Forward Movement LLC and Kandoo Films

From the forced enslavement of African-Americans to the Black Lives Matter movement, 13th tells the powerful story of the American criminal justice system and the role of crime in systems of social control aimed at African-Americans. While the protections extended in the 13th Amendment (hence the title) protects American citizens from forced confinement, the one exception is criminal conviction. 13th tells the story of the criminalization of African-Americans from racial slavery to convict leasing systems, from Jim Crow terror to mass incarceration as a means of exercising social control of black populations. Creatively combining data about the explosion of black incarceration rates and interviews with politicians, policymakers, activists, and scholars, with archival and media footage of black dehumanization, 13th tells, perhaps for the first time on film, the rich social, cultural, and political history of criminalizing black citizens and its lasting impact on everything from the mid-20th century Great Black Migration to late 20th century black resistance movements for social justice. 13th is a clear, passionate, and urgent call to all citizens to wake up to the practices of racial and class injustice, social control, and human degradation being waged against black and brown youth, families, and communities in the name of profit, safety, and security. For its exhaustive, critical, and courageous examination of crime, race, the criminal justice system, and struggles for social justice, 13th is a Peabody Award winner.


Executive Producers: Angus Wall, Jason Sterman. Producers: Ava DuVernay, Spencer Averick, Howard Barish. Writers: Ava DuVernay, Spencer Averick. Talent: Ava DuVernay. Directors: Ava DuVernay. Directors of Photography: Hans Charles, Kira Kelley Editor: Spencer Averick. Original Song “Letter to the Free”: Common featuring Bilal.