88 minutes – Documentary
Language: English
Festival release date: April 30, 2023 – Hot Docs (World Premiere)
Release date:
Production company: Frequent Flyer Films
Canadian distributor:

Cynara is a title that has been used many times before. This film, written, directed and produced by Toronto-based Sherien Barsoum, is a crime drama, but the crime is real and the drama, also real, is difficult to believe. In Toronto, on February 19, 2011, Cindy Ali, a Trinidadian-Canadian mother of four, called 911. In a panic, she reported that her family’s townhouse had been attacked by two masked men. When a first responder found her lying on the floor and her 16-year-old daughter Cynara, who has cerebral palsy, lying on the couch and showing no signs of life, she immediately treated Cindy as a suspect rather than a victim. This is also a story of Canada’s justice system on trial.

Thom Ernst reviews Cynara for
Images courtesy of Frequent Flyer Films.

Cynara, documentary, movie, poster,



Bryn Hughes
Sherien Barsoum

Executive Producer:

Michelle Shephard
Bryn Hughes


Sherien Barsoum


Sherien Barsoum


Christian Bielz


Rich Williamson


Ben Fox

Cast: Roles:

Cindy Ali
Allan Ali
Sheela Durasami
Jim Rankin
James Lockyer

Cindy’s Husband
Herself – Church of the Rock pastor
Himself – Toronto Star journalist
Himself – Defence lawyer