Slamdance 2012: Comforting Skin – The Girl with the Scary Tattoo

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While Sundance usually gets all of the January film festival love, we’d be remiss if we didn’t keep an eye on the Slamdance Film Festival, too. Speaking of which, the first genre offering has been announced, and we’ve got the trailer and artwork for you right here. Dig it!

Below you’ll find the goods on Derek Franson’s indie flick Comforting Skin. Victoria Bidewell, Tygh Ruyan, Jane Sowerby, and Phil Granger star.

Awkward, average looking, and lacking any real self-confidence, Koffie has always felt she neither fits in nor stands out. These insecurities caused her to move around in dangerous circles, exhibit destructive impulses, and lie uncontrollably. But now she thinks she has turned the page…

Koffie’s life is in transition. She has stopped peddling drugs for her ex-boyfriend, Allan, and now works three minimum wage jobs. She has been taken under the wing of a neighbor named Synthia, a club-hopping Barbie at the end of her shelf-life. Koffie has even begun to reconnect with her estranged family.

The only constant in this time of change is Koffie’s childhood best friend, Nathan, a sociophobe who has been her conscience in times of need. In return Koffie has always acted as his lifeline to the outside world, doing his errands, and even taking it upon herself to cure his phobia of people by slowly re-introducing him into society. Indeed her life is full of promise.

But try as she might to keep herself busy, Nathan’s demands, Allan’s endless female conquests, and existing in Synthia’s shadow do nothing to embolden Koffie’s sense of self-importance. Escaping the rain one dreary night, Koffie finds herself within the warm shelter of a tattoo parlor starving yet again to feel special. When asked what she wants, the only answer to pass her lips as she gazes the wall of tattoo designs is to have ‘something unique’. Inevitably, the act of getting a tattoo does little to fill Koffie’s insatiable void. In the weeks that follow she spirals ever downward and ultimately finds herself standing at a precipice. Koffie does not want to go on. So she places a blade to her wrist. And begins to press. But unlike the many times before where she’s done so for attention, this time she does so without restraint…

And during this darkest moment the tattoo comes to life on her skin.

With a soothing whisper and an electrifying touch never experienced, the tattoo stops her. Immediately her desire for death is replaced by a thirst for life. Crazy though she may be, Koffie does not care. Slithering and pulsating, the tattoo shifts and dances on her skin like nothing she’s ever felt. It knows every inch of her. Its embrace is overwhelming. Koffie is enraptured.

Disappearing into a world of sensory pleasures, Koffie’s surreal relationship with her tattoo eventually has its casualties. First affected is the fragile relationship with her family. Next the usually self-centered Synthia finds herself both curious and resentful of Koffie’s newfound happiness. And most tragically a rift between Koffie and Nathan begins to form. As much as she cares for Nathan, Koffie is convinced by the tattoo to wean herself from Nathan, leaving him alone and isolated. ‘It’s our time to be selfish,’ the tattoo argues, ‘our time to enjoy life!’

Koffie quickly learns, however, even the most unique relationships can become stale and confining. Before long the tattoo has stripped away all she had of an identity and covets her completely, sabotaging any relationships that get in the way. Monotony and mistrust eventually lead to a wandering curiosity in others, jealousy ignites into cruelty and violence. For once the tattoo realizes if ever there comes a time where it’s not needed, that it would cease to exist, it does everything in its power to ensure Koffie will always need it.

Fearful for her life, Koffie finally turns back to Nathan and reveals her secret. But Nathan is neither convinced nor prepared for how strong a hold the tattoo has on her and soon finds himself in great danger as well.

In the end Koffie must look to herself for salvation. But how do you end a relationship existing in your heart, your mind, and played out on your skin?

Comforting Skin – trailer 1 from Justin James on Vimeo.

Slamdance 2012: Comforting Skin - The Girl with the Scary Tattoo

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