What sounds like a simple goal — putting people back to work by planting trees — becomes complicated by community tensions and a fast-approaching deadline before the grant money runs out. Filmed in an unflinching and compelling verité approach over the course of more than two years, City of Trees thrusts viewers into the inspiring but messy world of job training and the paradoxes changemakers face in urban communities everyday
Since 1990, nonprofit Washington Parks & People had been trying to reduce poverty and violence in Washington, D.C. neighborhoods by improving parks. At the height of the recession, the organization received a stimulus grant to create a “green”job-training program in communities hardest hit. They had two years to help unemployed people find jobs and care for parks in their neighborhoods. Meet those who managed and worked for the project and decide for yourself about the value of the outcomes.
Directed by Brandon Kramer and produced by Lance Kramer, the film had its public broadcast premiere on the PBS/World Channel program, America ReFramed, in 2015.