Netflix allows public screenings of ’13th,’ the Oscar-nominated documentary by Ava Duvernay

Ava DuVernay reaped her first Oscar bid for Best Documentary Feature for “13th,” a powerful film that chronicles the consequences of the 13th amendment to the US Constitution which ostensibly outlawed slavery. The amendment included an insidious caveat: “except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.” That clause sowed the seeds for the war on crime and the war on drugs a century later, policies that disproportionately target people of color.

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The streaming service Netflix, which financed the film, is giving groups permission to screen “13th.” Lisa Nishimura, VP of Original Documentary Programming, detailed the rationale behind the decision: “We have been overwhelmed and inspired by the response to ’13th’ from people of all ages. Communities across the country are feeling the full weight of this particularly divisive moment in time.”

To that end, Netflix will allow public screenings with the following provisos:

the documentary may only be accessed via the Netflix service by a Netflix account holder;

the screening must be non-profit and non-commercial; and

there must not be use of Netflix’s logos in any promotion for the screening.

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“13th” was the first documentary in the 54-year history of the New York Film Festival to be selected as  the opening-night film  It ranks as one of the best-reviewed films of the year, scoring 91 on MetaCritic and 97% freshness on Rotten Tomatoes. Do you think it will win Best Documentary Feature at the Oscars?

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