The NFB is committed to respecting your privacy

We use cookies to ensure that our site works efficiently, as well as for advertising purposes.

If you do not wish to have your information used in this way, you can modify your browser settings before continuing your visit.

Learn more
Open Secrets

Open Secrets

| 52 min

This provocative documentary uncovers a lost chapter in Canadian military history: how the Armed Forces dealt with homosexual behaviour among soldiers, during and after World War II. More than 60 years later, a group of five veterans, barely adults when they enlisted, break the silence to talk about how homosexual behaviour "was even more unmentionable than cancer." Yet amidst the brutality of war, instances of sexual awakening among soldiers and officers were occuring. Initially, the Army overlooked it, but as the war advanced, they began to crack down: military tribunals, threats of imprisonment, discharge and public exposure. After the war, officers accused of homosexuality were discharged. Back home in Canada, reputations and careers were ruined. For the young men who had served their country with valour, this final chapter was often too much to bear. Based on the book Courting Homosexuals in the Military by Paul Jackson.

This film deals with mature subject matter. Viewer discretion is advised

  • original concept
    Paul Jackson
  • director
    José Torrealba
  • cinematography
    José Torrealba
  • editing
    Antoine Saad
    José Torrealba
  • additional photography
    David Finch
  • sound recording
    David Finch
  • documentary script
    José Torrealba
  • narration writer
    Shelley Tepperman
  • narrator
    José Torrealba
  • consultant
    Paul Jackson
  • researcher
    Paul Jackson
  • production assistant
    Samir Mallal
  • sound editor
    Marco Fania
  • original music
    Roberto C. Lopez
  • narration recording
    Geoffrey Mitchell
  • sound re-recording
    Serge Boivin
  • online editing
    Sylvain Desbiens
    Denis Pilon
    Denis Gathelier
  • digital editing technician
    Ochelle Greenidge
  • title design
    Louise Overy
  • archival research
    José Torrealba
    Paul Jackson
    Mahalia Verna
  • post-production coordinator
    Claude Cardinal
  • studio clerk
    Sia Koukoulas
  • studio administrator
    Nickie Merulla
    Marie Tonto-Donati
  • producer
    Germaine Ying Gee Wong
  • executive producer
    Sally Bochner


Enjoy the NFB experience on your favourite device. 


Ages 14 to 17

Civics/Citizenship - Human Rights
Ethics and Religious Culture - Ethical Values
History - World War II

Open Secrets
Also available

Embed this code on your site

Video player width

by Reset