Documentary explores Kingston crime & social media

Student film to screen at Kingston Canadian Film Festival

Still from Cam Barry’s documentary.
Credit: 
Photo supplied by Cam Barry

Crime updates via social media make for a thoroughly informed community—and a Queen’s student’s documentary aims to take it further. 

Set to air at the Kingston Canadian Film Festival, Cam Barry’s documentary The Thin Blue [On]line profiles Kingston police and their social media presence. 

Barry, ArtSci ’19, started his documentary as a school project but it quickly turned into a passion project with connections to his upbringing. 

“My dad’s in policing so I had that emotional connection to it. 

Coming to Kingston I noticed that one difference between my dad’s police service and the Kingston police service is that they have an extraordinary social media presence,” Barry told The Journal in an interview. 

Wanting to differentiate himself from other film students, Barry intentionally chose a subject that didn’t directly cover Queen’s campus.  

“I knew I wanted to break out of the Queen’s community and do a story on something else,” Barry said. “A lot of students use that as a crutch, doing a story on something at Queen’s because it’s easy to go—as a student—to another Queen’s area.”

Favouring a more challenging approach, his project spiralled into something far bigger than he anticipated. After following all of the Kingston Police department’s social media accounts, Barry began his research. 

He connected with one officer, Fil Wisniak, after Wisniak reached out to compliment Barry’s photo of a Kingston cop on a motorcycle. 

Using this new inside connection, Barry’s Twitter DM requesting contact info eventually turned into an interview with the inspector in charge of the Kingston Police media department and their entire media officer team, as well as the chance to go onthree ride-alongs. 

“I liked the challenge of it and wanted to see if it was do-able. I thought it was a story I could tell and that it would help my career moving forward,” Barry said. 

Barry’s film has already been viewed at the Durham Region International Film Festival, and is set to appear in two more: the Kingston Canadian Film Festival and the Belleville Downtown Doc Fest, both in the first weekend of March. 

For the Durham Region International Film Festival airing of his documentary, Barry wasn’t able to attend as it was scheduled during Queen’s Homecoming.

When Barry isn’t working on his film thesis, he works on the television show, Canadian Tradition, a hunting and fishing outdoor adventure show. 

He’s the show’s director of photography and is set to sign a contract to work on the entirety of their next season, the 11th in the show’s history. 

“I got to do some cool things at the tail-end of season 10 like go to Alberta and film three episodes there, and spend a lot of time in Ontario hunting white-tail and ducks in the late season in December,” Barry said. 

He’s also working from his apartment to cut episodes together—all while being a fourth-year film student. 

To go to Alberta, Barry had to “do a lot of begging,” but in the end, his film profs couldn’t deny that this was an incredible opportunity for him to get experience in the industry. 

With his Kingston police social media documentary, Canadian Tradition photography and episode cutting, and his thesis documentary on the way, Barry’s making strides to achieve his dream of a career in film. 

As Barry himself said, “All the stars aligned.” 

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.