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Through a Blue Lens

Through a Blue Lens

| 52 min

This gripping documentary takes a powerful look at the lives of people with substance use disorder in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Filmmaker Veronica Alice Mannix follows Constable Al Arsenault and six other police officers on their daily beat, documenting their unique relationships with people who speak candidly about their painful past experiences, their drug addiction, and life on the street.

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

  • participant
    John Bear Curtis
    Richard Todd
    Kevin Frank
    Danièle Shannon
    Jean-Michel Henry
    Debra Karen
  • cinematography
    Toby Hinton
    Dave Kolb
    Dale Weidman
    Len Hollingsworth
    Al Arsenault
    Mark Steinkampf
    Walt McKay
  • director
    Veronica Alice Mannix
  • director of photography
    Daniel C. Mannix
  • editor
    Shelly Hamer
  • additional police cinematography
    Jim Mitchell
    Carla Webb
    Andy Tomec
  • consultant
    Michelle Bjornson
  • story editor
    Michelle Bjornson
  • music composer
    Dennis Burke
  • musician
    Jim Porter
  • additional cinematography
    Rudolf Kovanic
  • camera assistant
    Dave Lank
  • location sound
    Jonathan Ritchie
  • sound consultant
    Brent Marchenski
  • stills
    Al Arsenault
    Toby Hinton
  • production stills
    Bob Semeniuk
    Christopher Grabowski
  • demo editing
    Christopher Keam
  • sound design
    Orca Pacific Productions
  • mix
    Orca Pacific Productions
  • video post-production
    Rainmaker Digital Pictures
  • motion control
    Carousel Video Transfers Ltd.
  • production supervisor
    Kathryn Lynch
  • program administrator
    Bruce Hagerman
  • producer
    Gillian Darling Kovanic
  • executive producer
    Graydon McCrea


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Ages 13 to 17

Health/Personal Development - Mental Health/Stress/Suicide
Health/Personal Development - Substance Use and Abuse/Addiction
Media Education - Documentary Film
Social Studies - Contemporary Issues

Encourage discussion about the stereotypes surrounding drug addicts. Discuss why so many teens turn to drugs as a coping strategy. Compare and contrast the reality of life on the streets with the Hollywood depiction of drug addiction. Students can research the term skid row, showing how it applies to some parts of large cities. Discuss the effectiveness of this kind of documentary as a deterrent.

Through a Blue Lens
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