After 36 days, and 148 contributions, I guess all that's left is to say thank you. Thank you for proving to a couple of young filmmakers that the last 3 years have been worthwhile. Thanks for showing us, and the security certificate families that we are all ready to talk about these issues, and right these wrongs.
We raised just over $18k during this campaign, which may not be a lot in the life of the average documentary, but means everything in the life of THIS documentary. We wish to sincerely thank Hot Docs for this chance, and in particular, Elizabeth Radshaw, Stephanie McArthur, Chloe Sosa-Sims, and Patrycja Cieniewicz for their truly personal support, hard-work, and encouragement during the last few months.
We want to take this last opportunity to talk briefly about crowdfunding, and why it so important for emerging filmmakers. What we did this last month cannot be quantified. The money can, but the value of Doc Ignite vastly exceeds the money raised. We have no real idea how many people just learned about our project, and are now waiting to see the film. Sure, our FB and twiter accounts exploded, and we know we are reaching tens of thousands every week, but what exactly does that mean? The answer, is the aforementioned EVERYTHING. It means everything.
In a time when audiences are more fragmented then ever, and old models of funding and even distribution make less and less sense, crowdfunding just fits. It's a lot of work, but then filmmaking has always been so, and the results when it works are incredible. Right now, there are thousands of people waiting to see ST5. A film with little to no money, about a contentious issue, has a small but devoted audience behind it before it even enters post-production. This is an enviable position to be in for any film.
What this will ultimately mean for the film's distribution is anyone's guess. But it is seriously exciting. So we encourage all filmmakers out there, regardless of experience and funding, to embrace THEIR CROWD. Take the time to build a relationship with your audience, and they will not let you down. They don't ask for creative control, or rights of any kind. They simply want to be let in. Don't be afraid to share, both in good times and bad. Doc Ignite is a wonderful initiative. It is an organic reaction by Hot Docs to our climate, so please take advantage of it. And even without Doc Ignite, do not hesitate to start your own crowdfunding effort. That's how ST5 started, and it led to the success of this campaign. We thought we were at a disadvanatge having crowdfunded already. We could not have been more wrong.
We feel our crowd now, we feel the support. It gives us confidence, and to a young filmmaker, confidence is invaluable.
Thank you all once again, we promise to make a good film. An honest film. Where we go from there (re: security certificates) will be up to Canadians.
Amar and Noah.
Posted: Wed, February 20, 2013 - 2:10 by secrettrial5team | #
Doc Ignite - Our Final Week!
Well, we are officially entering the last week of this campaign, and to say it has surpassed all of our expectations is truly an understatement. We are blown away by the support you've given us, and after 3 years working on this film, we've never been more confident that we are telling a story Canadians want to hear.
Thanks to you, we have already achieved our goal of raising $15,000 towards finishing the film. In this final week, we hope you will help us spread our message as far as possible. Any and all additional contributions will go towards making a better, more polished film. Thus far, The Secret Trial 5 has been almost entirely funded by ordinary people like YOU, so every penny helps. Any funds raised during this final week will be put towards things like:
Paying our editor Niki for her incredible work
Buying hardrives to store all our footage (there's lots of it)
A professional sound mix
Colour correction, which will take our already amazing footage to the next level
Archival material (using old news footage and clippings are common, but very expensive!)
We've proven to ourselves that we can do a lot with a little, so while raising a little more money would be helpful and incredibly appreciated, what's just as important is growing our community. So please, take the time to "LIKE" us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter (@secrettrial5), and use the incredible exposure Hot Docs brings with it to teach every Canadian about security certificates.
Our goal has always been to create broad awareness about this issue while we make the film, and this Doc Ignite campaign has allowed us to do just that. So let's make this final week count!
Amar and Noah
Posted: Wed, February 13, 2013 - 12:32 by secrettrial5team | #
The Secret Trial 5 on the Tarek Fatah Show
We stopped by Newstalk 1010 yesterday to speak to host Tarek Fatah about our film. Tarek is known to be controversial. This is a great example of why we are making this film, blanket statements were being thrown around left, right and center. Warning, it gets pretty heated! Take a listen!
Posted: Tue, February 12, 2013 - 11:46 by secrettrial5team | #
The Secret Trial 5 on Global’s The Morning Show
We are hitting the mainstream! Here is a clip of producer/director Amar Wala on Global TV's The Morning Show discussing The Secret Trial 5 and our Hot Doc's Doc Ignite campaign.
We have until Feb 19 to continue to raise funds. The more we raise the MORE we can do to spread the word and raise awareness about these important stories! Please encourage others to become a part of this project.
Posted: Thu, February 07, 2013 - 7:39 by secrettrial5team | #
A BIG THANK YOU! 2 MORE WEEKS TO GO!
We've reached our Hot Doc's Doc Ignite campaign goal in just 3 weeks! Thank you ALL for the support. We couldn't have done this without YOU!
We still have 2 more weeks to go! The more we raise, the more we can do. Please continue to spread the word!
Posted: Tue, February 05, 2013 - 3:47 by secrettrial5team | #
A Few Words From Sophie Harkat
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:
Posted: Thu, January 31, 2013 - 12:22 by secrettrial5team | #
Producer, Noah Bingham, Personal Reflections On The Secret Trial 5
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.
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…
Posted: Mon, January 28, 2013 - 3:47 by secrettrial5team | #
A Few Words From Hassan Almrei
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.
Posted: Fri, January 25, 2013 - 9:46 by secrettrial5team | #
SECURITY CERTIFICATES – WHERE WE STAND…
We are a week into our Doc Ignite campaign, and it has been truly incredible watching the momentum grow as a whole new group of people learn about our film and more importantly, about the issues the film addresses.
Security certificates (SCs) have been around a long time, and as the world has evolved, so have they. Needless to say, they were never intended as tools for use in the so-called “War on Terror”, but sadly over a decade after 9/11, here we are with 3 men still under a certificate and two who are free but still see it’s shadow cast over their daily lives.
As we mentioned in our animated video, SCs were deemed unconstitutional in 2007, but were re-introduced in 2008 as Bill C-3. Under the new law, an independent lawyer known as a “Special Advocate” could see part of the secret evidence and act on behalf of the accused. However, the Special Advocate CANNOT communicate with anyone about the proceeding, including the accused. Did you get that part? The lawyer representing Mr. Harkat can’t speak to Mr. Harkat.
Here is where we stand right now…
ADIL CHARKAOUI - "I wanted to forget this whole nightmare, but they didn't even accept to even present an apology."
Adil’s won his freedom in Fall 2009. He still lives and works in Montreal, where he is a teacher. After 21 months behind bars, and a total of 61/2 years under a certificate, Adil still has received no apology and no compensation.
HASSAN ALMREI - "Just acknowledge what happened to me."
Hassan was held for over 8 years without charge. 8 YEARS. Much of that time was spent in solitary confinement. His certificate was quashed in December 2009, and he has since launched a legal suit against the government. Like Adil, Hassan has received no apology or compensation. He currently lives alone in Mississauga, Ontario.
We will all get to hear from Hassan personally during this Doc Ignite campaign.
Mr. Mahjoub’s case has been getting a fair amount of media attention lately, which is very nice to see. He recently won a huge victory, in that nearly all the house-arrest conditions he has been living under have been lifted. This marks another positive step for Mr. Mahjoub, who’s tireless efforts to clear his name (along with his legal team) have resulted in several positive developments for his case as of late.
Mr. Mahjoub was first arrested in 2000, and released under house arrest in 2007. He has spent over a dozen years under his certificate, still without charge. He is a father of two.
Moe lives in Ottawa with his wife Sophie. In December 2010, despite positive signs otherwise, Moe’s certificate was upheld by Justice Simon Noel. While this was a devastating moment for the Harkat’s, it prompted them to challenge the certificate process once again in the nation’s highest court. After a decade under a SC, the Harkat’s are now about to begin a Supreme Court challenge of the new security certificate system (Bill C-3, the Special Advocate system implemented in 2008).
This all started with Mr. Jaballah, both in reality and in the life of our film. Many would be surprised to learn Mr. Jaballah is now being held on his third SC. How’s that possible you ask? Well, his first certificate was quashed very quickly, thanks in part to an audiotape made by his son Ahmad when he was 11 (you can learn more about this by watching Amar’s short film The Good Son, which will be available on this blog shortly). Mr. Jaballah was then re-arrested on a second certificate (there is no limit or double jeopardy law) and has spent the last dozen years in prison or under house arrest. His case is still underway. No charges. Secret Evidence. (Certificate 3 came in 2008, when Bill C-3 was introduced.)
Let’s look at it this way, when Mr. Jaballah was first arrested his oldest son wasn’t even a teenager yet. Today, Mr. Jaballah is a grandfather of 4.
Let that sink in for a minute.
Posted: Tue, January 22, 2013 - 1:26 by secrettrial5team | #
Michelle Shephard - Reporting From Terrorism’s Grey Zones
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 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 contributors. Check out more of her work here.
All the best,
Posted: Thu, January 17, 2013 - 9:00 by secrettrial5team | #
An Introduction - Our Animated Video
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.
Posted: Tue, January 15, 2013 - 6:45 by secrettrial5team | #