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Through a Blue Lens

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Constable Al Arsenault shows a slide of a wide-eyed 18-year-old girl taken outside a bar in downtown Vancouver. 'Does she look like a drug addict?' he asks a class of high-school students.

When they answer no, the officer shows them the next slide of the same girl, Shannon, six months later. Her face is bruised and covered in festering sores. 'She's on the needle. She didn't know she had an 'addictive personality'. She does now.' The students express their shock and disbelief.

Arsenault, along with six other policemen, began video-documenting the people on their beat to create a powerful educational tool to help prevent drug use among young people. This unique group of officers, who formed a non-profit group dubbed the Odd Squad, resulted in an unusual relationship between the police and addicts in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. Through a Blue Lens tells this moving and compassionate story. In this documentary, addicts talk openly about how they got to the streets. Through their participation in this video, they want to stop others from joining their nightmare.

Warning: Contains coarse language and graphic scenes. Preview before use.




 

1999, 52 min 08 s

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The Minister of Posts and Telecommunications Prize - Category: Adult Education - with a cash prize of $3,000US
International Educational Program Contest Japan Prize
November 17 to 24 2000, Tokyo - Japan

The Japan Prize - with a cash prize of $5,000US
International Educational Program Contest Japan Prize
November 17 to 24 2000, Tokyo - Japan

Chris Award - Category: Social Issues
International Film and Video Festival
October 25 to 27 2000, Columbus - USA

Award for Most Inspirational Short film or Video - given by the Youth Jury (Ages 13 +)
Reel to Real International Film Festival for Youth and Families
March 1 to 4 2000, Vancouver - Canada