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Archive of January, 2013

Amar Wala

A Few Words From Sophie Harkat

Posted by Amar Wala on Thursday, January 31, 2013.

Think security certificates only affect the accused? Have a conversation with Sophie Harkat, wife of security certificate detainee Moe Harkat. We asked Sophie to say a few words about herself, Moe and the film we have been working on.

Please visit the Justice for Mohamed Harkat website:

Join others such as Stephen Lewis, Naomi Klein and other prominent Canadians and sign the petition against security certificates:

Noah Bingham

Producer, Noah Bingham, Personal Reflections On The Secret Trial 5

Posted by Noah Bingham on Monday, January 28, 2013.

How do you undo a stereotype? How do you remove prejudice from policies, laws and their implementation? How do you break down misconceptions and fear that allow us to do what we wouldn’t condone for ourselves, families or neighbours to others?

These are question that are foremost in my mind during the making of this film and questions that propelled me to want to tell this story.

When I was a young adult and left home to study I had interests that were far from documentary film. I was interested in ecology and agriculture. I wanted to farm and live in a way that was in balance with the natural world. However, the events of 9/11 and the two subsequent wars that resulted afterwards interrupted these idyllic pursuits. They shook my focus and solidified how significant the stories we tell about each other had on the world. As I saw it, you had two small factions of people essentially telling the same narrative, one that demonized a large group of other people.

This is a pattern that has repeated throughout human history. These narratives plague the world over and are cause for much of the strife in it. This is strife in both large and small forms, be it war and genocide, or a store clerk keeping an eye on a certain profile of customer, or a dismissive look. I believe its naïve to think film can change such large issues. But I do feel that the stories we tell each other and ourselves have a part to play. Say a drop in the river of change that needs to take place to improve such problems.

Jaballah House Arrest Production Still 300dpi

What also motivated me to want to tell this story with Amar was the focus on family to discuss themes of anti-terrorism policy, national security and changes that happened as a result of the declaration of a global “War on Terror.” Headlines regarding hostages in Algeria, raids in Pakistan or the escalation of drone attacks are very much apart of these themes. But so are the smaller and quieter stories that don’t make such headlines. If we don’t tell stories where we can see ourselves in such situations, we will be bound to be apathetic or dismissive to injustices within these very real circumstances. In the case of the 5 individuals that our film is focusing on, one will read a name like “Mohamad” or “Jaballah” or see a photograph of Arab male with a long beard and go on to read they have undergone over a decade of prison and house arrest without charge or access to the evidence against them, and turn the page.

We hope to make a film that disrupts the narratives that we are used to when we hear of accusations of terrorism. Until we embrace understanding these serious issues in more nuanced, complicated and less fearful ways I do not feel we will get at the very roots of safety and security. If we do not see the impacts policies have on people’s lives and can also see ourselves in another’s shoes, no matter how divergent our lives may be, we will continue doing unto others things we wouldn’t except for ourselves or our loved ones. We hope to make a film that can contribute to these efforts.

Here’s hoping, but also here’s trying…


Amar Wala

A Few Words From Hassan Almrei

Posted by Amar Wala on Friday, January 25, 2013.

We'd like to introduce Hassan Almrei, one of the subjects of our film. We asked him to share a few words with you all.

Amar Wala

An Introduction - Our Animated Video

Posted by Amar Wala on Thursday, January 17, 2013.

Hey everyone, here's our original crowdfunding animation, you get a little taste of it in our Doc Ignite video. Our animator is the incredible Julian Brown.

It's been just over 2 years since we launched it and the response has been overwhelming. I remember when we first decided to animate it. Security certificates are a pretty serious topic, as is anything covering the issue of terrorism. So we felt by using animation, we could cut through all the controversy right to the heart of the issue. Many people ask about the animation style, particularly the "stick figure" men representing our subjects. That came to me after my friend David Fam bought me a Special Edition copy of Franz Kafka's The Trial. The book is about a man who is asked to defend himself without knowing exactly what he is accused of. Needless to say there are parallels to our film in the story. The book also included several original drawings by Kafka, of Joseph K, his lead character. The drawings were hauntingly beautiful. I was deeply struck by them, and decided to pay homage to Kafka's art in our animation. Julian then brought that idea to life, surpassing all my expectations.

Our goal has always been to raise awareness while we make the film, and we hope this video helped accomplish that over the past 2 years, and will continue to do so until the film is complete.



Noah Bingham

Michelle Shephard - Reporting From Terrorism’s Grey Zones

Posted by Noah Bingham on Thursday, January 17, 2013.

Hello everyone,

Check out the latest work by the incredible journalist/author Michelle Shephard, an article on Jameel Jaffer (@JameelJaffer), a Canadian lawyer is fighting for civil rights in the post-9/11 world as the head of the ACLU's Center for Democracy.

Michelle Shephard

Michelle is our favourite National Security writer, and we are honoured that she is graciously including signed copies of her latest book "Decade of Fear: reporting from Terrorism’s grey zone" as a reward to our Doc Ignite contributors. Check out more of her work here.

By the ST5 Team


Posted on Tuesday, January 15, 2013.

Dear ST5 Friends,

We have been IGNITED! THE SECRET TRAIL 5 has been selected by HOT DOCS as their featured DOC IGNITE project.

Check out our pitch video. We are happy and proud to show you an EXCLUSIVE LOOK at footage from THE SECRET TRIAL 5.

For the next 36 days, The Secret Trial 5 is teaming up with Doc Ignite to raise $15,000 to help finish our film!

This is an incredible opportunity for us, and it came along at just the right time. We are headed into post-production, and are hoping to finish editing the film by Fall of this year. A successful Doc Ignite campaign will help us achieve this goal. It would allow us to pay an editor full-time, and cover other technical costs associated with finishing a film. Hot Docs is huge! They are North America's largest documentary festival, and will help us reach a whole new crowd of people who we hope will support us as passionately as you have.

But we still need your help. Please spread this email far and wide, and share this wonderful news through twitter and facebook. Encourage people to contribute! To those of you who have been waiting for the perfect time to donate, this is it! Doc Ignite is offering some wonderful incentives for people (including DVD Boxsets, a signed book, and tickets to special screenings), so those of you who have supported us before, please consider doing so again.

This is it everyone, we're in the home stretch. It's been a long 3 years but we haven't lost sight of our goal, which is to make a powerful and touching film about the individuals and families affected by security certificates. A successful campaign would bring us one step closer, please help us get there. Raising $15,000 in only 36 days will be incredibly difficult, but we know we can do it with your help.

Thank you very much for continued support. We deeply appreciate it.

Amar and Noah

Noah Bingham

Find More Updates On Our Facebook & Twitter Pages!

Posted by Noah Bingham on Wednesday, January 02, 2013.

Happy New Year! It's been a busy time. We have been in the midst of production and pursuing funding avenues. A lot of great developments have taken place in 2012. We have some great announcements to share with you in the coming weeks, and hopefully much more exciting news to come throughout the new year. We will begin posting content here again shortly.

You can find recent updates, news, photos and related articles & info on our facebook page AND Twitter. Be sure to SHARE and LIKE our facebook page. This means the world to us, the more we are liked and shared the more this important story gets out there. We are telling this story from the ground up, help us spread the word!

ST5 Facebook Screengrab

ST5 Twitter Screengrab

Peace and justice in 2013.