Every once in a while, a documentary comes out and changes the world. For 2016, 13th is destined to do just that. A film from notable director, screenwriter, and film producer Ava DuVernay, 13th will open the New York Film Festival on September 30, the first time the highly regarded screening spot has been given to a nonfiction feature.
The film shines a light on the 13th Amendment (hence its name), which formally abolished slavery in 1865, and how its addition to our Constitution has led African-Americans in this country "from slave to criminal with one amendment," as the promotional poster writes. In the words of one man from the trailer, "The loophole was immediately exploited." The powerful and chilling trailer for the doc has just been released, and it shares some shocking statistics, including: “We now have more African-Americans under criminal supervision than all the slaves back in the 1850s." DuVernay uses archival footage and interviews past and present activists, politicians, inmates, and historians to educate the viewer on the current state of the justice system, and how the 13th Amendment has been manipulated into a tool of mass incarceration. The film also touches on the monetary and political pressures on the prison system to maintain a certain number of inmates. The internet is already realizing the importance and impact this film will have when it's released via Netflix on October 7.
Watch the trailer below.