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Second Skin: A 15 min short film exploring issues of identity and self image across generations of women.
35 backers pledged £5,111 to help bring this project to life.

About

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WHAT IS THE FILM ABOUT?  

The film is set a few decades in the future, where cosmetic surgery is an everyday norm.  Psychological issues are tackled by changing the body and face - seven women of different generations, from teenager to older age, choose to change their image in an attempt to solve their life problems. The film explores the impact of social media on the mental health of the millennial generation and generations to come. 

In a world where one of the biggest sources of pressure on people stems from their image and the use of social media - we hypothesise what will happen if this continues. How will our long term mental health be affected?  

Each women speaks alone (in monologue), about the decision that they have already taken to change their faces through cosmetic surgery. The words they speak explore issues of identity, how they feel defined by the people in their lives and ultimately by themselves. The women are met in through the course of a single day. They are not connected except in the brutal honesty with which they speak.

We are proud to be supporting the charity RETHINK MENTAL ILLNESS. A charity that improves the lives of people severely affected by mental illness through local groups and services, expert information, and successful campaigning. After the Kickstarter campaign has ended, a portion of any profits will be donated to the charity, we will be holding collections at screenings and we will be working with them on outreach. No funds raised through Kickstarter will be donated.

We are thrilled to be a current recipient of the GENERA FILM FUND.

​​WHY NOW? 

In a world governed by 24h news, social media and driving internet hit rates, one cannot escape the idea of who you are ‘meant’ to be, what you are ‘meant’ to look like. It is not surprising that an increasing amount of people are opting for cosmetic surgery. In 2017, 17.5 million individuals underwent cosmetic procedures in the United States alone - an increase of almost a third since 2007.  

With cosmetic surgery being ever more advanced, accessible and affordable we must think about what motivations people have to opt for cosmetic procedures and the impact on the recipient’s mental health. Be that the trauma of the procedure itself, or a loss of identity by changing ones face. In recent press coverage, scientists have expressed concerns that photo-editing technology has resulted in a new mental illness named ‘Snapchat dysmorphia’ - how people, especially young women, are seeking surgery to help them appear as the filtered versions of themselves.  Increasingly in cosmetic surgery consultations, the prospective patient is presenting a filtered image of themselves which they want the surgeon to replicate. 

“Surgery changes one forever, the mind as well as the body. If we don't start to speak of it as serious, the millennium of the man-made woman will be upon us, and we will have had no choice.”  

- Naomi Wolf - The Beauty Myth

REFERENCES

Just a few of the influences on the project: 

 • Persona ( Ingmar Bergman) • Carol (Todd Haynes) • Black Mirror (Charlie Brooker) • Loveless (Andrey Zvyagintsev) • House of Others (Rusudan Glurjidze)

CAST

We are thrilled to introduce the actors currently attached to the project.

Olivier award winner and BAFTA nominee Sheila Hancock will lead the cast. She is joined by Priyanga Burford (currently starring in Mike Bartlett's BBC Drama 'Press') and Holby City's Eleanor Fanyinka. The Olivier award nominee Wendy Morgan (Yanks, Jewel in The Crown), Tanya Reynolds (Delicious, Fanny Lye Deliver'd) and Maria Austin (Mercy, Borstel). The cast will be completed by a yet to be cast teenage girl.

DIRECTOR'S STATEMENT 

The film will be shot largely in closeup and focus on the power of a person's face to tell a story. The style of the film is direct and unapologetic in it's confrontation of the relationship that we have with our own image. It is human nature to brush off whatever makes us uncomfortable, we refuse to look ourselves full in the face on a day to day basis. In this film we acknowledge and explore the significance of how the face, as a map, tells a life story.  

The fact that the faces are female will allow men and women alike to re-evaluate the damage that we are at the moment doing to one another. The female face has always been a place of drama. Gender has played a part in all my work and my belief is that theatre has the unique ability to talk beyond the walls of gender. This is something I find is often missing in the medium of film and would like to confront in ‘Second Skin.’  

The shift into film for me is natural. This is the first project that brings home to me the full potential to speak through my skills and to deal with a subject that is at the apex of its relevancy. The piece that Maud has written is in monologue form which is natural for me. I would like to bring my filmic approach to theatre full cycle, moving into film so that I can fully explore the power of the individual. I have spent the last few years exploring the actor pure and simple. There is nothing more compelling than film acknowledging the power of the actor and stillness.  

There will be a simplicity (and brutality) to each shot. A sense of death, and renewal. Of metamorphosis. Each woman is rebuilding, and I am not morally judging the decision. The body is under scrutiny, and we are responding as if caught naked. I have perceived the colour and feel of the film to be set in the least poetic end of the autumn. The face mirrored by the faded urban reality of the world around. 

THE TEAM 

James Kerr: Director

James trained at the National Theatre Studio and LAMDA; his major work includes: DARKER FACE OF THE EARTH at the Royal National Theatre; MORPHIC RESONANCE, Donmar Warehouse; THE RECRUITING OFFICER, Chichester Festival Theatre; CLOSING TIME, the National Theatre; PRESENCE, the Royal Court Theatre; PROMETHEUS BOUND, Classic Stage Company, New York. James is an award-winning theatre director. His directing credits have seen him working extensively with the NATIONAL THEATRE, ROYAL COURT, DONMAR WAREHOUSE and NATIONAL THEATRE STUDIO in the UK, EUROPE and USA. He has worked with Benedict Cumberbatch, Hayley Atwell and David Oyelowo, to name a few. SECOND SKIN will be James’ film debut from theatre.

Maud Dromgoole: Writer

Maud graduated from Cambridge University in 2012. Her play ACORN was produced at the Courtyard Theatre where it received two Offie (Off West End) theatre award nominations. ACORN was shortlisted for BBC Writers Room 2017. For radio, she is writing and developing her own drama podcast POCKET PLAYS and is completing a trial with BBC Radio 4’s THE ARCHERS. She is currently developing her first sitcom pilot and has a couple of short films in various stages of development. Maud is represented by BERLIN ASSOCIATES, one of the UK’s leading film, television and theatre agencies. SECOND SKIN will be Mauds’ film debut.

Charlotte Arden: Producer   (Gizmo Films)  

Charlotte has extensive experience within the film industry including; development, production, marketing and raising investment. Most recently she exec’ produced, raising a significant amount of private equity, on the feature film FUNNY COW, which premiered at the BFI LONDON FILM FESTIVAL 2017, released with global distributors ENTERTAINMENT ONE, April 2018. Recent projects includes the Bill Wyman feature documentary, THE QUIET ONE, with IFC FILMS/ SUNDANCE SELECTS distributing in North America, and SURVIVING CHRISTMAS directed by James Dearden (Fatal Attraction) starring Patricia Hodge, James Fox, Gemma Wheelan, Ronni Ancona, Sally Philips and Julian Ovenden. She has several projects in development and recently set up a networking/panel event with an emphasis on emerging talent/underrepresented groups within the industry.

Maria Austin: Producer/Actor

Maria originated the concept of Second Skin with James Kerr and Maud Dromgoole. She trained as an Actor at The Lee Strasberg Institute and has worked in film, television and theatre since graduating in 2014. She played the lead role in Wendy Morgan’s feature film, MERCY. Maria works with Charlotte on a networking/panellist event at The Groucho Club. Second Skin is her first role as a producer. 

Nainita Desai: Composer

Working at the forefront of a new wave of emerging artists, Nainita is a BAFTA BREAKTHROUGH BRIT 2016-17 and has written the scores for numerous BAFTA, Oscar, Emmy award winning/nominated Film & TV series through her company, Soundology and working with the major broadcasters from BBC to HBO to ITV and C4. She recently scored two features; the BFI psychological horror DARKNESS VISIBLE (Dir: Neil Biswas, co-creator of SKY1’s Lucky Man), and WW2 thriller NI’IHAU, filmed at PINEWOOD MALAYSIA and recently completed three BBC series currently on BBC Iplayer - EXTRAORDINARY RITUALS, MY ASIAN FAMILY - THE MUSICAL and SEARCHING FOR MUM.

Laura Bellingham: Cinematographer

Laura was recently named in the BFI’s 2018 International Women’s Day: 17 FEMALE CINEMATOGRAPHERS TO CELEBRATE. She is currently prepping for Romola Garai’s directorial debut OUTSIDE.  Since graduating with a masters from NFTS, Laura has built her career shooting short films, including Louise Marie Cook’s atmospheric Siren, nominated for best cinematography at the 2015 Underwire Festival. Laura made her feature DP debut with 2017 horror comedy DOUBLE DATE. She has just completed work on the FILM LONDON/BFI/BBC Films dystopian thriller ZERO. Her work has been screened at many international film festivals including Berlin, BFI London, SXSW and Los Angeles. 

Anna Jancsó: Line Producer

Anna has extensive experience in television & film in UK, Europe and Latin America. She worked for over a decade in documentary production, with her films being broadcast on ARTE, ZDF, MEZZO. Now based in London, primarily working on fiction, Anna works as an independent producer as well as collaborating with Christopher Shepherd, Adventure Pictures, on a number of projects for Writer/ Director Sally Potter. Anna is also an experienced line producer and production manager. Credits include; FILM LONDON/BFI/BBC Films feature ZERO by writer-director Faye Gilbert and producer Yaw Basoah, dance-drama MARI by Georgia Parris and producer Emma Duffy. Anna was also in charge of production on Jim Sheridan’s 11TH HOUR, starring Salma Hayek.

Nour Wazzi: 1st Assistant Director

Tipped as a future star on BBC'S 2017 EMERGING TALENT HOTLIST, JBA awardee Nour has collaborated on a number of award- winning features (e.g. Oscar nominee and Sundance winner, WASTELAND, TV pilots, commercials, branded content and over 50 shorts over the last 14 years as Director, 1st Assistant Director, Producer and Executive Producer. As a filmmaker, she directed on the BBC mini- series THE BREAK, co-wrote, produced/ directed the DFI-backed short thriller BABY MINE, starring Alexander Siddig (‘Game of Thrones’) and the sci-fi thriller LAB RAT. Other award-winning shorts include; the FILM LONDON backed UP ON THE ROOF, starring Maisie Williams and SHACKLED, starring Emilia Clarke.

GIZMO FILMS

GIZMO FILMS is an established UK based film production company with a number of current projects in production and development as well as diverse back catalogue of completed productions. Previously specialising in documentaries for TV working with the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Discovery, in 2012 they moved into producing and financing feature films for theatrical, VOD and TV release worldwide. Distributors/ broadcasters include: SKY, IFC FiLMS, SUNDANCE SELECTS, ENTERTAINMENT ONE, AMAZON VIDEO, BFI PLAYER, CURZON HOME CINEMA, RAKUTEN, VIRGIN MEDIA, GOOGLE PLAY and SAMUEL GOLDWYN FILMS.  

Recent films include; MAD TO BE NORMAL (David Tennant, Elisabeth Moss, Michael Gambon, Gabriel Byrne) and FUNNY COW (Maxine Peake, Paddy Considine, Alun Armstrong), which premiered at the BFI London Film Festival 2017 and released by Entertainment One (eOne) in April 2018. Their current slate includes THE QUIET ONE a feature documentary on the life and times of Rolling Stones former founding member, Bill Wyman, which has pre-sold to IFC FILMS/SUNDANCE SELECTS in North America, and the family comedy SURVIVING CHRISTMAS, co-produced with Studio Soho and directed by James Dearden (Fatal Attraction) - starring James Fox, Joely Richardson, Julian Ovenden, Patricia Hodge, Gemma Whelan, Ronni Ancona and Sally Phillips. Both films begin release at the end of this year.

BUDGET 

Through our Kickstarter campaign we are attempting to raise 20% of our total budget. We are intending to raise the rest of the budget through a combination of UK tax credit, private donations and public film funds. 

The funds raised through Kickstarter will go towards paying the cast, travel costs, production insurance and the additional kit that we need. 

The money that we raise here is really vital to the project. 

Risks and challenges

With an experienced team we are anticipating that the shoot runs smoothly. However, in case of any unforseen circumstance or hindrance we have factored in a 5% contingency to our budget.

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Funding period

- (40 days)