Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Local Brothers Changing the World One Documentary Film at a Time

I can honestly say I'm excited to have these two young documentary filmmakers on board leading a documentary film workshop for teens--two, actually. One in Rockville and one in McLean.

SAD UPDATE: Unfortunately we had to cancel each of these two workshops.

Ever since their days long ago as tykes at Bethesda Elementary, Lance and Brandon Kramer always they knew they wanted to make films. Now grown up, the brothers Kramer have become wunderkinds on the local film scene, producing new documentaries and teaching filmmaking through an innovative production company they started in 2010 called Meridian Hill Pictures.

After graduating from Boston University, Brandon worked as a media teaching artist for the Kennedy Center and the Brooklyn-based Story Pirates. After graduation from Dartmouth College, Lance worked as a journalist and published an award-winning children’s book. In mid-2010, the brothers joined forces in DC to create Meridian Hill Pictures, “a company dedicated to producing, teaching, and sharing documentary films that inspire, educate and build stronger communities.” The brothers envision the company as a way to leverage the power of documentary film to create social change.

The brother duo—fourth generation entrepreneurs—now bring their passion for filmmaking to students of all ages, teaching critical thinking, problem solving and communications skills in schools, non-profits, and community groups across the area.

“What we do at Meridian Hill,” creative director Lance says, “is empower people to express their voice, needs, and hopes through community video storytelling.”

This spring, Meridian Hill Pictures completed a range of new projects, including a Kennedy Center residency with the Arts & Technology Academy in Northeast DC; a documentary produced by students aged 8-15 at the Sitar Arts Center about an art teacher who was dying of cancer; and a comprehensive project with a group of adults participating in a green job training program, helping them to create four new documentaries about how urban forestry and green spaces are meeting critical needs in their communities. The films have all been screened at the American Film Institute’s Silver Theatre in May and June.

One of the brothers’ feature-length documentaries currently in development was also just selected last week as a finalist in the prestigious Roy W. Dean grant competition.

The brothers will lead two ten-session workshops at The Writer’s Center this summer. At the Mclean Community Center in Mclean, VA (with author David Taylor, Soul of a People) and at The Writer’s Center’s new Rockville location on the campus of John’s Hopkins University/Rockville, the Kramer Brothers will walk Montgomery and Fairfax County students through the creative process of making a documentary: from research to visual treatment, production, editing, and distribution. Students will learn how to write for a visual medium, structure a story, interview subjects, use digital video equipment, and work with a crew. They will also complete a short documentary that, the brothers hope, will allow them to explore stories important to their community—which they can later share with that community as a film.

To learn more about the brothers and Meridian Hill Pictures, as well as to view some of their short films, visit their Web site (www.meridianhillpictures.com)


Kelley said...

Will you reschedule these?

Kyle said...

Kelley, I'm not sure. I haven't seen the winter workshops yet.