Kino Lorber and Beta Cinema announced that they have closed a deal for all North American distribution rights to Alex Schaad’s daring first feature Skin Deep, a sharp, thoughtful take on the body swap film that upends genres to examine gender, sexuality, and personal identity. Kino Lorber is planning a theatrical release later this year followed by a digital and home video release on all major platforms.
The directorial debut of Alex Schaad, who previously won the Student Academy Award for his social media thriller Invention of Trust, Skin Deep premiered at the 2022 Venice International Film Festival Critics’ Week, where it was awarded the Queer Lion. The film is co-written by Schaad and his brother Dimitrij Schaad and produced by Tobias Walker and Philipp Worm of Walker + Worm Productions, Bayerischer Rundfunk, and Donndorffilm.
Seeking a retreat where they can salvage their struggling relationship, young couple Leyla (Mala Emde) and Tristan (Jonas Dassler) travel to a remote island at the invitation of Leyla’s childhood friend Stella, where it soon becomes clear that what the island offers is more mysterious than a simple vacation. Leyla and Tristan join another couple in a ritual to exchange bodies and see the world through the eyes of someone else – a chance to find themselves or, for some of them, a chance at escape. Free from the constraints of her former body, Leyla quickly finds she has never been happier, with a fresh outlook on life and a new sense of release and fulfillment. But when she refuses to return to her old self, the situation threatens to spiral out of control. Subverting genre and gender as it toggles from body swap thriller to intimate relationship drama, Skin Deep tells a story that transcends bodies, embracing the endless fluid possibilities in the question of what it means to truly love someone.
The deal for Skin Deep was negotiated by Kino Lorber Senior Vice President Wendy Lidell and Dirk Schuerhoff, CEO of Beta Cinema.
“Alex Schaad’s sensational debut is a twisty dive into who we are and who we love, a mind-boggling tour de force anchored by his actors' shape-shifting performances as two characters who switch bodies,” said Kino Lorber SVP Wendy Lidell. “The results are both revelatory and deeply rewarding, and we think American audiences will join us in embracing this thoughtful, eye-opening love story.”
“Can you ever really know what is going on inside someone you love? What do we really love in a person anyway - their body or their mind? Will we still love them if they change? And how much can they change and still stay the same “someone” that you used to love? And what if there was a place where the boundaries of gender, sex and age could be overcome? Skin Deep offers very specific answers to these eternal questions,” said director Alex Schaad.