Reviews and Festivals
"This production is a reminder that prison can be more than punishment, and incarcerated people need help to break the cycle. Teens will identify with these young inmates and their music."— Booklist
"Highly recommended. A powerful and moving account of redemption through music...reminiscent of the aesthetic that renowned documentarian Frederick Wiseman uses...Never preachy, and always enlightening, it allows the viewers to put themselves, at a distance, into the shoes of these souls engaged in battle not only for their survival, but for redemption...a powerful testament to the power of the arts to transform and transcend, as we see the outlet for self-expression to be a tool to facilitate change.This film would be a welcome addition to any libraries list of offerings and is particularly useful on a community college in larger cities. It can be used in criminal justice, sociology, or general education classes as a powerful didactic tool that is surely to useful to facilitate and generate discussion amongst students. This an important and powerful film, despite its deeply tread subject matter. It adds to the discussion, and its positive dwelling on the solution is infectious."
— Educational Media Reviews Online
"A vital and involving portrait...An unsettling snapshot of recidivism and the flaws in America's criminal justice system."
— LA Times
"The movie emphasizes the difficulty of breaking cycles of addiction, crime and incarceration."
— The New York Times
"Exploring cycles of addiction and incarceration through the power of music and storytelling, the inspiring 16 Bars offers a window into rehabilitation."
— DOC NYC
"Watch this if movies about social justice are what you need."
— The Star
"Inspiring and hopeful, 16 Bars
has a raw and unforgettable honesty."
— Miami Film Festival
"Electrifying and heartbreaking...A successfully engaging documentary full of great musical performances as Speech mixes and finishes these oral histories into an album that in part will benefit these men in their journey upon reentry...16 Bars offers a collection of heartbreaking stories and, to its credit, refuses to provide easy answers."
— The Film Stage
"Captured the intense emotion and enthralling stores of each inmate who participated."
"Impressive documentary...Illustrates the power of film to educate and motive audiences and, by so doing, to change lives."
— CA Film
"Exploring cycles of addiction and incarceration through the power of music and storytelling, the inspiring documentary 16 Bars offers a window into rehabilitation. I strongly recommend."
— Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, Harris County, Texas
"Should be applauded for its focus on story rather than celebrity...The inmates have valuable stories to tell, and both the events depicted within 16 Bars and the existence of the documentary itself gives these men the agency to be heard. Their stories are beautifully unique, with no one tale feeling redundant, a concept reflected in their respective musical styles...16 Bars presents a convincing case for slowing down and attempting to understand lives foreign to most viewers -- to give these men the time and respect they deserve."
— The Cavalier Daily
DocLands, Audience Choice
Downtown LA Film Festival, Best Documentary
Virginia Film Festival
MKE Film Festival
DTLA Film Festival
Miami Film Festival
Big Sky Film Festival
Human Rights Film Festival