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For more than a century, African American artists, authors, musicians and others have traveled to Paris to liberate themselves from the racism of the United States. What made these African Americans choose France? Why were the French fascinated by African Americans? And to what extent was and is France truly colorblind? Alan Govenar’s new documentary investigates these questions and examines the ways that racism has plagued not only Blacks fleeing the United States, but Africans and people of color in France today. The film explores the lives and careers of renowned African Americans who emigrated to Paris, including Josephine Baker, James Baldwin, Richard Wright, Beauford Delaney, Augusta Savage, Barbara Chase-Riboud, and Lois Mailou Jones, and includes rare home movie footage of Henry Ossawa Tanner in Paris. Myth of a Colorblind France features interviews with Michel Fabre (author of a landmark biography on Richard Wright), psychoanalyst and jazz aficionado Francis Hofstein, poet James Emanuel, historian Tyler Stovall, filmmaker Thomas Allen Harris, graffiti artist Quik, hip hop producer Ben the Glorious Bastard, African drummer Karim Toure, and many more.

Photo Credits:

Graffiti artist QUIK, Paris, 2015. Photograph by Alan Govenar

Author James Baldwin, 1969. Photograph by Allan Warren

  • Year
  • Runtime
    86 min
  • Language
  • Country
    United States
  • Rating
    Not Rated
  • Director
    Alan Govenar
  • Screenwriter
    Alan Govenar, Jason Johnson-Spinos
  • Producer
    Documentary Arts
  • Cast
    Akin Babatundé, Monique Y. Wells, Tyler Stovall, Michel Fabre, Thomas Allen Harris, Jake Lamar, James Emanuel, Chansse Evans, Joseph Langley, Barbara Chase-Riboud, Dan Morgenstern, George Wein, Marie-France Plassard, Francis Hofstein, Paul Oliver, Chaz Guest, Michael Rosenfeld, William T. Williams, Gregory Masurovsky, Geneviève Fabre, Ben the Glorious Bastard, Karim Touré
  • Cinematographer
    Didier Dahan, Robert Tullier
  • Editor
    Jason Johnson-Spinos