Director: Ava DuVernay

Ava DuVernay first made waves as a feature filmmaker, wowing critics and audiences with her Sundance-winning indie Middle of Nowhere and later with the Oscar-cheated Selma, about Martin Luther King’s famous march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. With 13th, the director/writer takes a stab at documentary filmmaking, an endeavor all the more epic when you consider the scope of the film she has made. 13th takes a hard look at race and our prison industrial complex and argues that the way things are now, the way mass incarceration works, is essentially an extension of slavery—which was abolished by the 13th amendment (hence the title). Her film is devastating, insightful, and accessible for the millions of Americans who let injustice after injustice pass through without much attention. Featuring several interviews with prominent experts and politicians, DuVernay’s documentary is essential viewing.