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Colour Blind (film)

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Colour Blind
File:Robert Cavanah in Golliwog Make-up - Colour Blind 2009.jpg
Directed byAmanda Baker
Produced byPaul Atherton
Screenplay byMorag McInnes
Story byAmanda Baker
StarringWil Johnson
Robert Cavanah
Music byDamian Coldwell
CinematographyDirector of Photography:
Colin Clarke
Dirk van der Velden
Edited byRalston Humble
Distributed bySimple (TV) Productions
Release date
United Kingdom 24 March 2009
Running time
11 mins
CountryUnited Kingdom

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Colour Blind is a 2009 short film starring 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".[citation needed]

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.


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.[3]

During pre-production of the film on 3 February 2009 Carol Thatcher referred to a black[4] tennis player at the 2009 Australian Open, reportedly Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, as a "golliwog".[5] The subsequent debates surrounding the issue prompted Producer Paul Atherton to change the make-up in Colour Blind from blackface to full Golliwog makeup.[citation needed]

The film was shot entirely on location in The Bull Pub in the City of London.[6]


  1. "Rani's Report". ranisingh.blogspot.com.
  3. "What would Mammy say? Actor to play Al Jolson without blacking up". The Independent.
  4. "BBC NEWS - Entertainment - Thatcher axed by BBC's One Show". bbc.co.uk.
  5. Anita Singh, Showbusiness Editor (4 February 2009). "Carol Thatcher 'golliwog' jibe referred to black tennis player Jo-Wilfried Tsonga". Telegraph.co.uk.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  6. "BFBS Radio Sitrep". libsyn.com.

External links[edit]

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