Out of a crowd of ten thousand, four people were singled out and put on trial for the toppling of the statue of slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol during a Black Lives Matter march. They came to be known as The Colston Four.

Widely praised and lauded by the many citizens of Bristol who had campaigned for the statue’s removal for decades, and condemned by government officials, the actions of The Colston Four sparked a polarising debate around race, equality and the celebration of problematic historical figures.

This film features exclusive interviews with the defendants and legal team, offering a glimpse at the people behind the headlines, as a 19 month long trial draws to a close.

Director’s Vision

I wanted to do something to support the four people on trial. It’s such a ridiculous idea to me that anyone should be prosecuted for the removal of such an offensive statue, but it’s even more ridiculous that the statue was still standing in 2020, and that the citizens of Bristol had to literally take matters into their own hands. The ensuing court case, and the politics behind it is really interesting, and is sadly another example of how ingrained racism is in our society.

The Colston Four is a follow-up to my 2020 documentary The Felling of Colston, which documented the events of the Colston toppling and the impact on the local community as well as globally, with other statues and monuments of problematic historical figures being re-evaluated or torn down. A year and half after the toppling, I felt that my original film was only half the story. So revisiting it seemed essential.