fall of 2010, Tony bought the house from his mother and in doing so was able to keep the house within the family.

Lance Kramer is in his 20s. Lance was born in the District and raised outside the city, in the suburban community of Bethesda, MD. Though raised in Maryland, Lance’s family’s history in the District stretches back to his great-grandfather, who started a family-run butcher shop called Kramer & Sons in the historic Northeast DC ‘Union Market.’ In the summer of 2010, Lance moved into a row house on the 1600 block of Hobart Street, to establish a new life for himself in the city and also reconnect with his family’s ties to the city.

Tony & Lance meet each other for the first time, during Hobart Street’s annual Halloween party in the fall of 2010. Tony, a musician, and Lance, a filmmaker; together discuss their mutual admiration for the street’s lineup of porches. Tony reflects upon a love for hearing neighbors playing music within their homes and enjoying what felt like a private concert as the sound wafted throughout the street. And the thought dawns on him: “Why not bring the live music from inside the house out onto the front porch?” Lance shares stories of projecting movies to friends on his own porch. Both recognize that in a strange way, the porch possesses a unique quality to serve as a kind of homegrown stage. And what emerge from the conversation are not only a new friendship, but also a concept for bringing neighbors on the block together.

With all the necessary block party permits, signatures and flyers, word gets out and the street closes one sunny June afternoon in 2011. Beginning with a bizarre and homespun parade, throughout the day hundreds of neighbors from the street and beyond congregate on dozens of porches up and down the street. Collectively, the Porchfest becomes a rich, vibrant showcase of a diverse community’s food, art, music, culture and history.

Press & Awards

Bethesda native bringing story of D.C. neighborhood to film fest
By Aaron Kraut, BethesdaNow.Com
February 2013

42nd Annual Marin County International Festival of Short Film & Video 
Honorable Mention: Documentary
June 2012

Our City Film Festival
Best Short Documentary
February 2012

The Crew

Directed by Brandon & Lance Kramer
Cinematography by Brandon Kramer & Ellie Walton
Edited by Ellie Walton
Sound Design by David von Dokkum
Music by Josh Shaffner
a Meridian Hill Pictures film

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