He Took His Skin Off For Meis an film adaptation of the original short story by award-winning writer Maria Hummer. Its vision of the skinless man as a twisted modern-day fairytale is powerful, evocative and beautiful. 

Think Margaret Atwood meets David Cronenberg. 

SYNOPSIS

The story of a man who takes his skin off for his girlfriend, and why it probably wasn't the best idea...

In this twisted modern-day fairy tale, a man removes his own skin for the woman he loves, believing it’s what she wants him to do. And she does… at first. But his action soon proves to have dire consequences. Small things, things like stains. Things they can handle. But before long it becomes clear their relationship will never be the same again…

DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT

This production has been a labor of love, the result of over fifteen months dedication. The first time I read Maria’s remarkable story I knew there was no turning back. It’s the kind of idea that grabs you by the back of the neck and doesn’t let go. Her unique voice demands your attention yet defies your expectation. I knew I had to make it into a film, I just didn’t know quite how yet.

In the end we had to build our own SFX department from the ground-up to bring the story to life. We were a truly independent production, raising the majority of our financing via Kickstarter after most deemed it too risky or too ambitious to pull off. The makeup achievements are the result of thousands of hours of exceptional craftsmanship and achieved entirely without CGI. It is, bizarrely, also a student production, being my own graduation film from the London Film School.

But at its heart it is a simple, tragic love story, grounded by the nuanced, powerful performances of Anna Maguire and Sebastian Armesto. The film demands you make sense of it; in constructing an interpretation you necessarily draw on your own life experience and, in a way, become a part of the story. The power of the allegory is how multifaceted it is. Every audience member has their own take; sympathies and meanings seem to go in almost all directions.

I don’t want to tell people what the film should be. Even finding a genre to describe it is difficult. I want people to come to this film just like I came to the original story, completely unprepared.

If I can leave with one pearl of wisdom, though; if you take off your skin just to be with somebody? That’s only ever going to end messy…

He Took His Skin Off For Me SFX

A PRACTICAL SFX FAIRYTALE

From the beginning we knew this film had to shot practically. The story required a tactile, real world quality that only physical makeup provides. The film is 100% in-camera; there is no CGI whatsoever. We began by reaching out to Colin Arthur (NeverEnding Story, 2001: A Space Odyssey) and with his help and guidance built our own independent team of sculptors, makeup artists and SFX newbies to make a man appear to have no skin.

Bringing this story to life was a monumental challenge. Our SFX Supervisor Jen Cardno took time away from the Royal College of Art to run the team. Given the resources available the quality and realism of her designs is unprecedented. The team spent over 8 weeks creating hundreds of individual muscle pieces specifically crafted for Sebastian’s body. Thousands of hours went into its creation. We have always said we needed to believe in the effect for the film to have any effect, and that gamble more than paid off.

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