Magic Labs Media is proud to join with Meridian Hill Pictures as associate producer of City of Trees. This documentary tells a deeply personal story about the struggle to make social, economic and environmental change in the thick of the worst recession in a generation.
When unemployment exceeds 25 percent in D.C.'s Ward 8 in 2010, the nonprofit Washington Parks & People receives a $2.7 million stimulus grant from the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act to create the Green Corps. Steve Coleman, a white, grassroots environmental activist who directs the organization, is tasked with using the grant to hire 150 mostly black, unemployed residents from Southeast D.C. to plant several thousand trees in the city's most blighted urban parks. For Charles, the paycheck offers him a chance to give his newborn daughter the life he never had. For Michael, the job training is a first step forward after a drug conviction marred his employment record. For James, the program offers a chance to prove that his neighborhood roots position him as an unsung leader. Over the course of the two-year grant, the program's initial goal of putting unemployed people back to work by planting trees gets more and more complicated as the end of the program nears. City of Trees thrusts viewers into the inspiring but messy world of job training and the paradoxes changemakers face in urban communities everyday.
Produced and directed by DC-based filmmakers Brandon and Lance Kramer of Meridian Hill Pictures.