Widely acclaimed for directing the 2014 Oscar-nominated film Selma, Ava DuVernay has been working closely with Netflix on a harrowing documentary titled 13TH—referring to the 13th amendment of the constitution. The 44-year-old filmmaker seeks to find out why the United States has the highest incarceration rate across the globe, more specifically, why African Americans are the majority race imprisoned. “The 13th is reported to take in the civil rights movement, the 1994 Crime Bill, which extended the death penalty and encouraged states to lengthen prison sentences, and the surge of the Black Lives Matter movement,” writes The Guardian.
The trailer immediately starts off by explaining the 13th amendment: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States.” It then offers various archival footage and testimonies from a handful of activists, historians and politicians such as professor/civil rights writer Michelle Alexander, lawyer/social justice activist Bryan Stevenson and political activist/author Van Jones to name a few.
13TH will launch on Netflix and select theaters this October 7.