Shaun M. Mathis’s emotionally gripping film ColorBlind has been named the first place winner in JARO’s PVIFF Short Film Competition! Winners were announced Sunday, November 1st on pviffatl.com.
The 20-minute drama centers on Mark, a white police officer who is plagued by guilt and remorse after he mistakenly kills an unarmed Black teenage boy. In recent years, there have been a copious amount of films portraying the deep injustice of Black people murdered by the American police force, but Mathis’s ColorBlind explores this disheartening yet highly pertinent subject with an unnerving twist that takes an already agonizing situation multiple steps further. Spoilers ahead.
In ColorBlind, questions are raised about implicit biases. Mark, a man who found his blatantly racist co-worker absolutely despicable, allowed his deep-seated subconscious fears to take the life of Donovan, an innocent 17-year-old. However, there’s much more to this story. In the beginning, it is hinted that Mark is married to a Black woman, who has kicked him out after hearing the tragic news. We watch a tormented Mark attempt to drown his demons with hard liquor, while simultaneously seeing another kind of torment through the inconsolable grief of Donovan’s mother, Lynda. While it wasn’t particularly difficult to predict that Mark and Lynda’s stories were somehow intertwined, the reveal that the two are married creates a baffling turn of events as we realize that Mark unwittingly murdered his own stepson. The couple reunites at the end of the film, and Lynda has chosen to forgive Mark, which may seem rather inconceivable. With ColorBlind, one begins to ponder on the power of forgiveness, on the weight that mistakes hold, and what it means to confront our shadow selves and admit that we all have vices––but they don’t make us inherently bad.
ColorBlind is written and directed by Shaun M. Mathis. Executive producers include George Cash Boykin, Justin Toulon, Shaun M. Mathis, and Qulanda R. Moore. The film stars Bryan Terry Snell, Tarnesha Small, Chris Baker, and Topher Fredd.