We celebrate DocLands’ Closing Night with the World Premiere of Sam Bathrick’s transformative film 16 Bars. Todd “Speech” Thomas of activist hip-hop group Arrested Development works in a unique rehabilitation program in Richmond, Virginia, to help prisoners write and record their own songs. The film focuses on four inmates who battle cycles of incarceration and addiction.
“These men are behind bars, but they still have voices,” says Speech. “This music is capturing this moment in time in our country.” The US boasts the highest incarceration rates in the world, and the film humanizes some of the complex issues surrounding America’s broken criminal justice system. Earning their trust, and aided by loving camerawork and superbly produced recording sessions, the filmmakers deftly capture the men’s deepest hopes and fears. Suspense builds as each man works toward freedom in the best way he knows how. US 2018, 93 min Director Sam Bathrick