Activist Van Jones Works to Fix the Broken Aspects of the American Justice System in Documentary The First Step’s New Trailer

A new trailer for the upcoming award-winning documentary, ‘The First Step,’ which chronicles what it takes for activists to make change in a divided nation, has been released by 8 Above. The distributor unveiled the trailer in anticipation of the film’s upcoming theatrical release.

‘The First Step’ will open theatrically in New York on February 17 (DCTV Firehouse), Washington, D.C. on February 19 (JxJ Theater) and Los Angeles on February 24 (Laemmle Royal Theater). There will also be additional screenings in key cities throughout February and March 2023. Following its theatrical release, the movie will also be distributed on all major VOD platforms. The documentary’s theatrical and VOD release comes after it was an official selection at such festivals as the Tribeca Film Festival, AFI Docs, Pure Non Fiction.

The feature was made by the Kramer Brothers; it was directed by Brandon Kramer and produced by Lance Kramer. The documentary features media personality and change-maker Van Jones as he attempts to bring people together to pass a landmark criminal justice bill on prison reform. During the journey, he finds himself under fire from all sides.The movie also reveals an intimate portrait of an activist’s isolation and internal struggles, and what it takes to make change in a divided nation.

Besides Jones, ‘The First Step’ also features Jared Kushner, Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, Vice President Kamala Harris, Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Cory Booker, Senator Shelly Capito, Senator Rand Paul, Senator Mike Lee, Mayor Karen Bass, Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, Louis L. Reed, Patrisse Cullors, Charlemagne Tha God, Karen Hunter, Kim Kardashian and former President Donald Trump, amongst others.

‘The First Step’ showcases how in a divided America, Jones controversially works across party lines on landmark criminal justice reform and a more humane response to America’s addiction crisis. Attempting to be a bridge builder in a time of extreme polarization, he’s brought into the inner workings of a divisive administration, internal debates within both parties and the lives of frontline activists fighting for their communities.

Facing fierce opposition from both political parties in a climate where bipartisanship has become a dirty word, Jones and his team enlist the support of justice-impacted individuals, faith leaders, grassroots activists and cultural figures to pass legislation that would fix some broken aspects of the justice system and bring thousands of incarcerated people home early. The bill’s champions immediately find themselves navigating a high-stakes game of political chess in Washington, D.C. Their quest brings them face-to-face with progressive champions like Congressman Jeffries and U.S. Senators Harris and Sanders, as well as conservative figures like U.S. Senator Paul, Kellyanne Conway and Kushner and ultimately, Trump himself.

For more information on ‘The First Step,’ visit its official website, as well as its Instagram, Twitter and Facebook pages.

Van Jones speaks to Bishop TD Jakes by phone in a scene from ‘The First Step.’ Image courtesy of Meridian Hill Pictures and Magic Labs Media

Film Fact: ‘The First Step’ shows that while trying to pass a bipartisan bill through a deeply polarized Congress, Jones was condemned by the right for his progressive beliefs, and also by by the left for working with conservatives.

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