Black Sheep: the black teenager who made friends with racists
Everything changed for Cornelius Walker on 27 November 2000 when Damilola Taylor was killed. The pair lived five minutes apart and, like Damilola, Cornelius is black and was just 11 years old. Scared for her son’s safety, Cornelius’s mother moved the family out of London after Damilola’s death and Cornelius found himself living on a housing estate run by racists.
Rather than fight back, Cornelius decided to become more like the people who hated him. They eventually became his family and kept him safe; in return, Cornelius was submerged in a culture of hatred. However, as the racist violence continued, Cornelius struggled to marry his ethnicity with his new identity.
Black Sheep is produced and co-funded by Lightbox in collaboration with The Filmmaker Fund.
Its director, Ed Perkins, is a Grierson award-winning documentary maker who lives and works in London. The film is co-produced by Simon Chinn, a double Academy award-winning producer responsible for various successful feature documentaries, and Jonathan Chinn, an Emmy award-winning non-fiction TV producer and show runner.
Read more about Cornelius’ journey in this Weekend Magazine article and listen to his story of what happened next on our Doc Tales podcast.
Coming up: Skip Day
Skip Day offers an intimate glimpse of a very special day in the lives of high-school seniors from an industrial corner of the Florida Everglades. Prom is over, the future is uncertain and the irresistible pull of the beach makes the longtime friends drive 60 miles to chill, pose and revel in the waves. Out on 23 November.
Coming up in Audio: Maybe Baby
In a new Guardian audio documentary, Maybe Baby, Leah Green asks what happens when you’re stuck on whether to become a parent or not. Leah, who is on the fence herself, speaks to women who share her dilemma, parents with ‘nightmare’ children, a ‘maybe baby’ life coach and her own mother. She asks how people grapple with the threats of regret, loss and the unknown while you make the biggest decision of your life. Out 13 November
See our films on the big screen in LA and San Francisco
We’re coming to the west coast! You can see Black Sheep, Skip Day and Little Pyongyang, with the filmmakers in attendance alongside myself, at the Museum of Tolerance in LA on Thursday 1 November. To book free tickets for the screening, which takes place at 7.30pm, email email@example.com
Or if you’re in San Francisco you can see Skip Day and Little Pyongyang on Saturday 3 November at the Doc Stories event – book here.
Our documentary recommendations at the cinema and on demand
A key release at cinemas nationwide is Fahrenheit 11/9, Michael Moore’s hard-hitting documentary on the rise of Donald Trump. With fewer pranks than his recent work, the film is an angry polemic that places the blame for Trump’s ascent on the complacent Democratic party and the US right. Released to coincide with the midterm elections, Fahrenheit 11/9 is one of this year’s most important and surprising films.
This weekend, Dochouse cinema in London is hosting films from Canada’s brilliant HotDocs festival. A highlight is The Silence of Others, which follows the fight for justice by victims of Spain’s 40-year dictatorship under General Franco. Filmed over six years, the film follows survivors as they fight a state-imposed amnesia of crimes against humanity, and explores a country still divided four decades into democracy. It’s a likely Oscars contender.
Also recommended at Dochouse are Worlds of Ursula K LeGuin, a film about the feminist sci-fi writer that will satisfy LeGuin enthusiasts and newcomers alike, and the experimental and challenging Black Mother, in which Khalik Allah takes viewers on a spiritual exploration of Jamaica.
On demand, the big series release is the sequel to Making a Murderer. Also on Netflix is Sandi Tan’s Shirkers, one of my favourite films of the year, about Singapore’s only independent 90s movie. It’s a fun must-watch for any lover of teen cinema.