New York Film Fest 2016: The 13th, Urgent Docu, Opens Event to Standing Ovation

The 13th opened the 54th New York Film Fest with a jolt of topical urgency, addressing the issue of mass incarceration and its historical roots.

The crowd at the premiere screening rose to its feet when the credits rolled, greeting the filmmakers, activists and academics involved in the film, and again when DuVernay appeared for a brief talkback after the movie.

The 13th

The film confronts issues at the forefront of the current political conversation: race, inequality, the fallout of slavery, police brutality and Black Lives Matter.

“This moment, this Black Lives Matter moment, it’s not a moment. It’s a movement,” said DuVernay on the red carpet before the film’s world premiere. “People thought, ‘Oh, will it last?’ Well, it has lasted. It’s changed things. It’s forced candidates to talk about things that they did not talk about in previous elections. It’s opened people’s minds. It’s changed art-making. It’s changed music. People are seeing things through a different filter now.”

Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump make appearances. “It’s fitting that this film is opening up the film festival, and I wish it would close it as well,” said CNN anchor Lemon. “Because these are the issues that are going to help decide this election. The next leader of the free world, this will be at the top of their list.”

After the premiere, Common, who wrote an original song for “13th” (and won an Oscar for the song he co-wrote for “Selma”), performed a set onstage at the after party at Tavern on the Green.