The Fear of 13

David Sington

United Kingdom 2015, 96 min.


Spoken language: English

Dutch premiere

Festival year: 2016

After having spent 23 years on death row, Nick writes a letter asking the judge to cease all investigations into his case and grant him the right to be swiftly executed. With a minimum of drama to achieve a maximum effect, this psychological thriller documentary tells the remarkable life story of this man, in which it slowly becomes clear that nothing is what it seems.


Charismatic storyteller Nick takes us on a journey through his life, which was characterized by a drug addiction, lack of perspective and childhood traumas, and provides an insight into the prison system.

Being sentenced to death following a series of unfortunate accidents, he spends his days in his cell. After a while, a kindly disposed guard lends him a few books. Despite the fact that he has hardly learned to read, he devours the books and is soon busy learning new, complicated words all day. He also discovers the existence of the word ‘triskaidekaphobia’, which means ‘fear of 13’. His newly acquired language skills not only help him to come to terms with his past, but also enable him to shape his future.

The slowly unfolding events, which take the form of an exciting monologue, blur the line between truth and fiction. But then an unexpected twist turns the whole story upside down.

Official website:



DOX Productions Ltd

+44 2076023094

World sales:


+44207253 6244

Talkshows & debates

The Fear of 13: Q&A with Linda Polman

Saturday, March 19, 2016 - 20:15

Q&A on wrongly convicted death row inmates in the United States, with Linda Polman, freelance journalist and writer. 

The Fear of 13: Q&A with director David Sington

Thursday, March 24, 2016 - 17:00

Q&A with director David Sington, moderated by producer and director Gert-Jan Gerlach. 

The Fear of 13: Q&A with director David Sington

Friday, March 25, 2016 - 14:15

Q&A with director David Sington, moderated by film programmer Maarten Stoltz.