Ava DuVernay’s ‘The 13th’ to Open New York Film Festival

Documentary marks first non-fiction work to ever open festival

Ava DuVernay‘s new documentary “The 13th” has been selected as the opening film of the 54th annual New York Film Festival, TheWrap has learned.

Chronicling the history of racial inequality in the United States, the film examines how our country has produced the highest rate of incarceration in the world, with the majority of those imprisoned being African-American.

The title refers to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which states that a person cannot be held in slavery “except as a punishment for crime.” The film will examine the dangers of mass incarceration and the prison industry in the U.S.

“It is a true honor for me and my collaborators to premiere ‘The 13th’ as the opening night selection of the New York Film Festival,” DuVernay said in a statement. “This film was made as an answer to my own questions about how and why we have become the most incarcerated nation in the world, how and why we regard some of our citizens as innately criminal, and how and why good people allow this injustice to happen generation after generation.”

The film features interviews with notable names like Michelle Alexander, Bryan Stevenson, Van Jones, Newt Gingrich, Angela Davis, Senator Cory Booker, Grover Norquist, Khalil Muhammad, Craig DeRoche, Shaka Senghor, Malkia Cyril and Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

“The 13th” is the first-ever nonfiction work to open the festival. It will debut on Netflix and open in a limited theatrical run on Oct. 7.