Ava DuVernay’s next film, The 13th, a documentary revolving around mass incarceration, will make its debut by opening the 54th New York Film Festival.

The 13th traces the history of racial imbalances in the criminal justice system, and features appearances from author Michelle Alexander, activist Angela Davis, and Senator Cory Booker, among others. The title itself comes from the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution, which outlaws slavery, “except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.”

“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.” Ava DuVernay

The United States’ high incarceration rate has become a cause for concern on both sides of the political aisle. Though the country accounts for about 4.4 percent of the world’s population, it houses nearly 22 percent of the world’s prisoners. A disproportionate amount of those prisoners are black men.

This film marks DuVernay’s first feature length film since the critically acclaimed Selma, and also marks the first documentary to open the New York Film Festival that will run from September 30th– October 16th.

After its film festival premiere, The 13th will appear in theaters and on Netflix on Oct. 7th.

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