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City of Trees     cover image

City of Trees 2015


Distributed by Cinema Guild, 115 West 30th Street, Suite 800, New York, NY 10001; 212-685-6242
Produced by Lance Kramer
Directed by Brandon Kramer
DVD, color, 76 min.

High School - General Adult

Date Entered: 01/17/2017

Reviewed by LaRoi Lawton, Library & Learning Resources Department, Bronx Community College of the City University of New York

This is film about a nonprofit organization called Washington Parks & People that tried 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 (minorities) find jobs and care for parks in their neighborhoods. This incentive offered unemployed residents the chance to not only plant several thousand trees but also provide training in the soft skills required to get a job. For Charles Holcomb, one of the people hired, the paycheck offered a chance to give his newborn daughter the life he never had. For Michael Samuels, the job training was a first step forward after a drug conviction marred his employment record. For James Magruder, the program offered a chance to prove that his neighborhood roots position him as an unsung leader.

The film also illuminates “the local racial tensions, between poverty-stricken areas, a community’s entrenched distrust of outsiders” and the politics that target these areas with one-shot grant initiatives that give temporary relief and not permanent positive enterprises that change these neighborhoods for the betterment of the entire community.


  • Audience Choice Award Winner at the 2015 American Conservation Film Festival