January 13, 2015

Director Ben Aston Bares It All: Go Behind the Scenes of His Unsettlingly Beautiful Short Film

"Unsettlingly beautiful" and "grimly delicate" are just a couple of the oxymoronic adjectives that somehow escaped the confines of my increasingly perplexed and fascinated mind after I watched He Took His Skin Off For Me, a short film about a man who literally takes his skin off for his girlfriend.

If you've been with us for a while and this film sounds familiar to you, it should. Back in 2013, when director Ben Aston and his team were still running their Kickstarter campaign, we covered the intriguing practical effects used on He Took His Skin Off For Me, which is based off of a short story by Maria Hummer and stars Sebastian Armesto and Anna MacGuire.

Now, almost a year and a half later, the film is finally ready to be seen by the public and has already been featured on Short of the Week. Not only that, but director Ben Aston has made a behind the scenes video that takes you on a tour of the entire production, from its inception to post-production.

But before we get to that, sit back, relax, and enjoy He Took His Skin Off For Me:

And now, here's the behind-the-scenes featurette of HTHSOFM:

This is a video of some early makeup tests done for the film by SFX Supervisor Jen Cardno:

The story of this production is inspiring and encouraging for many reasons: Aston made HTHSOFM as his graduation film for London Film School; he and his team raised nearly $14,000 on Kickstarter to fund it; he managed to secure the mentorship of SFX maestro Colin Arthur after attending his special effects workshop. But perhaps the most inspiring thing about the work these filmmakers have done is their very mature approach to filmmaking, which can be seen primarily in their willingness to use restraint when dealing with such great SFX.

Clearly the special effects are incredible, especially for a student film, but the story doesn't play second fiddle to them. They both work in harmony to create a captivating film that looks and feels unique and oddly familiar at the same time; the special effects makeup stops you in your tracks, while the narrative pulls you closer.     

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Ah! No comments yet? I thought it was beautifully constructed. I love that it can be open to a lot of interpretation.

January 16, 2015 at 12:49AM

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Jeremiah Arella
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