Ava DuVernay didn’t mince words about Donald Trump when she premiered her documentary “13th” at the 2016 New York Film Festival. “13th” explores centuries of enslavement for African-Americans evolved into the modern prison industrial complex, and DuVernay included footage of Trump’s racially inflammatory presidential campaign to help illustrate her point. Now that he has been elected as the next president of the United States, how does feel about the chances of reforming the prison system in the near future?
“He’s addressed his views about it. He’s addressed a lack of empathy for imprisoned and incarcerated people,” said DuVernay in a conversation with Oprah Winfrey after a screening for the film for activists and community organizers at the Museum of Tolerance on November 13. “Stock for the private prison industry rose by 50-percent the day after his election, so folks are betting on the fact that he will not just continue, but increase that part of the business … So everything we talked about in this film, under him and the policies he’s advocating, will continue or worsen — unless we demand something different.”
Watch more of DuVernay and Winfrey discussing “13th” at the Museum of Tolerance:
Winfrey on the power of the film: “I think what the film does is allow you to feel differently. It literally is a wake-up call. It’s the ultimate in storytelling, filmmaking and activism.”
DuVernay on how her childhood influence her film: “It was around me — I grew up in Compton … so when I would see a police officer I wouldn’t think safety, I would think fear. I would be afraid, not of whatever they were coming for, but of them.”
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