With less than two weeks before the Academy Awards, Netflix is widening access to the Oscar-nominated documentary 13th, Ava DuVernay's exploration of race and mass incarceration, by making it easier for groups to show the film.

"We have been overwhelmed and inspired by the response to 13th from people of all ages," said Lisa Nishimura, Netflix vice president of original documentary programming, in a prepared statement.

"Communities across the country are feeling the full weight of this particularly divisive moment in time. And, when some are capitalizing on this fear, we are especially inspired by the next generation, who are able to acknowledge the complex system they have inherited while simultaneously vowing to change it. Like DuVernay, they understand that we must come face to face with our past before we can fix our future."

The title of the film refers to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution: "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States."

There have already been dozens of screenings by advocacy organizations nationwide since the film's October 2016 debut on Netflix, under the streaming service's community screenings program, but Tuesday's announcement makes a film that few probably had the chance to see during its theatrical run accessible to many more groups.

Netflix's permission for educational screenings of 13th comes with specific terms, including:

  • The film must be accessed through Netflix's streaming service, by a Netflix subscriber.
  • Screenings must be nonprofit. "That means you can't charge admission, or solicit donations, or accept advertising or commercial sponsorships in connection with the screening," Netflix said.
  • Netflix logos may not be used to  promote screenings, and there should be no indication of Netflix approval or sponsorship.
Groups wishing to screen the film can find more information here