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New G20 detention centre footage to be released next month

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A documentary project team has allegedly obtained 30 hours of "haunting" footage from inside the G20 Eastern Avenue Detention Centre.

During the G20 Summit four years ago in Toronto, a vacant film studio was used as a temporary jail where 885 people were held after police detained more than 1,100 people in the largest mass arrest in Canadian history.

"The footage unreservedly confirms verbal and written testimony of widespread human rights abuses at the Eastern Detention Centre," said the makers of What World Do You Live In?, in a statement released Thursday.

The filmmakers said they’ll be working with the G20 Movement Defence Committee, people who were arrested and detained during the G20, and others in the coming months to ensure that most or all of the footage becomes a significant part of Toronto’s public record.

"Watching it is at turns mesmerizing, appalling and extraordinarily mind-numbing," said Director Rebecca Garrett, who has allegedly spent hours with the footage.

rabble has not seen the footage. 

"Others should also have access to it as soon as appropriate steps to involve those affected have been taken. The extent of the normalization of violence is shocking."

What World Productions is releasing five still images of life inside the G20 cages and a short video clip of Gabriel Jacobs, a partial quadriplegic, lying on the floor in a crowded cage, unable to use the "inaccessible" toilet. 

Higher resolution images can be obtained from the film's website.

"The footage helps to confirm that prisoners were left in overcrowded cages in zip tie cuffs, were denied medical treatment, deprived of adequate food and water, lacked basic privacy in use of washrooms, and shows evidence that people were grouped on a discriminatory basis," said What World Productions.

"Gabriel Jacobs, as previously reported by the Toronto Star, CBC and APTN, was left on the floor of G20 cages to writhe in his own excrement. The footage obtained follows every moment of Mr. Jacobs time at the detention centre. Visibly emotional, Mr. Jacobs reacted to his first glimpses of the images by noticing that the other 14 prisoners in his cage had given him a wide berth because of the inaccessible orange porta potty."

Mr. Jacobs's story is one of dozens told by Garrett and producer Doug Johnson Hatlem in What World Do You Live In?.

"That wasn't right," said Jacobs. 

"It was not right! You offended me (referring to the police officers). All I was doing was trying to pick up a cigarette butt, and I ended up in there."

The footage was allegedly obtained by way of a Freedom of Information request in a coordinated effort between Jacobs and Johnson Hatlem.

"This is footage paid for by the public," said Johnson Hatlem, a former Toronto street pastor.

"The footage shows atrocities committed by public employees against the public. The footage should have been made public long ago."

Garrett and Johnson Hatlem said that video of Mr. Jacobs's "ordeal" will be included in What World Do You Live In?, a project that has been submitted to various film festivals including the Toronto International Film Festival.

The pair are planning a series of events to evaluate and make further plans for the footage. The first event will take place on the evening of July 23 in coordination with Sanctuary, a church community at the heart of What World Do You Live In?

The invitation-only event will be "almost exclusively for people who were incarcerated in the G20 cages and will solicit input regarding further release of the 30 hours of G20 detention centre footage obtained." 

Anyone who would like to put their name forward for an invitation can contact What World Productions by email at: info@whatworldproductions.com.

A trailer for What World Do You Live In? is available on Vimeo.

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