A queer teenager struggling with the onset of puberty discovers a living cave that presents them with a new skin and a chance to explore their identity

A queer teenager struggles to navigate adolescence and becoming in a world that seems to thrive on pushing them out. Disconnected from their body and any real sense of intimacy, Charlie hits puberty, an otherwise inconsequential milestone that unlocks a living, breathing world and a host of new possibility living right beneath the drain of their bathtub. The journey of self-discovery always makes for a deep rooted story, more often than not highlighting the difficult emotional process. Audrey Rosenberg’s ‘Skin‘ is no different in its emotional range, but the film goes much deeper than any short we’ve ever seen.

This story came about for me as a way of expressing tenderness to a young, confused adolescent self. Not only is it a film about sifting through the mud regarding one’s identity, reconnecting the fractured elements of who you might be in a time of transition, but it became a story more so about finding strength through intimacy, vulnerability, and honesty. And simply put, it came about through a process of engaging personally with those practices. The fantasy element entered through a desire to express cinematically what I couldn’t describe — the magic, body-horror, visceral weirdness of ‘it all’ — plus, I watch a lot of Buffy.

A film always makes its mark from the depth of its content, but it’s the imagery that can leave a lifetime impression. Skin goes beyond the surface to create a fantasy recreation of self-discovery. And as visually gruesome as it can look, it’s also metaphorically uplifting.