Ava DuVernay keeps pretty busy these days. Just this month already, the Selma director has debuted a new short film at the official opening of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, created and executive-produced the acclaimed new drama series Queen Sugar, and continued work on A Wrinkle in Time, the first film ever to be budgeted at over $100 million and be directed by a woman of color.
Before all that, however, DuVernay somewhat secretly directed Netflix’s The 13th, a sweeping documentary that tackles the interlinked history of racism and mass incarceration in the United States. Drawing on interviews from figures across the political spectrum—from Trump surrogate Newt Gingrich to the New Yorker’s Jelani Cobb—and spanning over 150 years, the film aims to be both a penetrating polemic and a nuanced, interpretive take on history. Accordingly, anticipation is awfully high. The 13th will premiere Sept. 30 at the New York Film Festival, becoming the first documentary to ever open the event, before an Oct. 7 launch on Netflix.