Neon Skin

Winner of the inaugural NFSA Orlando Award 2011

Two young men – one sighted, one blind – see the world and their bodies in different ways. Unexpectedly they find a connection beyond the visual in the collision of taste, touch and sound. The connection is sensual and within it they each find something new.


From Director Grant Scicluna

Neon Skin’s story is a simple one – of a young man who wants to show his blind friend something new, but ends up having something new awakened within his own self. A new way of seeing himself. A new way of seeing his friend, perhaps. The surprise is that the one who cannot see him is the one who truly sees him.
This spark of a connection between the two men is built upon the sensual and not the sexual. Neon Skin is really touching on my impression of the senses, particularly of sight – in both a physical sense, as well as a exploring the irony of how we build up a picture of ourselves through the eyes of others.

Body image issues are not confined to the realm of women. Many young men silently equate self-worth with bulk muscle. The laws of attraction, however, are complex and not confined to sight. In Neon Skin, the power of attraction is in the transformative reaction of skin against skin. I wanted to make a film that went right to the moment where the senses unexpectedly collide, because that is where we can begin to appreciate the gap between our subjectivities.

Neon Skin is a child of opportunity and a labour of love by the many generous folk involved in its production. Firstly, producer Jannine Barnes, who got her hands on two rolls of 35mm night stock that was not used on the Australian feature Noise, and threw me the challenge of writing a 5 minute short film set only in low light. Secondly, a great crew who worked through the night, conscious that we could only shoot the film with one or two takes of each shot, and two brave actors who gave such gentle performances teeming with tension. Thanks to all, and finally to our major supporter Deluxe, who graded and finished Neon Skin to 35mm, giving the most precious and appreciated support.

Finally, Neon Skin is an offering to my love, the city of Melbourne, the lady who performs nightly on the banks of the Yarra. It is a show I shall never grow weary of, and secretly think is just for me…



St Kilda Film Festival, Melbourne Australia, May 2009 Opening Night Film
Filmfest@Falls, Falls Creek Australia, June, 2009
Melbourne Queer Film Festival, Melbourne Australia, March 2010
Byron Bay Film Festival, Byron Bay, Australia, March 2010 – nominated Best Cinematography
Singapore International Film Festival, Singapore, April, 2010
St Kilda Shorts, Melbourne Australia, May, 2010
Tropical Alternative Film Festival, Cairns Australia, May 2010
Kinemastick International Short Film Festival, Malta, August 2010
Canberra Short Film Festival, Canberra Australia, September, 2010
Queerschnit, Berne Switzerland, October,2010
Copenhagen International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, Copenhagen Denmark, October, 2010
Short Short Story Film Festival, New Hampshire USA, November, 2010
Queerschnit, Cape Town South Africa, November,2010
Made in Melbourne Film Festival, Melbourne Australia, December, 2010
Zinegoak Film Festival, Bilbao Spain, January 2011
Mardis Gras Film Festival, Sydney Australia, February 2011 Winner – NFSA Orlando Best Short Film Award
Bangalore Queer Film Festival, Bangalore India, February 2011
Shepparton Shorts, Shepparton Australia, March 2011
West Side Shorts, Melbourne Australia, April 2011 nominated – best actor Luke Mullins, nominated – best actor Martin Sharpe
Xposed International Queer Film Festival, Berlin Germany, June 2011


Written and Directed by Grant Scicluna

Produced by Jannine Barnes

Martin Sharp as Sam

Luke Mullins as Dale

Director of Photography – Francesco Biffone

Art Director – Tim Burgin

Editor – Jane Usher

Sound Designer – Chris Goodes