Calgary is Canada’s fourth largest city, known as the centre of the country’s oil industry and a gateway to the Rocky Mountains. Unfortunately, Calgary has also become known for the violence and dysfunction of its police department.
Recent years have seen the Calgary Police Service (CPS) shoot and kill disproportionately high numbers of people. In 2018, CPS was involved in more fatal shootings than the Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, and Edmonton police departments combined. In a scathing exposé of a deeply troubled police department, No Visible Trauma reveals the devastating consequences of police officers not being held to account for violent behaviour.
Through dogged investigation, never-before-seen evidence, and disturbing police video recordings, the film unravels the intertwined stories of three individuals who suffered severe violence at the hands of Calgary police officers: in 2013, Godfred Addai-Nyamekye (pictured above) was kidnapped and abandoned in -28°C (-18°F) weather by two officers before being brutally beaten and tasered by another; eighteen months later, the same officer who assaulted Godfred viciously punched and flung Daniel Haworth to the ground while handcuffed, causing permanent brain damage; and in 2015, Anthony Heffernan was shot four times and killed after five officers broke down the door of his hotel room during a “welfare check”.
Exclusive interviews with police executives, whistleblowers, lawyers, victims’ families, and one brave survivor reveal systemic failings in the government oversight bodies who are supposed to safeguard the public from the abuse of power. From glaring double standards in the justice system, to shocking levels of bullying, harassment, and intimidation within the police force itself, No Visible Trauma makes clear that the police accountability issues in Calgary are not simply the case of a few bad apples, but rather the predictable outcome of a much deeper rot.
Official Selection at 2020 Vancouver International Film Festival, Official Selection and Audience Award Winner for Best Documentary Feature at the 2020 CUFF.Docs
" No Visible Trauma tells these stories simply and directly, interviewing survivors and families and using security-camera footage of Lindsay beating Haworth to illustrate the brutality of the constable’s assault—and to efficiently refute the self-defense argument brought by Lindsay’s attorney at his trial. " — The Global Straight
"Above the Law should be watched by everyone living in Canada, especially in Alberta, regardless of who you are or where you came from. It is a chilling indictment of police brutality, arrogance and racism. It shines a spotlight on the fact that there is no accountability — that no one is policing the police and that as in the case of George Floyd, without the real life videotape evidence provided by witnesses no one would believe that it even happens." - Toronto Star
About the filmmakers
Directors, Editors, Producers – Marc Serpa Francoeur & Robinder Uppal
Marc and Robinder are documentarians whose work builds on lifelong interests in social justice issues. They are the co-founders of Lost Time Media, which has produced a wide range of linear and interactive documentaries since 2013. Their interactive documentary The World in Ten Blocks(2016) was featured at Hot Docs, Sheffield Doc/Fest, and launched episodically in partnership with The Globe and Mail. Their short documentary The Head & the Hand (2018) was listed by DOC NYC as one of the top twelve contenders for the Oscars’ Documentary Short category. In 2020, they released Above the Law (CBC Docs POV) in tandem with the feature-length No Visible Trauma, a scathing exposé of police brutality and accountability issues in their hometown of Calgary. In 2022, they co-produced Love in the Time of Fentanyl in partnership with ITVS and with the support of the Sundance Institute. Following its premiere at Vancouver’s DOXA, where it won the Colin Low Award for Best Canadian Director, the film had its US Premiere at DOC NYC 2022 and broadcast on PBS’s Independent Lens in early 2023.