If you are an Orillian, you might recognize the name DFF Productions Canada from the local hit documentary, Underground Orillia, still playing on Rogers TV and online on almost a daily basis.
Underground Orillia is a documentary on the famed tunnels of Orillia, wherein the DFF team interviewed local historians, and took the audience on an exploratory tour of some of the secret tunnels and underground spaces in the Sunshine City. It’s 45 minutes long and is an exciting and entertaining look at the dark spaces under our town.
DFF Productions has a new project in the can, a documentary called Coming Out Cops, finished in time for Pride month here in Ontario.
Produced in partnership with Serving With Pride (servingwithpride.ca), a non-profit police/community education organization, Coming Out Cops is the story of the Ontario queer police officers who have been excluded from the Ottawa and Toronto Pride events, told in their own words, but it goes even beyond that mandate.
DFF Productions Canada is a media production company based here in Orillia and owned by former Orillian Aaron Sheedy, and Orillian Shane Morrison. Sheedy is a former police officer and Morrison works with vulnerable local youth.
Coming Out Cops is a very different film from Underground Orillia.
Organized as a series of interviews with 2SLGB2Q+ officers and members of various organizations, as well as other community members, it takes a serious and unflinching look at the problems between police officers and diverse people, the problematic issue of police officers and their participation-or non-participation-in the Ottawa and Toronto Pride parades, and the personal conflict that happens when a person is 2SLGBTQ+ or racially diverse and is also a police officer.
“After Underground Orillia, we were presented with several projects to consider," said Sheedy. "The unique position that 2SLGBT police officers found themselves in, the crossroads between their communities and police services, presented the opportunity for some great stories.
“We started shooting in 2019 and filmed into 2021. The pandemic, the cancellation of the Pride parades and so forth changed the trajectory of the film, but the extra time allowed us to expand the scope of the movie and we were able to include input from several community members who really added good context to the material," he explained.
This is bold material, and DFF does not shy away from the different issues and points of view that this subject matter can encompass. In under 50 minutes, the film presents many different subjects, and their feelings and experiences around the issue.
“When you deal with contentious material, deeply personal and/or painful content it is sometimes hard to watch and sometimes people have strong reactions," said Sheedy.
"Coming Out Cops certainly draws a reaction to the material and that often depends on who is watching. Police officers react much differently than people from the greater queer community. Our goal was to entertain and inform, and we believe the movie does that,” he said.
Coming Out Cops will premiere on YouTube on June 26 at 7 p.m. Follow DFF Productions on Facebook to find the link to view.