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NEW YORK (AP) — Ava DuVernay’s “The 13th,” a documentary about racial inequality and mass incarceration in the United States, will open the 54th New York Film Festival.

The Film Society of Lincoln Center announced the selection Tuesday. It’s the first time Lincoln Center’s prestigious film festival has opened with a nonfiction film.

“This film was made as an answer to my own questions about how and why we have become the most incarcerated nation in the world, how and why we regard some of our citizens as innately criminal, and how and why good people allow this injustice to happen generation after generation,” said DuVernay, the director of “Selma.”

The film traces the country’s racial divide through much of the 20th century and up to the Black Lives Matter movement. Its title refers to the 13th amendment, which abolished slavery.

Festival director Kent Jones called the film “an act of true patriotism.”

“The 13th” will kick off the 17-day festival, which runs Sept. 30 through Oct. 16. It will debut on Netflix and in a limited theatrical run on Oct. 7.