Community Harvest in Washington Jewish Week

DC brothers make films to benefit the community.

by Aaron Leibel

Arts Editor


Arts for the sake of the community. That could be the motto of the company, Meridian Hill Pictures, that District brothers Lance and Brandon Kramer have founded. It’s also the spirit in which the company’s film, Community Harvest, which will be screened Sunday in the Our City Film Festival in the District, was made. And it only takes a few minutes of discussion with either to discover why they are so involved in using the arts to benefit others.

“The community fostered creative expression,” says Brandon Kramer, 23, about growing up in Bethesda. “Being Jewish helped push us in the direction of taking art, engaging the community and helping people around us.” They worked on film projects as kids, says his brother, 26, but also learned the value of aiding their community from their parents, who stressed the merits of volunteering, and from the family synagogue, Congregation Beth El of Montgomery County, where the two became bar mitzvah and are still members.

Community Harvest — judged by the festival to be its best short documentary — focuses on a community garden in Northwest Washington, not far from the firm’s offices.

“It was a beautiful place, and the work was inspiring,” says Lance Kramer. “We kept going back, getting to know the people better. Finally, we decided to do a film.” North Columbia Heights Green is home to plots for growing food, a fruit tree orchard, and butterfly, herb and rain gardens. It demonstrates that “energy, vision and elbow grease can transform space and a community,” he says. His brother concurs, saying that he hopes the film will inspire viewers to think about unused land in their own neighborhoods, and how those plots might be transformed to have a positive effect in the community.

After graduation, Lance Kramer, who received his bachelor’s from Dartmouth in 2006, worked as a journalist and on an environmental documentary. His brother, who received his degree from Boston University in 2009, worked as a media teaching artist, traveling to middle schools around the country and facilitating students in producing a documentary about an artist in their community.  Their projects ended about the same time last year; back in the D.C. area, they began to explore ways to work together. After taking part in film projects last summer, they decided to try “a substantive way of collaborating,” Lance Kramer says. Meridian Hill Pictures was born in August.

The company is “a full-service production and media education company,” according to its website (, which works with nonprofits, government agencies and “socially motivated businesses” to make documentaries and create educational projects that “inspire, educate and transform communities.”

Although their roles in the company are not rigid, says Lance Kramer, his brother has taken the lead” on the education side of the business while he is more involved in the business end and “on the producer side of things.” “But we talk about everything,” he says.

The Our City Film Festival is presented and run by Yachad (“together” in Hebrew), a nonprofit that helps repair the homes and neighborhoods of low-income D.C. residents. Proceeds from the festival finance Yachad’s programming. The Washington Redskins: Winning Years, directed by Silver Spring’s Walter Gottlieb, also will be shown in the festival.

Community Harvest will be shown in the Our City Film Festival Sunday at The Goethe Institute in the District. The film will be screened as part of the Our Docs Screening Block, 1:15-2:45 p.m. Other blocks are Docs in Progress, Our Feature, Our Narratives and Our Finale. Tickets are $10 for each block. There also is an opening night party at 8 at R.F.D.’s in the District. Tickets are $12. For further information and to buy tickets, go to 

Aaron Leibel
Arts Editor
Washington Jewish Week
Visit us on the web:

More about City of Trees

City of Trees   Press   

Anacostia Paddle at Smithsonian

Meridian Hill Pictures is pleased to announce that the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum curators have selected MHP's short documentary ANACOSTIA PADDLE to be featured in the new exhibition "Reclaiming the Edge: Urban Waterways and Civic Engagement."
Continue reading >
City of Trees   Press   

CITY OF TREES premieres, wins audience award

Meridian Hill Pictures' debut feature film CITY OF TREES had its world premiere Sunday, October 25 at the at the American Conservation Film Festival in Shepherdstown, WV, where the film also won the coveted Audience Choice Award.   
Continue reading >
City of Trees   

City of Trees raises over $58k on Kickstarter

On the night before New Year’s Eve, dozens of City of Trees Kickstarter backers gathered around our studio’s computer screens as the final minutes of our campaign came to a close.
Continue reading >
City of Trees   Press   

Community Harvest best short doc in ‘Our City’

Community Harvest, a short documentary produced by Meridian Hill Pictures, was selected as the ‘best short documentary’ in the Our City Film Festival. The festival screens documentaries and narratives that are Washington, DC-focused.  
Continue reading >
Liquid error: undefined method `gsub' for nil:NilClass

Contact Us

Join Meridian Hill Pictures