A new documentary film sheds light on the Surrey couple involved in a plot to blow up the B.C. Legislature in Victoria 10 years ago, on Canada Day 2013.
John “Omar” Nuttall and Amanda “Ana” Korody were originally found guilty by a jury and did time in prison, but were later acquitted when the Supreme Court of B.C. heard they were coerced by undercover police officers to carry out a terrorist bombing.
Director Amy Miller’s “Manufacturing the Threat” is a fascinating portrait of the couple and also a murky world of Canadian police infiltration, manipulation and entrapment, and how policing and security agencies were granted additional powers after 9/11 to go after “terrorists” and justify growing budgets.
This week the film is screened at Vancouver International Film Festival Centre’s Studio Theatre, on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday (Oct. 17, 19, 20).
CLICK HERE to watch the trailer.
Back in 2013, during Operation Souvenir, the RCMP provided Nuttall and Korody with explosives and fake detonators, then arrested and charged them for plotting a terrorist attack.
Miller’s gripping film, world-premiered at Vancouver’s DOXA film festival last May, uses surveillance video to help show how an impoverished pair became radicalized Muslims with pressure and guidance of undercover police who, the director contends, sought to “manufacture” the terrorist threat.
Last year the couple announced plans to sue police, prosecutors in their case and the B.C. and Canadian governments.
• RELATED, from 2022: B.C. couple entrapped in 2013 legislature bomb plot suing police, government.
Nuttall and Korody still live in the Surrey area, the Montreal-based director said.
“They had never really done interviews before. It took time to build some trust, and I think that’s warranted,” Miller said in a phone call Tuesday (Oct. 17).
“I was very lucky to get some development funding for the film in 2019, and that’s when I went out and filmed with them,” she continued. “That ended up being the main bulk of the filming for this. I would have liked to have a few more days with them, you know, a year or two later, but that’s not what happened.”
Miller said she’s remained in contact with the lawyer involved in the the couple’s 2022 lawsuit against police and governments.
“I have been writing Omar and Ana, letting them know how things are going,” she explained. “They didn’t attend the premiere (last spring) but I sent them a copy of the film. I don’t know if they decided to watch it, because it’s hard for anyone to watch themselves on TV or in films, never mind if you’re sharing extremely traumatic, difficult stories of what happened to you.”
Miller says DOXA is the only “big festival” in Canada to have welcomed the film, to date, and she’s not entirely sure why.
“Every other of the Canadian festivals that are in, like, the A tier, the bigger festivals, have snubbed the film, and there still isn’t a Canadian broadcaster that’s taken the film,” Miller said.
“It’s the only film on entrapment and agent provocateurs in Canadian history, that’s ever been made, so guaranteed there’s people who will find it interesting,” she added.
“Is it a conspiracy to say that maybe broadcasters don’t want to ruffle any feathers and have any issues? I don’t know. It’s tricky for me to say because nobody wants sour grapes, and there are so many good docs that don’t get a license or that don’t get into good festival, or bigger festivals, I should say.
“I’m very thrilled with the results so far,” Miller added. “We’ve won a couple of awards, and international eyeballs will see this film. But it is a Canadian subject for a Canadian audience. I can’t speak on behalf of the broadcasters, but it is one of those things, right, because maybe it’s as simple as no one wants to be critical of the RCMP and CSIS because of the cultural ecosystem that we live in, in Canada.”
- with files from Jane Skrypnek