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A 2nd year AFI 35mm MOS short film 

Skin is a visual metaphor that portrays the processes of transitioning from female to male. The essence of the story is about  letting go of who you think you have to be, so that you can unfold who you truly are. 

I believe the story will be relatedable to most people, regardless or age, sexuality or gender. At the core, we all go through internal or external transformations. We discover new parts of ourselves, or we are at times confronted to deal with old belifsystems or identinites that no longer serve us, to become a better version of ourselves, reagdless of the pain that may come along. 


A woman wakes up, noticing that her skin is cracking up on her body. She walks up to a mirror to take a look, and realizes that pieces of her facial skin is coming off. She starts peeling the skin, and slowly discovers that there are another face behind her own skin.


Simultaneously, a man is waking up. He is covered in ice and snow, that is melting away. He walks up to to a mirror that is on the other side of the woman’s room. The woman is scared, as she is not sure of what is happening to her. The man reaches out to her from the other side, through the mirror, and helps her peel the rest of the skin off, comforting her in the process. 

When her skin is completely peeled off, it is revealed that the woman and the man on the other side of the mirror is one and the same person. The mirror closes, and he goes back to his bed, content in his new self. 

An American Film Institute Production 

AFI was rated as the number #1 Film School in the country by Hollywood Reporter in 2022, and the acceptance rate is less than 1%. Behind them, they have alumni's such as Ari Aster, Patty Jenkins, Rachel Morrison, David Lynch, Darren Aronofsky etc. 


"The Visual Essay at the AFI Conservatory is shot on 35mm film. Graduating AFI Cinematographers use it as their industry calling card.  The film will be presented at the AFI Cinematography Showcase and submitted to festivals worldwide. These films provide strong, cinematic footage".

You can get a sense of what these films look like by watching the video below. 

Core Team

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Leo Behrens 

Writer, Director & Cinematographer 

Instagram: dp_leobehrens


phone: 213 588 5591

To see my previous work, click here


Alejandra Armijo 


Instagram: alearmiijo


Ilayda Cetinkaya 


Instagram: ilayda.cetink


phone: 310 418 8285


Mojo Wen

Production Designer

Instagram: mojo4magic


Director's Statement 

I transitioned from female to male in 2011. The journey has been a long, and at times, a painful process, but not without rewards. Going through these changes has given me deep insights to myself, and I have become a better version of myself. At the start of my transition, I was obsessed  with fitting in the society's expectations  of what it means to be a man. The past 5-6 years, I have freed myself from external opinions, which led to a deeper peace within. One of the discoveries I made, is the realization that ultimately it is not about gender, but finding the right expression (costume) that reflects who I am on the inside.

I am a big advocate for LGBTQ representations in film and TV, in front and behind the camera. Although we have come a long way, there is still more to be done to achieve that goal. One of my goals with this project, and as a Cinematographer, is to be a part of making that change.
Through my research for SKIN, I found very little (abstract) art about transitioning. I did found multiple paintings, illustraion and videos with a political angle, but very little that portrays the beauty of transitioning. With this project, I hope to bring in a new perspective, and have the audience witness this process from a completely new angle. 

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