Aspen Film to Present Award-Winning Documentary 16 BARS

Aspen Film to Present Award-Winning Documentary 16 BARS

Aspen, CO (November 6, 2020): Aspen Film will present the documentary 16 BARS featuring the two-time Grammy AwardÒ-winner ToddSpeech” Thomas, who is widely considered to be one of the godfathers of conscious hip-hop. The film will be available to stream virtually November 19-22 for $5.99. One dollar ($1) from each stream will be donated directly to the 16 BARS recidivism campaign – The Fund for Sustainable Tomorrows. The film will be available for purchase from 3pm MT, on November 19 through 3pm MT on November 22. Once unlocked after purchasing, viewers will have 72 hours to watch.

After the film, there will be a pre-recorded Q&A from May 2020, created by the California Film Institute and Rafael Theater, featuring filmmaker Sam Bathrick, film subject Speech Thomas and moderated by Steve Michelson, ED of The Fund for Sustainable Tomorrows. To purchase, visit

16 BARS is a feature length music documentary that offers a rare glimpse at the human stories — and songs — that are locked away in our nation’s jails and prisons. The film follows a unique rehabilitation effort in the Richmond City Justice Center that invites inmates to write and record original music. In the jail’s makeshift recording studio, four men collaborate on 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, each of these men must unearth painful memories from the past, which hold a key to a new chapter in their lives.

The film 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, making 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.

Click here to view the music video Inspire (Teddy Kane) from the 16 BARS soundtrack.