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‘American Jail’ Trailer: Roger Ross Williams’ CNN Documentary Examines Nationwide Mass Incarceration — Exclusive

The new film from the Oscar-winning director of "Life, Animated" looks at the destructive, cyclical aspects of the U.S. prison system.

American Jail Trailer CNN

“American Jail”

After his last film “Life, Animated” became an audience favorite, director Roger Ross Williams’ next film “American Jail” is turning its attention to the U.S. prison system.

CNN released the first look at the upcoming film, which will examine the individuals and entities that benefit from the existing framework and will see Williams traveling outside the U.S. for potential solutions to the problem.

The film, which is set to air on CNN early next month, looks at the systemic issues within the American criminal justice system, particularly those to which people in poverty are most susceptible. To illustrate the forces behind the “prison pipeline” that Williams’ film looks to document, “American Jail” will feature commentary from leading experts in this field of study and testimony from individuals currently serving sentences in American facilities. 

Read More: Roger Ross Williams Reveals the Healing Power of Disney in ’Life, Animated’: Awards Spotlight

This is Williams’ second time collaborating with the cable network. In 2015, the filmmaker’s digital short film “Blackface” looked at the history and modern context of the Dutch holiday tradition of Sinterklaas. 

“American Jail” is part of the CNN Films banner, which has aired previous documentaries on the network including “The Reagan Show” and “Trophy” and will present “Three Identical Strangers” later this year.

Watch the first trailer for “American Jail” (including an appearance from Williams himself) below:

American Jail” premieres Sunday, July 1 at 8 p.m. ET on CNN.

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