News and updates about SKIN

Catherine Wyler, daughter of legendary director William Wyler, attended the world premiere of SKIN in Toronto last year. She told me then about a film festival she runs in Rochester (across Lake Ontario), suggesting we might show the film there. I had no idea where we would be with regard to distribution by then - but Catherine kept tabs on the film and, as it was making the rounds of regional festivals, requested it.

There was an additional link - Judy Stone, author of Sandra Laing's biography, "When She Was White", is a friend of Cathy Wyler, and was willing to do a Q&A after the screening. Here's what she wrote about the experience:

"The screening was sold out (it looked to me as if the theater held 300-400, perhaps more, and the audience was very enthusiastic. They would have stayed on and on for the Q&A, but eventually the theater was needed for the next film. People asked the usual questions: What's Sandra doing now, why won't her brothers have anything to do with her, how did you (Tony)  hear about Sandra, are there other people like her --"colored"-looking people with white parents in SA, etc. And once we were pried from the theater, audience members continued the discussion in the lobby, where the local Barnes and Noble had set up a table to sell books. The festival was impressive, and Skin was very popular. I wouldn't be surprised if it wins an audience prize (there are no juried prizes, as you know)."

My heart leapt - another audience award? Oh dear, I hadn't thought there would be one and now I knew, I wanted it. It's absurd, but no matter how many awards SKIN wins, the next one becomes important. After all the years of struggle, trying to persuade investors, sales agents and distributors that the film really would appeal to audiences, it 's the ultimate validation. And lo - it came to pass:

A message from Catherine Wyler appeared not long after Judy's:

"Dear Anthony:

After our final screening last night, we tallied the ballots and SKIN won the Audience Award!!  I am thrilled, as is Ruth Cowing and the entire team.  We will be sending you a certificate and hope you display it PROMINENTLY.  We also hope this gives a boost to your distribution plans.

Big cheer,


It's our seventh award this year - lucky seven, I think, because a deal that will enable us to release the film in the US is about to close. The next blog will surely be to announce the date...
Comments(2)Add Comment
Tony Fabian
June 26, 2009

Dear Sheila

Thanks for your comment - I'm afraid you will just have to pray a bit longer. We're working on the US release and hoping to have everything sorted out by late September. There seems to be a giant chasm between what mainstream Hollywood believes, and what audiences really want. Keep writing and blogging, go and see SKIN in the cinema when it's released - and tell all your friends. Only with a strong box office will the industry finally take notice.

Best, Tony Fabian

Sheila McLendon
June 26, 2009

Mr. Fabian,

I am still following this and hoping and praying that your film gets the release that it truly deserves. I mean, how do we get the word out that this is the kind of film that we want to see (does Hollywood really think we only want to see movies that are directed towards people under age 17)?


Sheila McLendon

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