Under the Skin is an animation depicting the struggles of Laila, a fictional ten-year-old Salvadoran girl child who risks her life crossing the desert to realize her dream of finding a better life in America. Through Laila’s experiences inside the American Immigration system, Under the Skin focuses on the vicissitudes and emotions that unaccompanied migrant children arriving in the US across the US-Mexico border encounter. The character’s bewilderment, fear, and inability to understand and speak English is reinforced by the use of abstract images, sonic environments, and the absence of dialogues.
The aesthetic of the film is created by combining 2D animation with applying layers of cacao, coffee, sugar, and annatto powder, primary sustenance crops of the Northern-Triangle farmers, to handmade paper sheets, representing the character’s identity.
Director Biography – SILVANA D’Mikos
Silvana D’Mikos’s films, animations, and artworks are deeply inspired by her interest in addressing racial and socio-political issues. After completing her BFA studies in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, D’Mikos was selected to participate in the 2007 curatorial training program at Magasin Des Horizon National Center, Grenoble, France. Soon after, she was a resident artist at the Transart new media program in Berlin. In 2011 Silvana relocated to Miami as a part of the artist-in-residence program at Bakehouse Art Complex, followed by the 2015 Oolite Art residency.
In 2020, she received her MFA in film and integrated media at Hunter College NYC with the thesis Under The Skin, a documentary-animation, premiered in November at DOC NYC, focusing on the struggle experienced by unaccompanied migrant children arriving at the US through the US-Mexico border.
Silvana D’Mikos’ works have been featured nationally and internationally.
Recent screenings include: Under The Skin animation premiere at Doc NYC. The Discovery of Anandamide and La Droga Principal (The Principal Drug) at the Institute for Applied Economic Research (IPEA), at Drug Policies, Identity and Human Rights conference, UFRJ University, Brazil, and at the School of Art and Communication, UDELAR, Uruguay.
I am an immigrant, slasher-career artist who undergoes diverse socio-economic, cultural, and political backgrounds. These diverse life experiences permeate my inquiries about how we embody our multiracial, multicultural identities as inhabitants of a global ecosystem.
We live in an interconnected world, so the issues affecting one part of society has an effect on society as a whole.
When I close my eyes, I see wavelets that form with the wind’s blow, evoking the dissemination of actions into society, connecting people’s emotions and stories. Through documentaries, animations, sculptures, and mixed media pieces, I funnel these thoughts to discuss some of the socio-political and environmental issues that affect us, for example, the importance of water for life, inequality, and immigration. Under the Skin animation, which exposes American immigration’s flawed system, exemplifies these views.
Project Type: Animation, Experimental, Short
Runtime: 11 minutes 30 seconds
Completion Date: October 1, 2020
Production Budget: 120 USD
Country of Origin: United States
Country of Filming: United States
Film Color: Color
First-time Filmmaker: No
Student Project: No