Amen Jafri (Ai-mehn)

Born and raised in Toronto, Amen Jafri moved to Ottawa in 2003 to pursue a degree in Communications and Political Science at Carleton University.  After graduating, she worked in the public service for nearly 10 years in an HR and communications capacity, before leaving in 2016 to join the television broadcasting industry.  Film and television have always been a calling, particularly the documentary form.  Amen’s first documentary, The City That Fun Forgot? explored the city of Ottawa’s reputation for being boring and had a sold-out premiere at Hub Ottawa in 2014.  It also earned coverage on national and local media outlets. Her two most recent documentaries made the 2015 and 2016 shortlists for the TVO Short Doc Contest.  Her work has also been screened on TVO, at the American Documentary Film Festival, The Ottawa Digital Film Festival, The Monthly Film Festival, The Jehlum Short & Long Film Festival, the 2016 Dogme Challenge and the One Take Super 8mm Event Screening.

The Secret Lives of Public Servants

New Web Series Launch on Indiegogo

On the occasion of Canada’s 150th year, filmmaker Amen Jafri launches an Indiegogo campaign for a new documentary web series, The Secret Lives of Public Servants.  The series pulls back the curtain on the after-hours fun and extraordinary hobbies of public servants.  This is Jafri’s second major documentary endeavour. Her first documentary The City That Fun Forgot? explored Ottawa’s reputation for being dull and ignited a city-wide conversation in newspapers, radio and blogs.  

“There are a lot of creative people who work 9 to 5 in public service—I know because I was one,” says Amen Jafri. “The public service can be a bit dry and no matter how much they may love their jobs, many folks need a creative outlet. They find that creative outlet in their after-hours hobbies or secret lives.”

In Canada, the public service (including the municipal, provincial and territorial levels) is the biggest employer in the country with the public sector making up some 4% of the population (based on 2011 Census). Despite this, public servants are largely seen as dull, faceless bureaucrats by many Canadians. Unbeknownst to most, many public servants pursue hobbies that counter this stereotype to fulfill their creative dreams and immerse themselves in worlds outside of their office cubicles. Each episode of The Secret Lives of Public Servants profiles a different public servant with an extraordinary hobby, including: recreating life in medieval Europe, cosplaying, creating comics, and craft beer brewing.

In recent years, there has been increased appetite in popular culture for exploring the concept of bureaucracy, finding the humour in it and humanizing the people who work within it. Successful examples of this genre include the photo essay series Bureaucratics (Netherlands), the television series Utopia (Australia), The Hollow Men (Australia), The Thick of It (UK) and Parks and Recreation (US). Amen Jafri’s goal is to create Canada’s version of this up-and-coming genre.  

Join us for our launch event!

Where: Impact Hub Ottawa, 123 Slater St., 6th Floor
When: October 21, 2017 at 7pm

More details to follow!





The Team

Derek is an award-winning director, director of photography (DP) and editor from Ottawa. He has served as DP on several independent features, TV series (narrative and documentary) as well as music and corporate videos with his company Obscura Creative. His most recent project, Primary Colours (a cinepoem in collaboration with spoken word artist Philosi-Fire), has been an official selection at over a dozen film festivals around the world, as well as screening on CBC nationally in Canada.

Derek Price, Director of Photography (DP)

Hingman Leung is an Ottawa-based videographer and editor, specializing in telling stories through the lens of culture and food. Her short documentary on food waste in China received the Public Ethnography Award in 2015.  Hingman has produced and edited video content for a growing list of Ottawa organizations, businesses, and not-for-profits. She also captures weddings for wonderful couples in Ottawa and abroad.

Hingman Leung, Editor

Laszlo has been specializing in location sound for the past thirteen years.  His AV career first started in the 1970s at a community cable station. After graduating from TV broadcasting at Fanshawe College, his love of film and television has carried him to countless other adventures in features, commercials, series, corporate videos and documentaries.

Laszlo Szijarto, Sound

The Public Servants

She’s a Divisional Recruitment Officer at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency by day and a member of the international Society for Creative Anachronism by night. The Society recreates the life and practices of pre-17th century Europe through tournaments, feasts, royal courts and more.

Heather Hanna, a.k.a Constance Payne (Creative Anachronist)

She’s an HR Advisor Specialist at the Department of National Defence by day and a craft beer aficionado by night. She’s the co-founder of Barley’s Angels Ottawa, a women’s beer education group, a judge in home-brew competitions and the owner of Ottawa Beer Events, a company that offers guided beer tastings.

Sasha Dunfield (Beer Aficionado)

By day he helps lead protection services at the National Gallery of Canada, ensuring public safety and security.  By night, Richard transforms into a superhero, er, cosplayer.  The first character he portrayed was Captain America in May 2012 at the inaugural Ottawa ComicCon. In addition to designing and handmaking his own costumes, he also subjects himself to a rigorous regimen of diet and exercise to attain a true superhero physique.  Richard is also part the League of Superheroes, a charity organization in Ottawa that participates in local children’s event and charities.

Richard Wong (Cosplayer)

By day, he works as a multimedia distributor technician for a Broadcasting Department in the public service. By night, he burns, shreds, and smashes stuff to pieces and exhibits it in museums and galleries across the National Capital. He’s best known for his gas masks and antler sculptures and can be seen cycling the city in a suit and gas mask.

Marc Adornato (Artist)

He’s a tax officer for Public Works and Government Services Canada by day and a private chef by night.  Andrew’s passion has always been cooking, but it was only after becoming a top finalist on MasterChef Canada in 2015 that he even considered it as a profession.  Now he owns and operates Zatar Catering, where he provides clients with home dining experiences inspired by his Syrian roots.

Andrew Al-Khouri (Chef)

She’s an HR Advisor at Health Canada by day and a dramatic actress/filmmaker by night. She travels (sometimes to and back in the same day) to Toronto a few times per month for auditions or actings gigs and juggles acting camera groups, classes and workshops in the evenings and weekends. For the last two years she’s been producing her first feature documentary.

Candice Lidstone (Actress / Filmmaker)

She’s a Senior Communications Advisor and Speechwriter at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency by day and a comic book artist by night, creating the Eternal Romance Series and contributing to other projects like Elvira: Mistress of the Dark. Janet’s work has been featured in the book, The Great Women Cartoonists, by Trina Robbins.

Janet Hetherington (Comic Book Creator)

By day, she’s a project officer for Health Canada. By night she transforms into lifestyle blogger, YouTuber and Instagrammer, Style DominationEvery week, Dominique offers her national and international followers beauty, fashion and lifestyle tips and reviews.  She’s been featured in CTV Morning LiveFlare Magazine, and acted as guest contributor to the Ottawa Citizen’s Beauty Buzz column.  Since 2015, she has gained exclusive insider access to review the launch of store openings and fashion shows, including Ted Baker London and Toronto Fashion Week.

Dominique Baker (Lifestyle Blogger)

By day, Kevin works as an administrative assistant to senior executives at Health Canada. By night, Kevin is the guitarist and vocalist for two Franco-Ontarian groups (Hey, Wow and Règlement 17), as well as a hired-gun guitarist and film music composer. He has performed all over Canada, France and has worked on nearly a dozen short films. His groups also have several albums and singles to their credit.

Kevin Daoust (Musician)

Media Links


The City That Fun Forgot?

Go Back Home (TVO Short Doc Contest 2016 Shortlist)

On the Rocks (TVO Short Doc Contest 2015 Shortlist)

The rest of my short films are available here, on YouTube.

I’ve also worked behind-the-scenes on several television shows and movies.



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