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Watch The Secret Path: Freedom to Speak on YouTube.

It’s not your average book club.

A group of inmates at Toronto South Detention Centre are studying Secret Path, Gord Downie and Jeff Lemire’s graphic novel about Chanie Wenjack. Chanie was a young Anishinaabe boy who died while running away from residential school in 1966 — simply because he wanted to go home.

Many themes in Chanie’s story resonate with these inmates: isolation, identity, fear, anger, the desire for freedom. Secret Path: Freedom to Speak captures a discussion within the walls of the jail and reveals how Chanie's story has had a profound impact on each of these incarcerated individuals.

The book club program is a creation of the Toronto Public Library and Literal Change, a Toronto- based non-profit that runs reading groups and literacy programs for Ontario’s incarcerated population. In 2011, the Correctional Service of Canada estimated that two-thirds of federal inmates do not have the basic level of literacy required to function in modern society. Through this program, inmates are taught reading and writing skills to help them achieve their educational and career goals when they reintegrate back into society. In addition, more than 25 percent of federal inmates are of Indigenous descent, despite making up only about 4 per cent of the total Canadian population.

Credits (Click to expand)

EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS , EDGARLAND FILMS
GORD DOWNIE
MIKE DOWNIE
PATRICK SAMBROOK

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, ANTICA PRODUCTIONS
STUART COXE

SUPERVISING PRODUCER
CRAIG BAINES

ASSOCIATE PRODUCER
RACHEL DAWSON

STORY PRODUCER
BARBARA MARGETTS

DIRECTOR
BARBARA MARGETTS

DIRECTORS OF PHOTOGRAPHY
JAMES KINISTINO
GEOFF LACKNER

SOUND RECORDIST
SANJAY MEHTA

POST PRODUCTION SUPERVISOR
KRISTINA GUNNING

EDITOR
JOHN WATSON

ASSISTANT EDITOR
HARRISON PEREZ

POST PRODUCTION FACILITY

CREATIVE POST

SOUND MIX
PAUL NOVOTNY
THE AUDIO PRODUCERS

ILLUSTRATIONS AND STORYBOARDS FROM THE GRAPHIC NOVEL BY
JEFF LEMIRE

ANIMATION DIRECTED BY
JUSTIN STEPHENSON

ANIMATION SUPERVISED BY
LES SOLIS
LOU SOLIS

ORIGINAL SECRET PATH MUSIC BY
GORD DOWNIE
KEVIN DREW
DAVE HAMELIN

FOR CBC
GENERAL MANAGER, PROGRAMMING
SALLY CATTO

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, UNSCRIPTED CONTENT
JENNIFER DETTMAN

SENIOR DIRECTOR, DOCUMENTARY
SANDRA KLEINFELD

DIRECTOR OF PRODUCTION, UNSCRIPTED CONTENT
ALEXANDRA LANE

EXECUTIVE IN CHARGE OF PROGRAMMING, CBC DOCS
LESLEY BIRCHARD

DIRECTOR OF FINANCE, UNSCRIPTED CONTENT
JULIE LAWLOR

SPECIAL THANKS
LITERAL CHANGE
TORONTO PUBLIC LIBRARY
ANDREW MORRISON
HOLLY PETERS
MICHAEL KOLY

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