LOG LINE The story of a man who takes his skin off for his girlfriend, and why it probably wasn't the best idea... SYNOPSIS 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…
‘He Took His Skin Off For Me’ is an adaptation of the original flash-‐fiction story by award-‐winning writer Maria Hummer. Its vision of the skinless man as a twisted piece of domestic magical-‐realism is powerful, evocative and beautiful. Think Margaret Atwood meets David Cronenberg.
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 female 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…
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. Bringing this story to life was a monumental challenge. 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. Jen Cardno took time away from the Royal College of Art to run the team as SFX Supervisor. 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.
Above: Early test work on a skinless arm
Below: Face pieces dry in the sun
Above: Sebastian bust map
Left: Sebastian has a moment with himself…
Right: Colin Arthur (NeverEnding Story) helps chisel the face bust
Left: the body map comes to life
SEBASTIAN ARMESTO as HIM Sebastian is an English film, television and theatre actor known for Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011), Marie Antoinette (2006) and for playing the poet and playwright Ben Jonson in Roland Emmerich’s Anonymous (2011). Armesto has acted in high-‐profile theatre productions in Britain, including three shows at the National Theatre and one at the Royal Court. He is currently starring as Edgar opposite Frank Langella in King Lear. He also writes and directs theatre with company Simple 8. Most recently, he co-‐wrote and directed a play based on William Hogarth's The Four Stages of Cruelty and new versions of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and Moby-‐Dick.
ANNA MACGUIRE as HER Anna Maguire started her career in Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan. This basically meant that she was hooked and would never be free of the world of film. She continued to act as a child and teenager in her school holidays, appearing in various film, TV and theatre roles, including work for 20th Century Fox, Hallmark, the BBC and the Almeida Theatre in London. After taking a sabbatical to study English Literature at Cambridge University she has returned to acting, appearing in The Hour (BBC) and Parade’s End (HBO) as well as performing in various stage roles. She has also started making her own films, the first of which, Don’t forget your mittens, premiered at The London Short Film Festival in 2014.
CREW BEN ASTON – Director
Ben is a 27-‐year-‐old London born filmmaker, raised in Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Australia and Bath. After graduating with a BA in Philosophy from Kings College London, he moved on to the London Film School; this will be his graduation film. His last film ‘Dinner and a Movie’ was officially selected for the Palm Springs Shortfest 2013, the London Short Film Festival 2013 and the Edinburgh Film Festival 2013 which named him a 'British director of tomorrow'.
FIONA LAMPTEY - Producer Fiona is a skilled Production Finance Manager with 8 solid years of experience. She joined Channel 4 in 2004 and currently works for their feature film division, Film4. Her credits include films like 'Attack the Block', 'Four Lions' and 'Submarine'. Fiona has produced two short films: 'The Prayer' by Shola Amoo and Nosa Nedion and 'Close' by Geoffrey Taylor.
MARIA HUMMER - Writer Maria Hummer was born and raised in Toledo, OH, has lived in Seoul, Korea and currently resides in London. She has a BFA in Creative Writing and an MA in Screenwriting. She is a jack of all trades, having worked as a professional taste tester, youth hostel manager, development editor and British-‐American translator (yes, that's a thing apparently). This is her second collaboration with Ben Aston after ‘Dinner and a Movie’. In addition to working on short and feature film projects she has a flourishing fiction career, with five short stories accepted for publication this quarter alone. She is currently working on her first novel.
JEN CARDNO – SFX Supervisor Jen spent her formative years scrabbling around in the dirt collecting insects, and not an awful lot has changed. After finishing her two-‐year Fine Art National Diploma with a Triple Award Distinction, she went on to study illustration at the UWE. Experimenting with modelmaking and animation at the end of the third year, she graduated suddenly in 2008, and went straight into work at Bolex Brothers Studios. After freelancing at SFX and prop houses for a few years, she decided she wanted a master's degree, and is currently half way through an MA in animation at the Royal College of Art, London.
YIANNIS MANOLOPOULOS – Cinematographer
Yiannis studied Philosophy, Economics and Project Management before realising he had to make films instead. He hasn't stopped doing so since and does not intend to. Yiannis studied at the London Film School, specialising in cinematography. Since then he has been involved in numerous student and professional productions with his newly founded company Filmstead, in the effort to grow as a cinematographer and do what he does best, sharing stories through the creation of cinematic images.
Reza Jouze – Editor
Reza was a stage actor and director in Iran, before settling in the UK. He has acted in more than 20 stage plays and has directed 5. He has twice won the best Theatre Actor of the year award in Iran. After moving to London he entered The London Film School and in 2013 graduated with MA filmmaking. He has edited more than 10 short fiction films and several documentaries. Reza is now working as a freelance Editor.
KATIE MACGREGOR – Production Designer Katie Macgregor is a London based Art Director. Originally from Sydney Australia, she moved to London to study Foundation Art & Design at Chelsea University, and continuing her degree in Fine Arts at UCA in Farnham. Katie has worked as an Art Director in London since 2011. During which, she has worked on over 40 films, music videos and commercials. She has worked on a variety of projects including music video for Emmy the Great, Young Rebel Set and Dear Reader and has recently Art Directed TV Docudrama 'Miracle Landing on the Hudson' which was aired on National Geographic Channel in 2013.
MARK SEYFRITZ – Composer With a highly eclectic and multiple award wining career as a composer, producer and programmer in the music industry, Mark started scoring and sound designing for films in 2005. He has scored several features recently including ‘Dark Tide’ (Halle Berry / Olivier Martinez), ‘Dead Man Running’ (50Cent / Brenda Blethyn), ‘Devil you Know’ (Jennifer Lawrence / Rosamund Pike / Lena Olin) and ‘Jonah’, that has just been nominated for ” Best British Short ” at the BIFA’s 2013, and at Sundance for “Best Short film Grand Jury Prize”.
SYUKRI JR – Executive Producer Syukri is an independent producer and founder of CANDAS CREATIVE COMPANY. Being a collaborative-‐ driven creative company and film foundation, this startup seeks to champion and celebrate cinematic arts through spectacular storytelling, in addition to developing and producing shorts, features and documentary films; such as ACT ONE: A Documentary, Crossing West, On The Bridge, and Siren. CANDAS CREATIVE COMPANY in its first year has supported over 8 projects from around the world. Syukri additionally serves as Principal Partner of CUNGKEEL PICTURES, a private film financing and investment firm.
PRODUCTION INFORMATION TITLE He Took His Skin Off For Me GENRE Short, Drama, Magical-Realism, Horror DATE OF COMPLETION February 2014 COUNTRY OF PRODUCTION United Kingdom ASPECT RATIO 2.35:1 RUNNING TIME 11 minutes (11:22) LANGUAGE English SHOOTING FORMAT HD, Arri Alexa SCREENING FORMATS DCP, Blu-ray, HDCAM, DVD, QuickTime Pro-res 422
CONTACTS DIRECTOR Ben Aston 24 Alexandra Road, W41AX, London, UK Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.benastondirector.com
PRODUCER Fiona Lamptey Phone: +44 (0)7930629744 Email: email@example.com
RIGHTS & SALES Fiona Lamptey & The London Film School 24 Shelton Street London WC2H 9UB WEBSITE www.hetookhisskinoffforme.com