The documentary 16 Bars will come out on DVD Feb. 7 from MVD Entertainment Group and Lightyear Entertainment.
It offers a rare glimpse at the human stories and songs locked away in our nation’s jails and prisons and follows a unique rehabilitation effort in a Virginia jail that encourages inmates to write and record original music. In the jail’s makeshift recording studio, four men collaborate to produce an album with Grammy-winner Todd “Speech” Thomas of Arrested Development. As the creative process unfolds, the incarcerated artists must confront the traumas of their past, and music becomes the key to unlocking a new chapter in their lives.
Two-time Grammy-winner Thomas is widely considered one of the godfathers of conscious hip-hop. Starting in 2017, he set out on a journey to the Richmond City Jail, where he conducted music workshops with inmates. His goal was to shed light on the complex issues in our criminal justice system by bringing the voices and stories of incarcerated people to a larger audience.
Special features include music videos for “Inspire,” “Lost One” and “Freedom Wind.”
The film was nominated for Best Independent Documentary at the Black Reel Awards, won the Audience Choice Award at Doclands, won Best Documentary at the Downtown LA Film Festival, and won Best Music Film at the Macon Film Fest.
An original soundtrack album will be released through Caroline/UMG.