Last night director Ava DuVernay’s documentary 13th nabbed three Creative Arts Emmy Awards. During her acceptance speech for winning Outstanding Documentary or Non-Fiction Special, DuVernay discussed the many families who’ve been affected by racialized mass incarceration, which was a pivot of her film.
“It was a beautiful process, but it was an emotional process to steep yourself in,” she said as noted by Deadline.
“I want to thank, and think about tonight the hundreds of thousands of families who are waiting for their loved ones to come home,” she said. “Mothers, daughters, sisters, wives, who don’t know where their loved one is. Unsung heroes of a struggle that has not a lot to do with them, but has a lot to do with how they live each day.”
After DuVernay’s speech on stage, she and the team behind the film rallied backstage. There, she continued to discuss her win and why the documentary is so important. “It’s nights like these when you are able to amplify a story with this kind of attention that makes me happy,” DuVernay said according to Deadline. “This is an evergreen story. It’s ongoing. It wasn’t just something that we dropped last year. It shouldn’t be forgotten. There are still 2.3 million people behind bars. We over-incarcerate in this country — the most incarcerated nation in the world. Now, more than ever, it’s important for people who believe in a different way of policing and criminal justice to make our voices heard.”
In total, the film was nominated for eight awards and took home four: Writing for Nonfiction Programs, Outstanding Motion Design, Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special, and Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics for “The Letter to the Free.”
Rapper and actor Common, who composed and performed the film’s theme, took home an award for the latter. He proudly tweeted out the win last night.
It seems the documentary also had a profound effect on Common, who has also begun visiting men’s and women’s prisons around the country to perform.
Director Ava DuVernay has had quite the year. In the fall of 2016 13th opened the New York Film Festival, making it the first documentary to ever do so in its 54-year history.
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