PN 26: Ava DuVernay on 13th

Selma director Ava DuVernay has a new documentary on Netflix called 13th. The title comes from the Constitution’s 13th amendment that abolished slavery with the loophole clause “except as a punishment for a crime.” The film explores American history to follow the path from the 13th amendment to our current criminal justice system and its impact on African Americans. DuVernay interviews a wide range of charismatic speakers including authors Michelle Alexander (The New Jim Crow), Bryan Stevenson (Just Mercy) and Van Jones (Rebuild the Dream).

In this conversation with Pure Nonfiction host Thom Powers, DuVernay discusses how she took inspiration from other documentaries including Sam Pollard’s Slavery By Another Name and Dawn Porter’s Gideon’s Army (discussed on PN episode 2). Powers asks DuVernay about her education in politics and filmmaking, starting with her first documentary This is the Life. She talks about people who were instrumental to making 13th including her longtime editor Spencer Averick and Netflix executive Lisa Nishimura.

On Twitter: @AVAETC @13thfilm @thompowers @purenonfiction

Ava DuVernay website

Pure Nonfiction is distributed by the TIFF podcast network.

Mark your calendar for the DOC NYC festival, America’s largest documentary festival, on Nov 10-17.

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