Blue Line

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: Documentary Short
GENRE: Documentary
STATUS: In Distribution


“Blue Line” chronicles a town's controversial and divisive decision to paint a blue line in support of the police on one of their busiest streets.


“Blue Line” chronicles a town's controversial decision to paint a blue line in support of police on one of their busiest streets and follows – against the national backdrop of the 2016 election and the ongoing police debate – the division that emerges between residents for and against the line.


“Blue Line” is largely inspired by my experience as a black woman who grew up in a predominately white town. As soon as I heard the story and the emerging controversy, I was compelled by not only the story itself, but also my position within it. My family, one of very few black families in Warwick, was first attracted by the visual beauty of the quaint town. At the same time, Warwick’s visual beauty was also evidence of its homogeny — as one of the subjects in “Blue Line” states, “you hardly ever see any minorities around”. In that sense, the aesthetics of Warwick drew my family in and made us feel at home while simultaneously ‘othering’ us. I’ve learned that this kind of visual contradiction is one familiar to other people of color in Warwick and towns like it, and it is the blueprint for the artistic approach of “Blue Line”. Warwick’s sublime visual beauty is intentional — carefully crafted in a way that seeks to give the town a utopic feel. But it was ironically another visual marker, in the form of a poorly drawn, stark blue line, that forced Warwick to contend with its own underlying issues. The blue line became a visual manifestation of everything that Warwick pushes under the rug. To this end, vivid imagery of Warwick’s picturesque, small-town, American charm – country roads, apple orchards, colonial-style buildings, farms, etc. – will be used in the film to embed the viewer in the setting and will underlie the idea that the town is, on the surface, an idyllic place that is well-loved by its residents. By juxtaposing this beautiful imagery with the stark contrast of the boldness of the blue line and the politics and divisiveness it represents, as well as the real contention and divide that erupts in the town, I’ll present the striking contradictions of the town and the unspoken tension that has bubbled underneath. As part of this approach, an important part of the visual language of “Blue Line” will be imagery of the blue line itself (in its varied forms), a visual manifestation of Warwick’s underlying tension. This imagery will act as a visual anchor in the film. Stylistic and varied shots of the line will punctuate emotional beats and serve as an important visual reminder of the line’s constant presence and the tension it represents. Shots of the blue line as the seasons change will mark the passage of time and changes to the line (from blue, to red-white-and-blue, and back to blue again) will punctuate important moments in the story. In this way, the blue line will have its own narrative arc, one that will, along with the visual elements indicated above, both trace and heighten the narrative arc of the film as a whole.


Samantha Knowles - Director/Producer/Editor
Samantha Knowles is a Brooklyn-based filmmaker. She was an associate producer on “Marathon: A Patriot's Day Bombing” for HBO, “Meru” (2015 Academy Award Shortlist, 2015 Sundance Film Festival), a line producer for “To Keep The Light”, and more. She also produced and directed the award-winning short documentary “Why Do You Have Black Dolls?”, which has been an official selection in numerous film festivals and has been featured in USA Today, the NY Daily News, Jet Magazine, the Huffington Post, the Grio, and She currently freelances as a producer in New York.

Jamie Li - Director of Photography
Jamie Li is a Brooklyn-based filmmaker. She has been the director of photography for the documentary “Why Do You Have Black Dolls?”; the 2012 Student Academy Award-winning documentary “Hiro: A Story of Japanese Internment”; and various sketch comedy videos. Jamie is the producer of “Ladypoints”, a documentary web series highlighting creative women. She is also a freelance camera assistant working on commercials, music videos, and feature films.


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