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Ava DuVernay’s ‘The 13th’ Opens the NYFF

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*Ava DuVernay, well known for her critically acclaimed film “Selma,” is also a master moviemaker when it comes to documentaries. “Compton in C Minor” back in 2007 is among DuVernay’s first documentaries.

The 13th” is DuVernay’s latest documentary and will open the Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York 54th Film Festival (September 30—October 16). The selection of DuVernay’s “The 13th” will be the first time a documentary makes it premiere at the New York Film Festival (NYFF).

Chronicling the history of racial inequality in the United States, “The 13th” examines how America has produced the highest rate of incarceration in the world, with the majority of those imprisoned being black. The title of DuVernay’s extraordinary and galvanizing film refers to the 13th Amendment to the 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 incarceration and the prison industry in the U.S. is a riveting study.

READ RELATED STORY: OWN REVEALS EXTENDED TRAILER FOR AVA DUVERNAY SERIES ‘QUEEN SUGAR’ (WATCH)

New York Film Festival Director and Selection Committee Chair Kent Jones said, “While I was watching ‘The 13th,’ the distinction between documentary and fiction gave way and I felt like I was experiencing something so rare: direct contact between the artist and right now, this very moment. “In fact,” he went on to say, ‘The 13th’ is a great film. It’s also an act of true patriotism.”

From D. W. Griffith’s “The Birth of a Nation” (1915) and the rebirth of the KKK to the Civil Rights Movement, the 1994 Crime Bill, the rise of ALEC, and the Black Lives Matter movement, DuVernay traces a pattern of fear and division that has consistently driven mass criminalization. For more information, go to filmlinc.org/NYFF.

Syndicated Entertainment journalist Marie Moore reports on film and TV from her New York City base. Contact her at [email protected]

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