Several hundred Hollywood insiders gathered to listen to Oprah Winfrey, Ava DuVernay and CNN commentator Van Jones discuss DuVernay’s compelling Netflix documentary, 13th.  Major influencers gathered in Netflix’s Chief Content Officer, Ted Sarandos’ Hancock Park home to have an in-depth discussion surrounding the mass-incarceration doc, but inevitably, the conversation turned to President-Elect Donald Trump.

Jones made a plea to reaching out to White voters in the middle west; who aren’t routinely targeted by liberals. However, DuVernay wasn’t letting them off easily musing, “I’m challenged by the idea that we are not holding people accountable for their votes.” Winfrey mostly served as moderator during the political conversation, which eventually delved toward reform for a broken justice system.

Guests in attendance included Chelsea Handler, Samira Wiley, Laura Dern, Mira Sorvino, Quincy Jones, Mark Duplass, Rob Reiner, Brett Ratner, Courtney B. Vance, Rosanna Arquette, Tina Lifford, Nia Vardalos, Lou Diamond Phillips, Clarence Avant, Lorraine Toussaint, Maria Bello, Francis Fisher, Marcia Gay Harden, Camryn Manheim, Kimberly Peirce, Compton Mayor Aja Brown, and leadership from #cut50, Homeboy Industries and Color Of Change.

DuVernay’s 13th is on the shortlist for Oscar’s feature documentaries, and was recently nominated for a BAFTA Award.  The title of this documentary refers to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which reads “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States.”  The progression from that second qualifying clause to the horrors of mass criminalization and the sprawling American prison industry is laid out by DuVernay, and includes a potent mixture of archival footage and testimony from an array of activists, politicians, historians, and formerly incarcerated women and men.

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Tonja Renée Stidhum is a screenwriter/director with cheeks you want to pinch… but don’t (unless she wants you to). She is made of sugar and spice and everything rice… with the uncanny ability to make a Disney/Pixar reference in the same sentence as a double entendre.

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