16 Bars

16 Bars

Available on iTunes, Prime Video
16 Bars is an intimate look at the lives of four inmates at the city jail in Richmond, Virginia, who are a part of a unique rehabilitation effort that involves writing and recording original music. The film follows their personal and artistic development as they produce an album with a Grammy-winning recording artist, Todd ‘Speech’ Thomas, from the iconic activist hip-hop group Arrested Development. As the creative process unfurls and a chance at freedom draws near, each of these men must unearth painful elements of their pasts, which hold the key to a new chapter in their lives. The story is set in Richmond Virginia, the former seat of the confederacy, where the legacy of systemic racism, a spiraling opioid crisis, generational poverty, and a lack of mental health services have entrapped many of its citizens in a cycle of incarceration— which makes the city itself a unique case study for rising recidivism rates in the U.S. at large. With the U.S. locking up more of its citizens per capita than any other nation on the planet, the music of the film serves as rare testimony to the raw and messy truth behind the criminal justice system’s revolving door.
Director Sam Bathrick