The streaming service said Tuesday that there has been a groundswell of interest from elementary school, universities, another other educational institutions asking for permission to screen the film. “13th” — which takes its title from the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution abolishing slavery — explores the link between slavery and the modern-day prison system.
“We have been overwhelmed and inspired by the response to ’13th’ from people of all ages,” said Lisa Nishimura, Netflix’s VP of original documentary programming.
“Communities across the country are feeling the full weight of this particularly divisive moment in time,” Nishimura added. “And when some are capitalizing on this fear, we are especially inspired by the next generation, who are able to acknowledge the complex system they have inherited while simultaneously vowing to change it. Like DuVernay, they understand that we must come face to face with our past before we can fix our future.”
“13th” was the opening film at the New York Film Festival and was released Oct. 6 on Netflix. DuVernay begins the film by pointing out that 25% of those incarcerated in the world are imprisoned in the U.S. and contends that maintaining such a system amounts to perpetuating slavery.
Following the Netflix debut, advocacy organizations such as the ACLU, Center for Media Justice, cut50, and Google.org hosted dozens of community screenings across the country to support their organizing efforts — from Oakland, Des Moines, and Columbus, Ohio; to Brooklyn, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.
“13th” is competing for the best feature documentary Academy Award against “Fire at Sea,” “O.J.: Made in America,” “Life, Animated,” and “I Am Not Your Negro.”
Netflix original documentaries that are also part of the educational screening program include Oscar-nominated shorts “Extremis” and “The White Helmets,” as well as “The Ivory Game,” “Winter on Fire,” “Audrie & Daisy,” and “Into the Inferno.”