On the heels of its Oscar nomination for Best Documentary Feature, Netflix has announced the interview special 13TH: A Conversation with Oprah Winfrey & Ava DuVernay will be available to its U.S. members on Thursday, January 26.
In this heartfelt and timely 30-minute interview, Oprah Winfrey dives into DuVernay’s filmmaking process, her passion to illuminate the issues around mass criminalization of African Americans, as well as how she aggregated dozens of expert interviews from both sides of the aisle. With the film’s launch during a pivotal political era in the U.S., they also speak to reaction from viewers around the globe, the current state of race relations in America, and DuVernay’s advice for the Trump administration.
DuVernay’s unique triumph of humanizing criminal justice reform through film, leads Ms. Winfrey to note in the interview, “One of the things 13TH does…is it allows people to answer that question for themselves, ‘Why should I care about those people who are incarcerated?’”
“The truths revealed within 13TH are stunning, and a brilliant primer for a much needed global conversation,” says Lisa Nishimura, Netflix VP of Original Documentaries. “The 13TH interview special was born from an organic post-screening discussion between two of the most influential and insightful women in media, Ava DuVernay and Oprah Winfrey, who invite us to share in their personal feelings surrounding one of the most important issues of our time.”
Chronicling the history of racial inequality in the United States, 13TH examines how the U.S has produced the highest rate of incarceration in the world, with the majority of those imprisoned being African-American. The title of DuVernay’s extraordinary and galvanizing film refers to the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution —“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 . . . ” The progression from that second qualifying clause to the horrors of mass criminalization and the sprawling American prison industry is laid out by DuVernay with bracing lucidity. With a potent mixture of archival footage and testimony from the world’s leading activists, politicians, historians, and formerly incarcerated women and men, DuVernay creates a work of grand historical synthesis.
13TH premiered at the 2016 New York Film Festival as the first-ever nonfiction work to open the festival in its esteemed 54-year history; followed by its global launch on Netflix in October 2016.