Students view “13th” during film series

The English department, along with the FMU chapter of the NAACP and the new African and African American Studies program, showed the Netflix original documentary “13th” as part of the English Film Series.

President of NAACP Alayah Hamlin and organizer of the English Film Series Dr. Shawn Smolen- Morton worked together for the event. Hamlin said she discussed showing the film with Smolen-Morton early in the semester, and he thought it was a great idea and immediately began work on getting the rights to show the film.

“It was a joint effort from beginning to end, and I’m thankful for all of Dr. Smolen-Morton’s help in making this possible,” Hamlin said.

“13th” is a documentary that features many African American scholars, activists, politicians and celebrities. The film was written and directed by Ava DuVerney, the award-winning director of the film “Selma.”

The film addresses slavery and how it relates to current incarceration statistics in the U.S. Hamlin said that the film touched on the struggles of multiple minorities.

“The film covers a severe social issue and brings people of all backgrounds together,” Hamlin said.

“13th” has received recognition in the film community. The documentary was nominated for an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature and received numerous other film awards and nominations. It has been praised for its insight into a major issue in the U.S.: high incarceration rates of minorities.

The event was organized by the efforts of multiple FMU groups, including the African and African American Studies program, a relatively small program. However, professors expect the department to continue to grow, offering more classes in the future and collaborating on other projects.

The English Film Series shows three films a semester. Some of the films shown, such as “13th”, serve an educational purpose or aim to teach a lesson to the audience, while others are shown for entertainment.

The next film in the series, “Alice in Wonderland,” will be shown on Apr. 15. These events are free to students and usually take place in the Lowrimore Auditorium.