Licence to Torture
Researching Licence to Torture involved diving head first into a myriad of lengthy government reports and a detailed examination of the text and footnotes of a small library of books and other resources on the subject.
I chose to focus on a very specific storyline - not the question that dominates in America, which is whether torture works or not, which has emerged as the major debate in America, and not what should happen now to the detainees in Guantanamo Bay, not even the question of whether there will be prosecutions.
Instead I chose to ask whether a crime was committed by members of the Bush administration in authorising the interrogation techniques in question. It seemed a central question to ask of the world's most powerful democracy.
To get those answers involved months of off-the-record discussions with former members of the Bush administration, former CIA insiders - some at a very senior level - members of the FBI, a large number of former detainees who had been through the American detention centres, several authors and a wide range of lawyers who specialise in the subject.
The debate is very polemic. Some talked to us because they wanted to clear their own names, some because they wanted to set the record straight about the Bush administration's programmes, others out of pure good will.
The majority of the information gleaned from these conversations is not reported in Licence to Torture, but they were key in providing the backdrop for the film. To make this film we needed an understanding of what motivated the interrogation programmes, who played the key roles, and what the implications are for decisions taken under American and international law.
While there is still much to be said on all these subjects, Licence to Torture breaks new ground in key areas and begins to answer some of these vital questions about America's decision to adopt torture techniques.