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Seize the clay with The Colour Room and DP Denson Baker AC NZCS

February 21, 2022

The Colour Room, showing on Sky Cinema, is a British drama film that explores the life of renowned ceramicist and feminist icon, Clarice Cliff, during the 1920s. Tracing her origins as a working-class factory girl to celebrated ceramics designer, the film depicts how Cliff (Phoebe Dynevor) revolutionised the pottery industry, introducing colourful and unique art-deco style patterns into her work. The Colour Room intertwines the greyness of industrial factories with the vibrancy that typified her work, with the deployment of colour in the visual storytelling also used to subtly echo the rise of feminism and the shift away from a male-dominated traditional past towards a brighter future.

Directed by Claire McCarthy and written by Claire Peate, The Colour Room was shot by McCarthy’s partner and frequent collaborator DP Denson Baker ACS NZCS. The Colour Room marks their third feature film together, starting with The Waiting City (2009) and followed by Ophelia (2018). They have also collaborated on a number of music videos, short films, as well as the acclaimed TV series The Luminaries (2020) and Domina (2021).

“One of the first things we said about The Colour Room was that we didn’t strictly want it to be a biopic, but a little slice of this artist’s life,” says Baker. “We wanted to incorporate Clarice’s art, her style and her colour palette, into the visual style, but did not want to make a dusty, musty period film, which it could very easily have been as it’s set in The Potteries in the Midlands during the 1920s.”