Following three inmates at the city jail in Richmond, Virginia, 16 Bars offers a glimpse at a unique rehabilitation program that provides these men with access to a makeshift recording studio. The inmates unearth painful elements of their pasts as they write and create original music. Through the process of collaborating on an album with Grammy-winning recording artist Todd “Speech” Thomas from the iconic hip-hop group Arrested Development, they begin to move forward with their lives. The music of the film serves as a rare testimony to the messy truth behind the criminal justice system’s revolving door.
The 2018 Virginia Film Festival runs November 1-4, 2018.