Colour Blind (2009 film)

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Colour Blind
Robert Cavanah in Golliwog Make-up - Colour Blind 2009.jpg
Directed by Amanda Baker
Produced by Paul Atherton
Screenplay by Morag McInnes
Story by Amanda Baker
Starring Wil Johnson
Robert Cavanah
Music by Damian Coldwell
Cinematography Director of Photography:
Colin Clarke
Dirk van der Velden
Edited by Ralston Humble
Distributed by Simple (TV) Productions
Release date
United Kingdom 24 March 2009
Running time
11 mins
Country United Kingdom
Language English

Colour Blind is a 2009 short film about racism, intended to bring attention to a UK audience of the dangers of seeing racism everywhere. The film stars Wil Johnson and Robert Cavanah. The premise of the film is based on the suggestion that "white people often never see skin colour, but black people always do".

Colour Blind had its official press screening at the Odeon Leicester Square on Monday 23 March 2009[1] and its UK premiere at the British Urban Film Festival on Saturday 3 October 2009 at Oxford House Cinema Bethnal Green London.[2]


Through a chance encounter, two men meet through a mutual friend, Peter, who is arriving late for their meeting. John (Robert Cavanah) is a white British liberal who does not have any black friends, and Dan (Wil Johnson) is a black Briton who understands that he lives in a white society and needs to engage with it to succeed.

The film initially follows the viewpoint of John, showing how cultural references and shared experiences impact on how he sees Dan's skin colour. Through a mundane conversation about work, girlfriends and friendships John gradually watches Dan's skin colour go from a dark black to almost white, as he discovers that they have a lot in common. By the end of the film John is no longer conscious of Dan's skin colour.

The film then switches to Dan's perspective, where John is shown in Golliwog make-up, blackface and frizzy wig, speaking in what the makers of the film refer to as "wigger" – a white person's appropriated use of black language and mannerisms. Dan sees white men as constantly parodying his race.


According to its producer, the objective of the film was to prompt an informed debate about race. The implication that black people were as racist, if not more so, than white people in Britain was intended to be a spark for serious debate around the United Kingdom.[3]


The film was written by Amanda Baker, who has written and directed with a number of stand-up comedians including Reginald D Hunter. The producer, Paul Atherton, made the decision to have the white lead in (blackface make-up) to make the point in stark contrast to his contemporaries who preferred to avoid the controversy.[4]

During pre-production of the film on 3 February 2009 Carol Thatcher referred to a black[5] tennis player at the 2009 Australian Open, reportedly Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, as a "golliwog".[6] The subsequent debates surrounding the issue prompted Producer Paul Atherton to change the make-up in Colour Blind from blackface to full Golliwog makeup, to further underline and show how current and important the point the film is making.

The film was shot entirely on location in London.[7]


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