​TIFF 2021 Documentary ‘Attica’ reviews the largest prison uproar in U.S. history

Asha Bajaj
3 min readSep 10, 2021

#TIFF2021; #Documentary; #Racism; #BlackInmates; #Protest

Toronto/Canadian-Media: Directed and produced by Stanley Nelson, Toronto International Film Festival 2021 (TIFF 2021)’s documentary film ‘Attica’ is being premiered in Scotiabank Theatre Toronto at 9 a.m. and at TIFF Digital Cinema Pro at 10 a.m. today, with a digital second screening at digital TIFF Bell Lightbox on Sep 16.

Image: Attica. Image credit: TIFF 2021

This documentary reviews the largest prison uprising of Sep 9, 1971, in U.S. history by Attica Correctional Facility inmates in New York by taking staff as hostages.

With the U.S. projecting the world’s highest incarceration rate, even after five decades of this uprising, Nelson tries to revive this incident by portraying what happened at Attica.

After negotiating with the inmates of Attica Correctional Facility, New York State Police brutally raided the facility in the bloodiest one-day clash on American soil since the US Civil War leaving 43 dead, followed by racist, barbarous vengeance against Black survivors.​

With a distinguished career focusing on stories of the Black struggle against white supremacy, Nelson presents this story by conducting dozens of new interviews with prisoners, journalists, and other eyewitnesses with powerful usage of surveillance footage and extensive news coverage. The audience can hear White House tapes of President Richard Nixon asking Governor Nelson Rockefeller, “Are these primarily Blacks that you’re dealing with?”

Clarence Jones, the publisher of the Amsterdam News, participated in negotiations with inmates was interviewed at age 89, and said, “I will never forget Attica.”

Having long been invoked in pop culture, from Dog Day Afternoon to Orange, and is the New Black, as a symbol of rebellion, Nelson facilitates, through these references, the readers to understand the depth of history revealing Black prisoners’ revolt against years of guard brutality, overcrowding, and stale contaminated food, due to racism, TIFF reports said.

Nelson passes these memories to a new generation with a motive to revive past historical events.

With a mission to transform the way people see the



Asha Bajaj

I write on national and international Health, Politics, Business, Education, Environment, Biodiversity, Science, First Nations, Humanitarian, gender, women