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Filmmakers Blog


Well everyone,

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.      

Doc Ignite - Our Final Week!

Hello Everyone,

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! 

Thank you,

Amar and Noah

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!

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.



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!

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:

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…


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.

Michelle Shephard - Reporting From Terrorism’s Grey Zones

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 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,


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.



Igniter Comments

Good luck guys!
- Monica Molina



Break a leg Amar!
- Steven Pelton

Well done Amar. So good you have Joan as your ally.
Good luck.

- Francine Zuckerman

Hey Amar,

I guess I now officially qualify as a Saint (but then, we already knew that!). Keep going, and keep up the good work!


- Ariz Engineer

Your focus is incredible, I am proud of you guys.

- Marva Ollivierre

It's really great to see this film get so far! I'm so looking forward to seeing this issue portrayed on the big screen.
- Mike Gifford

I'm so glad to see you guys are tackling this troubling issue. Good luck with the home stretch, and can't wait to see the final product!
- Katherine Kurtz

Honestly, I had no idea this was happening in Canada, and I want to know more. Best of luck!
- Philip Luca

This is such an important film to be made. Thank-you for taking it on!
- Cathy Gulkin