When it comes to LGBTQI+ representation in film, those who identify as non-binary are often left out of the equation. With queer characters only recently hitting the mainstream as calls for further, more inclusive representation are made, it always feels like a good day when LGBTQI+ stories are being told, especially when it's by LGBTQI+ cast members and directors, which is why the new Australian film, 'Under My Skin' is so monumental.
The film debuted at Raindance Film Festival in London on October 29, and portrays an artist named Denny, who falls for Ryan, a strait-laced lawyer. When Denny begins to explore their gender identity, their relationship is tested. In the film, Denny is played by four different actors who identify as non-binary, or trans non-binary: Liv Hewson (of Santa Clarita Diet and Bombshell), who has already been nominated for best performance at the Raindance, Bobbi Salvor Menuez (of Nocturnal Animals) and Lex Ryan and Chloe Freeman.
'Under My Skin' marks the feature debut of Australian writer-director David O’Donnell and Australian production team headed by Raynen O’Keefe and Alex Russell. The film is said to be inspired by O'Donnell's relationship with producer O’Keefe, who identifies as trans non-binary. Kiwi Cinematographer Jacqueline Fitzgerald lensed the film.
“At this point in history, the casting of trans, gender-diverse and non-binary characters with people of lived experience, is not only a social responsibility of film-making, but is also a moral imperative in the task of uplifting trans and gender-diverse stories, voices, and representation,” O'Keefe told Deadline. “When we move towards greater trans and gender-diverse authorship, we move towards authenticity, belonging, and a valuing of the differences, similarities and intricacies that make up trans experiences. The ensemble cast structure for Denny was a step in this direction, one that intuits a vast and often under-appreciated resource—that is the knowledge, expertise, and wisdom that is inseparable from lived experience.'
Watch the trailer, below.
Image credit: @liv.hewson