BLACK SHEEP tells the story of Cornelius Walker, whose life changed on 27 November 2000 - the day Damilola Taylor was killed. Damilola was ten, the same age as Cornelius. He lived five minutes away. He had the same skin colour. Cornelius’s mother, scared for her son’s safety, moved their family out of London. Cornelius suddenly found himself living on a white estate run by racists. But rather than fight them, Cornelius decided to become more like the people who hated him. They became his family and kept him safe.

And in return, Cornelius became submerged in a culture of violence and hatred. But as the violence and racism against other black people continued, Cornelius struggled to marry his real identity with the one he had acquired. Filmed with non-actors in locations where the real events took place 15 years ago, BLACK SHEEP blurs the boundaries between documentary and fiction to pose difficult and highly topical questions about race and identity. Who decides what makes us who we are? And what compromises are we prepared to make in order to fit in?

Director's Biography

Ed Perkins is a 2015 BAFTA Breakthrough Brit.
After directing the behind-the-scenes documentaries for THE IMPOSTER, PROJECT NIM and SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN, Ed made his debut feature documentary GARNET’S GOLD, winning a Grierson Award for Best Newcomer. Since then has has directed BARE KNUCKLE FIGHT CLUB and numerous short films including BLACK SHEEP which has won ten international awards. He is currently directing his second feature documentary.


How long did it take to make your short? Was it difficult to get financing?
BLACK SHEEP took us around 6 months to make. Those 6 months included two days of master interviews and 4 days filming back in the town where the real events happened. When it came to funding, we were very fortunate. We pitched the idea to The Guardian, and they pretty much immediately commissioned the film. The production company I very proudly work with - Lightbox - also co-financed the film. Their support and guidance throughout has been absolutely invaluable and this film has been an amazingly collaborative process.

Which thoughts come to mind concerning a “European cinema community”?
A rich and energetic community of filmmakers who are willing to take risks and push the traditional boundaries of genre amd form.

If you owned a theatre for one night, which films would you screen?
WITHNAIL & I by Bruce Robinson, MAN ON WIRE by James Marsh, CLOSE-UP by Abbas Kiarostami and THE WHITE DIAMOND by Werner Herzog.

What is your next project?
I am currently directing a feature documentary for Netflix.

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Ed Perkins

Produced by: Simon Chinn, Jonathan Chinn

Cinematography: Michael Paleodimos

Editing: Ed Perkins

Production Design: Guy Thompson

Costume Design: Sharon Long

Make-Up & Hair: Monika Swiatek

Original Score: Tom Barnes

Sound: Paddy Boland

Nominations and Awards

  • Short Film Candidates 2019