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"Skin is a poetic exploration of identity and self-discovery, using visual symbolism to depict a woman's transformation into a man. With the help of her inner manifestation, the ice man, she sheds her old skin and embraces her true identity".

The short film is written, directed and shot by Leo Behrens on Kodak 35mm, starring Lio Mehiel.  

The 2023 Gold Medal Winner in the Alternative/Experimental category at the Student Academy Awards 

Official Selection AFI FEST & Oslo Fusion Int. Film Festival. 

Writer/Director: Leo Behrens 

Producer: Ilayda Cetinkaya 

Director of Photography: Leo Behrens

Production Designer: Mojo Wen

Hair and Make Up: Shy Elizabeth 

Editor: Alejandra Armijo 

Colorist: Walter Volpatto

Composer: Mike Forst 



Skin stills image student oscar 2023
Skin stills image student oscar 2023
Skin stills image student oscar 2023
Skin stills image student oscar 2023
Skin stills image student oscar 2023 Leo Behrens
Skin stills image student oscar 2023 Leo Behrens

Core Team

LEO BEHRENS Director Cinematographer

Leo Behrens 

Writer, Director & Cinematographer 

Instagram: dp_leobehrens


phone: 213 588 5591

To see my previous work, click here

Ilayda Cetinkaya Producer Skin Oscar winner

Ilayda Cetinkaya 


Instagram: ilayda.cetink


phone: 310 418 8285


Mojo Wen Skin Student Oscar production designer

Mojo Wen

Production Designer

Instagram: mojo4magic


Alejandra Armijo editor Skin

Alejandra Armijo 


Instagram: alearmiijo



Shy Elizabeth

Make Up Artist

Instagram: theirnameisshy



Mike Forst


Instagram: mikeforst


Director's Statement

In 2011, I embarked on a personal journey, transitioning from female to male. From a young age, I expressed myself as male, but as my body changed, I tried to conform to societal expectations. This internal conflict became increasingly burdensome, leading me to realize that my inner and outer worlds were not in harmony. This eventually led me to make changes in my life.


My transition inspired “Skin". As I started developing the story, I wanted to explored (gender) transformation in an artistic and creative way. Transitioning is a deeply personal process, requiring self-examination from various angles. I used visual symbolism and an abstract approach to depict this inner emotional journey. 


The female character undergoes an awakening, confronting her neglected identity by facing herself (the ice man). The film's theme can resonate with most individuals, regardless of gender identity or orientation. It portrays the transformative journey of shedding one's old skin and embracing a new identity, a narrative relatable to anyone who has undergone significant change. 


I believe the universal themes and symbolism in "Skin" speak a universal language. Personal transformation is a shared human experience. By being more self-aware, we can navigate these stages more empathetically.

Behind The Scenes

Upcoming Screenings

25th Corti da Sogi, Antonio Ricci, Italy - April 16th - 19th

54th USA Film Festival, Dallas Texas, April 17th - 26th 

47th Norwegian Short Film Festival, Grimstad Norway, June 12th - 16th 

  • Instagram

Follow Skin_Shortfilm2023 for news and updates

  • IMDB

Check out SKIN on IMDb 

Media & Press

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