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

Colour Blind is a 2009 film depicting racism.

In February 2009 shooting was completed with Wil Johnson (BBC star of Waking the Dead), Marcus Quigley and Robert Cavanah (Tomb Raider / Sahara) on a short film entitled Colour Blind to bring attention to a UK audience of the dangers of seeing racism everywhere.

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].


The premise of the film is based on the statement that "White people often never see skin colour, but Black people always do".

Through a chance encounter, two men meet through a mutual friend, Peter, who is arriving late for their meeting.

John (played by Robert Cavanah) is a white British liberal who would have a Black friend if he knew any and Dan (played by Wil Johnson) is a Black Briton who understands he lives in a White Society and needs to engage with it to succeed.

After being introduced to both characters the film unfolds through the eyes of John and we see 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 Idi Amin Black to almost white, as he discovers that they have a lot in common.

By the end of the film John, doesn't even think about Dan's skin colour.

In stark contrast, when the audience is shown the world through Dan's eyes, John is shown in Golliwog make-up, Blackface and frizzy wig speaking in what the makers of the film refer to as Wigger (White Nigger as in the type of speech Sascha Baron Cohen's Character Ali G uses).

Representing that Dan sees white men as constantly parodying his race and eternally racist.

The objective of the film was to prompt an informed debate about race. The makers felt that any mention of race in the current political climate is festooned with political correctness and therefore unhelpful in dealing with the real issues that are impacting on the UK today.

The implication that Black people were as racist, if not more so, than White people in Britain was designed to be the spark for serious debate around the UK[3].


Wil Johnson - Dan
Robert Cavanah - John


Written by Amanda Baker (who has written and directed with a number of stand-up comedians including Reginald D Hunter) the film is clearly designed to get audiences thinking about skin colour and placing themselves in each others' shoes.

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]

Ironically during pre-production of the film on 3 February 2009 Carol Thatcher (daughter of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher) during the 2009 Australian Open, in a conversation in the show's green room, referred to a black[5] tennis player, reportedly Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, as a golliwog.[6] According to The Times, Thatcher called Tsonga "half-golliwog" and "the golliwog Frog" the subsequent debates surrounding the issue prompted Producer Paul Atherton to change the make-up in Colour Blind from Black Face to Golliwog to further underline and show how current and important the point the film is making.

Filming Locations

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

Technical Information

The film was shot by Dutchman Dirk Van Der Velden on the Sony HDW-750P High Definition HDCAM Camera. Lighting was done by Colin Clarke, a veteran of many documentary and drama shoots around the globe. The lighting equipment used was a 3KW dimmable "Novalight" (now no longer in production), as well as a 1KW ARRILITE Redhead with a Chimera Softbox as well as three Dedolights and the practicals on set.

Colour Blind was edited at PabloPost at Pinewood Studios. Editor, Ralston Humble, developed an entirely new way to produce the special effect of Dan's changing skin colour by using Rotoscoping and Color grading and layering them on to the original film to get the final result [8]


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