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Movie Recommendation/Actor Spotlight

The Challenges of Bridging the Divide

"The film reminds us that we must take small steps to achieve great things." -The Hill In an earlier newsletter, I highlighted this film but we’re going to spotlight it more in depth this week because I just had a great discussion with one of the filmmakers, Lance Kramer. His documentary film, "The First Step," featuring the renowned activist and commentator Van Jones, explores the intricacies of bridging the political divide and the courage it takes to seek bipartisan solutions in our current climate. Through his personal journey and advocacy for criminal justice reform, Jones showcases the complexities and importance of pursuing unity in an increasingly polarized society. "The First Step" captures the essence of a nation deeply divided along political lines, where ideological differences often overshadow the common goal of progress. Van Jones, a prominent figure from the left, has made it his mission to build bridges and facilitate conversations with individuals from across the aisle. His tireless efforts provide an inspiring example of how empathy, compassion, and courage can lead to change, even in the face of formidable opposition. Through his experiences, we witness the transformative power of dialogue, empathy, and understanding. Jones demonstrates that the first step toward resolving political polarization is acknowledging the humanity of those we disagree with and seeking to find common ground based on shared values and aspirations. At the heart of the conflict is an almost complete lack of trust between the political factions. Both conservatives and liberals see Van Jones’ efforts with great suspicion and through most of the movie, resist this attempt to create a criminal justice reform bill that everyone can vote for. For liberals, they see the bill as way too little with an administration that they see as an enemy. For conservatives, they see the bill as making them look soft on crime and also view the other side as an enemy. But Van sees common ground in that a lot of conservative communities have dealt with the tragedy of a criminal justice system that sees the opioid crisis as solely a law enforcement problem. And for more liberal communities, they have seen this tragedy in the so-called War on Drugs with its massive over incaceration of people of color. Van finds members of both communities and brings them together to find empathy for each other’s pain and through this understanding, find common cause to find a real solution. Watching this real life example of bridge building is both frustrating and hopeful at the same time. While it seems everything in our political system is geared for polarization, we also see ordinary Americans come together to make a real difference. I highly recommend this movie and whether you agree or not with Van and the filmmakers, it will give you a lot to think about and will hopefully inspire you to find your own ways to build bridges to solve the many problems our country faces. Here's a link to the film on Amazon Prime:

Spotlight on Our Actors

We are so thankful to have two extremely talented actors playing our lead roles in THE QUESTION. Here are their bios so you can learn a bit more about our Lisa and Matthew. Rae Lane (Lisa) is a mother and actor based out of California who regularly works in film, TV, and theater. Rae Lane is also a reporter and a regular host at a Bay Area TV station as well as performs as an energetic VJ. She also trains, coaches and works with aspiring actors and non-actors, children and adults. Her young students lovingly call her "Ms. Rae Lane”. For a list of her recent work visit: Prior to joining the military at age 21, Kelby Chase (Matthew) had been classically trained and cast in Grease, Joseph and the ATCDC, Oklahoma, and worked in commercial print. After serving 15 years as a Pararescueman in The Air Force, Kelby has returned to his passion for acting and is focused on film. He is a student of the Meisner technique who, in his first year back (2022-23), has been cast as lead in multiple commercials and music videos, won season 4 of “The Blox” reality show with over 500k viewers, and is slated for 2 more upcoming lead roles. He is excited to accept the offer to be Mathew in the short film THE QUESTION where he hopes to inspire people to come together and love beyond their differences once again. We are so excited to start rehearsing with these fantastic actors and get ready for the film shoot!

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