Ava DuVernay and Oprah Winfrey talk about the injustice of the prison system in ‘13th’ interview special

Ava DuVernay and Oprah Winfrey speak at a special screening of “13th” on Nov. 13, 2016, in Los Angeles.
(Eric Charbonneau / Netflix)

Oprah Winfrey and Ava DuVernay are joining forces again, this time for an interview about DuVernay’s Oscar-nominated documentary “13th,” a look at mass incarceration in the United States.

Netflix, which distributed the film, announced Wednesday that the 30-minute interview titled “13th: A Conversation with Oprah Winfrey & Ava DuVernay” would be available for U.S. subscribers on Thursday and globally on Tuesday.

“The truths revealed within ‘13th’ are stunning, and a brilliant primer for a much needed global conversation,” Lisa Nishimura, Netflix’s vice president of original documentaries, said in a statement Wednesday. “The ‘13th’ interview special was born from an organic post-screening discussion between two of the most influential and insightful women in media, Ava DuVernay and Oprah Winfrey, who invite us to share in their personal feelings surrounding one of the most important issues of our time.”


The documentary delves into the United States’ high rate of incarceration, and the fact that a majority of those imprisoned are African American. DuVernay’s film examines the prison industrial complex through the lens of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which reads in part, “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.”

DuVernay and Winfrey previously worked together on DuVernay’s film “Selma,” as well as “Queen Sugar,” a series on Winfrey’s OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network.

The two women had a similar conversation about the film in November, after a screening of “13th” for activists, community organizers and the entertainment industry at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles.

The pair were joined by political commentator Van Jones during a discussion of the film on Jan. 15, at a private event at the home of Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos.


At one point during the discussion, after conversation had turned to President Trump, Winfrey joked to the audience, “We should be televising this.”

“13th” is one of five films nominated for the Academy Award for feature documentary. It is available to stream on Netflix. 

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