Skin (2008) Poster

Skin (2008)

  • Rate: 6.7/10 total 1,331 votes 
  • Genre: Biography | Drama
  • Release Date: 24 July 2009 (UK)
  • Runtime: USA:107 min | Canada:107 min (Toronto International Film Festival)
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Skin (2008)


Skin 2008tt0964586.jpg poster

  • IMDb page: Skin (2008)
  • Rate: 6.7/10 total 1,331 votes 
  • Genre: Biography | Drama
  • Release Date: 24 July 2009 (UK)
  • Runtime: USA:107 min | Canada:107 min (Toronto International Film Festival)
  • Filming Location: Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa
  • Director: Anthony Fabian
  • Stars: Sophie Okonedo, Terri Ann Eckstein and Bongani Masondo
  • Original Music By: Hélène Muddiman   
  • Soundtrack: Let Freedom Reign
  • Sound Mix: Dolby Digital
  • Plot Keyword: Apartheid | South Africa | Civil Rights | One Word Title | Prayer

Writing Credits By:

  • Helen Crawley (screenplay) &
  • Jessie Keyt (screenplay) &
  • Helena Kriel (screenplay)
  • Anthony Fabian  story (uncredited)

Known Trivia

    Plot: Based on the true story of a black girl who was born to two white Afrikaner parents in South Africa during the apartheid era.  »

    Story: Based on the true story of a black girl who was born to two white Afrikaner parents in South Africa during the apartheid era.

    FullCast & Crew

    Produced By:

    • Anthony Fabian known as producer
    • Simon Fawcett known as executive producer
    • Genevieve Hofmeyr known as producer
    • Hellen Kalenga known as executive producer
    • Robert Little known as executive producer (as Robbie Little)
    • Alasdair MacCuish known as executive producer
    • Margaret Matheson known as producer
    • Laurence Paltiel known as executive producer
    • Marvin Saven known as associate producer
    • Moses Silinda known as executive producer

    FullCast & Crew:

    • Sophie Okonedo known as Sandra Laing
    • Terri Ann Eckstein known as Elsie Laing (aged 19)
    • Bongani Masondo known as Henry Laing (aged 20)
    • Dan Robbertse known as Factory Foreman
    • Jeremy Crutchley known as TV Reporter
    • Jonathan Taylor known as TV Sound Recordist
    • Nomathamsanga Baleka known as Factory Worker 1 (as Thami Baleka)
    • Valesika Smith known as Factory Worker 2 (as Valesica Smith)
    • Ella Ramangwane known as Young Sandra
    • Alice Krige known as Sannie Laing
    • Faniswa Yisa known as Nora Molefe
    • Sam Neill known as Abraham Laing
    • Hannes Brummer known as Leon Laing
    • Zamanthebe Sithebe known as Young Thembi
    • Onida Cowan known as Miss Van Uys
    • Leana Truitsman known as Annie (as Leana Tryttsman)
    • Lauren Das Neves known as Elize
    • Jacques Gombault known as Teacher saying grace
    • Danny Keogh known as Van Tonder
    • Nicole Holme known as Miss Ludik
    • Ben Botha known as Dawie
    • Duan Saayman known as Boy in Classroom (as Duane Saayman)
    • Zoea Alberts known as Girl in Classroom
    • Burger Nortje known as Kobus
    • Simon Mdohki known as Joseph (as Simon Mdahki)
    • Elizabeth Serunye known as Ice Cream Woman
    • Jonathan Pienaar known as Van Niekerk
    • Tiaan Rautenbach known as First Policeman
    • Jose Domingos known as Male Journalist 1
    • Nicole Regelous known as Female Journalist
    • Danie Struwig known as Male Journalist 2
    • Elriza Swanepoel known as Receptionist (as Elrize Swanepoel)
    • Stacey Sachs known as Thin Secretary (as Stacey Sacks)
    • Gordon Van Rooyen known as Judge Galgut
    • Morne Visser known as Doctor Sparks (as Morné Visser)
    • Khalem Willet known as Adriaan Laing (as Kaylim Willet)
    • Tony Kgoroge known as Petrus Zwane
    • Cobus Venter known as Johann
    • Alan McBride known as Car Date
    • Tongayi Chirisa known as Township Priest
    • Mpho Lekalakala known as Swazi Policeman 1
    • Hector Rabopaphe known as Swazi Policeman 2 (as Hector Rabotapi)
    • Nomhlé Nkyonyeni known as Jenny Zwane (as Nomhle Nkonyeni)
    • Graeme Bloch known as Bailiff
    • Carel Trichardt known as Magistrate
    • Gladys Mahlangu known as Sangoma
    • Ivy Nkutha known as Drunk Woman at Party
    • Kholosa Tshandana known as Pretty Girl at Party (as Kholosa Tshadana)
    • Andre Stoltz known as Home Affairs Clerk 1 (as André Stolz)
    • Drikus Volschenk known as Policeman with megaphone
    • Ruaan Bok known as Henry Laing (aged 10)
    • Kate-Lyn Von Meyer known as Elsie Laing (aged 9)
    • Tumi Morake known as Thembi
    • Matthew Lotter known as Abusive Teen in bakkie
    • Anna-Mart van der Merwe known as Anna Roux
    • Saint Seseli known as Home Affairs Clerk 2
    • Charmaine Kweyama known as Pensions Office Clerk
    • Nomkhosi Gidigidi known as Maid in Pretoria
    • Thelma Siwela known as Neighbour
    • Karien Van Der Merwe known as Nurse Beukes
    • Charlotte Butler known as Woman 2 (uncredited)
    • Jakkie Groenewald known as White Foreman (uncredited)
    • Lourens Groenewald known as Willy Meyer (uncredited)
    • Fiona Ramsey known as Woman at Church (uncredited)
    • Malusi Skenjana known as Minivan Driver (uncredited)



    Supporting Department

    Makeup Department:
    • Noriko Watanabe known as hair stylist
    • Noriko Watanabe known as makeup artist
    • Scott Wheeler known as makeup department head
    • Sue Wyburgh known as hair designer
    • Sue Wyburgh known as key makeup artist

    Art Department:

    • Michael Hyman known as lead scenic
    • Surisa Surisa known as property master




    Production Companies:

    • Elysian Films
    • Bard Entertainments (co-production)
    • Moonlighting Films (co-production)
    • Lipsync Productions (participation)
    • Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa
    • The National Film and Video Foundation of SA

    Other Companies:

    • Aramid Capital Partners  funding
    • Art4noise  sound post-production
    • CW3PR  us premiere publicity
    • Lip Sync Post  digital intermediate
    • Lipsync Post  sound re-recording


    • BBC Films (2008) (UK) (theatrical)
    • ICA Films (2010) (UK) (DVD)
    • European Film Partners (EFP) (2009) (Netherlands) (theatrical)
    • Front Row Distributors (2010) (United Arab Emirates) (theatrical)
    • Indies Entertainment (2010) (Belgium) (theatrical)
    • Jour De Fete (2009-2010) (USA) (theatrical)
    • Nordisk Film (2010) (Denmark) (theatrical)
    • Spentzos Film Home Video (2010) (Greece) (theatrical)
    • Union Générale Cinématographique (UGC) (2010) (France) (theatrical)
    • Ascot Elite Home Entertainment (2011) (Germany) (DVD)
    • Cinemax (2010) (Hungary) (TV)
    • Degeto Film (2010) (Germany) (all media)
    • Entertainment One (2010) (USA) (video)
    • Front Row Filmed Entertainment (2008) (United Arab Emirates) (all media) (Middle East)
    • Indies Home Entertainment (2010) (Netherlands) (DVD)
    • Laptv (2010) (Argentina) (TV)
    • Nordisk Film (2010) (Finland) (DVD)



    Other Stuff

    Visual Effects by:
    • Chris Bentley known as digital lab operator
    • Lee Clappison known as digital colourist
    • James Clarke known as DI supervisor
    • James Clarke known as digital lab supervisor
    • Katja Hollmann known as digital lab producer: Lipsync Post (as Katja Lazare)
    • Aileen McIntosh known as digital lab operator
    • Nadia Probst known as assistant digital colourist
    • Cyril Schumann known as Flame artist
    • Daniel Tomlinson known as digital lab operator

    Release Date:

    • Canada 7 September 2008 (Toronto International Film Festival)
    • Brazil 1 October 2008 (Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival)
    • USA 3 November 2008 (AFI Film Festival)
    • USA 25 January 2009 (Santa Barbara Film Festival)
    • Germany 6 February 2009 (European Film Market)
    • USA 17 April 2009 (Washington D.C. International Film Festival)
    • USA 24 May 2009 (Seattle International Film Festival)
    • UK 24 July 2009
    • Netherlands 17 September 2009
    • USA 13 October 2009 (Mill Valley Film Festival)
    • USA 30 October 2009 (limited)
    • Belgium 18 November 2009
    • Poland 3 December 2009 (Camerimage Film Festival)
    • Finland 10 March 2010 (DVD premiere)
    • Argentina 16 March 2010 (TV premiere)
    • Sweden 24 March 2010 (DVD premiere)
    • Finland 7 May 2010 (Helsinki African Film Festival)
    • Hungary 16 October 2010 (TV premiere)
    • Germany 25 January 2011 (DVD premiere)
    • Germany 31 January 2011 (TV premiere)
    • Australia 25 February 2011 (TV premiere)

    MPAA: Rated PG-13 for thematic material, some violence and sexuality



    Filmography links and data courtesy of The Internet Movie Database

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    Posted on March 30, 2012 by Harry in Movies | Tags: , , .


    1. johno-21 from United States
      30 Mar 2012, 9:48 pm

      I saw this last month at the 2009 Palm springs International FilmFestival. This is based on the true story set in South Africa duringthe Apartheid system of a Sandra Laing (Sophie Okonedo), who was bornof dark skin to two Afrikaaners of white Eropean descent Abraham (SamNeill) and Sannie (Alice Krige) Laing. Sandra is a genetic throwbackbecause unknown to her parents, and like many Afrikaaners, there wasmixed blood in their heritage between the Euopeans who settled in SouthAfrica and the indigenous Africans. The story begins with Sophiegetting expelled from an all-white school because of her differences inappearance. She is reclassified as dark. Her father (who is himself abigot) fights to have her reclassified as white. She eventually is butagainst her family wishes she causes an unbreakable divide when shedecides to marry a black man and have herself reclassified yet again asblack. This is the feature film directorial debut of writer/directorAnthony Fabian who was also present at my screening for an audienceQ&A. The screenplay is from Helen Crawley but there was a book writtenrecently by author Judith Stone called When She Was White that goesmore into the complete story of Sophie's life. This film covers Sophiefrom around age 10 through her first marriage. Both Fabian's film andStone's book had the cooperation of Sophie herself in their making. Anexcellent cast with three veterans in the principal roles with Neill,Krige, and the young but very busy Okonedo who was an Oscar nominee forHotel Rwanda. This is a good film but it plays more like a made for TVmovie and HBO, BET, Hallmark, A&E, AMC or Lifetime should all considershowing this. I would give this an 7.5 out of 10 and recommend it.

    2. druid333-2 from United States
      30 Mar 2012, 9:48 pm

      Anthony Fabian's 'Skin'is a powerful drama of South Africa's shamefulhistory of white colonial Apartheit rule,that was thankfullyoverthrown. The story starts in 1965 when a young ten year old girl,Sandra has been thrown out of school for being black,despite the factthat she is of white,European parents. Her father,Abraham (played byscreen veteran,Sam Neill)fights to get her back in school,bychallenging the South African courts to insist that she's white). Whenhe is unsuccessful,the family resigns to the fact that their daughterhas to deal with the burden that she will be treated badly,because sheis regarded as black. As the years go by,Sandra (now played as an adultby Sophie Okonedo,who absolutely shone in 'Hotel Rwanda')has grown intoa beautiful woman,who is desired by one of the black locals, whichdisturbs Abe much (Abe is as much a vile racist as the rest of thepopulation of the town). The rest of the film spans over a twenty plusyear time frame that tells much of South Africa's social history,setagainst Sandra's tempestuous own personal history. The cast is roundedout by Alice Krige (as Sandra's long suffering mother,Sannie),TonyKgorogue,as Sandra's lover & father of her children, who turns out tobe hot tempered & abusive toward Sandra, as well as a cast of SouthAfrican actors that turn in shining performances. The screenplay(written by Helen Crawley,Jessie Keyl & Helena Kriel) makes the mostout of what was easily a dark period in South Africa's social history(and what some,even to this day,would love nothing better than to dobut bring back). Rated PG-13 by the MPAA,this film contains some stronglanguage,brief nudity & sexuality,and some truly disturbing images ofracist fueled violence.

    3. gradyharp from United States
      30 Mar 2012, 9:48 pm

      Too few of us realize the atrocities of Apartheid, a social andpolitical policy of racial segregation and discrimination enforced bywhite minority governments in South Africa from 1948 to 1994. 'The termapartheid (from the Afrikaans word for "apartness") was coined in the1930s and used as a political slogan of the National Party in the early1940s, but the policy itself extends back to the beginning of whitesettlement in South Africa in 1652. After the primarily AfrikanerNationalists came to power in 1948, the social custom of apartheid wassystematized under law. The implementation of the policy, laterreferred to as "separate development," was made possible by thePopulation Registration Act of 1950, which put all South Africans intothree racial categories: Bantu (black African), white, or Coloured (ofmixed race).' Yes, everyone knows the story of Nelson Mandela and theend of Apartheid, but too few of us recognize the appalling effects ofthat system on the peoples of South Africa. This true story shouldalter that and perhaps bring a higher degree of respect for those whosurvived that ugly system. Based on the book 'When She Was White' byJudith Stone, Anthony Fabian wrote the story (with Helen Crawley,Jessie Keyt and Helena Kriel) and directs this terrifying butultimately triumphant film – a story we shall not soon forget.

      Abraham and Lannie Laing (Sam Neill and Alice Krige) are Afrikaans wholive and work their general store in the countryside with their twochildren Sandra (Ella Ramangwane as the young Sandra and Sphie Okenedoas the mature Sandra) and Henry. The Laings have sequestered themselvesbecause their daughter appears black. Abraham constantly defends the'whiteness' of his daughter at every level of the government andfinally the Laings obtain admission to private white school for Sandraand Henry. The school quickly dismisses Sandra because she 'is black',is beaten by teachers, and the school calls in doctors and othergovernment support to back their opinion. But through the tirelessefforts of Abraham he finally gets a certification of Sandra's'whiteness'. Sandra faces intolerance from the community but findssolace in the attention of a 'kaffir', Petrus Zwane (Tony Kgoroge) andin time the frustrated Sandra accepts the warmth of Petrus and theyfall in love. Abraham is furious and casts Sandra out of his home:Sandra and Petrus move into a black village and have babies until thewhites demand the land on which the blacks are living and destroySandra and Petrus's home. Petrus turns to drink and blames his loss ofall his goods on marrying a 'white girl': Sandra and her now threechildren move to Johannesburg to find safety and employment, havingbeen rejected by Sandra's parents. When the Apartheid is banishedSandra becomes a spokesperson for her people and her country becauseshe 'never gave up'.

      In this history of the Apartheid the impact is made so very muchstronger by the fact that the film shows both sides of the struggle -from the white viewpoint and the black viewpoint. Sandra's father mayhave fought against the prejudice but when his daughter accepts beingblack, he is as raw and prejudiced as the rest of the whites. Sandra'smother (played with compassion by Alice Krige) maintains her love andsupport of her beloved daughter but by societal demands she must bow toher husband's wishes. As Sandra Sophie Okenedo shines in a performancethat is brilliantly three dimensional – she is an enormously giftedactress. The entire large cast is excellent, recreating a period inhistory we can only hope will never happen again. This is a whollysatisfying film.

      Grady Harp

    4. les6969 from United Kingdom
      30 Mar 2012, 9:48 pm

      This is a very well made film portraying the complicated life of SandraLaing (Sophie Okonedo), I won't bore you with the details as otherposters have already gone into this. All the acting is first class. SamNeill as Abraham and Alice Krige as Sannie Laing are both outstanding.

      Sophie Okonedo is her usual excellent self and acts a full range ofemotions throughout as she portrays Sandra Laing's disturbing story.

      The actress playing the young Sandra Laing is also excellent.

      The fact that this is true story is very disturbing, especially thecharacter of Abraham Laing. He is clearly racist yet loves his daughtereven though she is dark skinned. His obsession with having herclassified and treated as white as well as his eagerness to kill blackpeople who get within six feet of his daughter is really disturbing,just what went through the mans mind is a mystery to anyone with afunctioning brain. However the film does not just portray the whitebigotry of South Africa, it also shows the hypocrisy of Sandra's blacklover, he has sex with her even though she is just 15 at the time,refuses to marry her even though she has two of his children, and worsehe blames her for any 'bad luck' that they have and physically abusesher so badly that she is forced to leave with her children. Sandra'smother is torn between her bigoted husband and her daughter who sheloves, but it is not until late in life that she realises the fullextent of her mistake. The father also near his death realises his bigmistake but is this just to clear his conscience? His wife refuses tolet him track down his daughter saying it is too late and he mustsuffer now as he has made everyone else suffer. As a footnote to thefilm, the end credits show the real Sophie and some old film of her asa child with her parents. It is hard to understand why, but both herbrothers ( one of whom was also born dark skinned ) refuse to haveanything to do with her. All in all this is a great film and well worthviewing. It will leave you thinking that is for sure.

    5. John DeSando ( from Columbus, Ohio
      30 Mar 2012, 9:48 pm

      "I'm not black!" Sandra

      The color of Sandra Laing (Sophie Okonedo) colors her life beyond whatanyone might dream possible. Born black of white parents Sannie (AliceKrige) and Abraham (Sam Neill), who own a rural general store, Sandrais the center of Skin, a drama played against the harrowing years ofApartheid. She is breaking the law if she lives as a black with whites,so her dad devotes years to have her officially declared white.

      But even for isolated Afrikaners like the Laings, life is complicated,especially when Sandra falls in love and has a baby with a blackfarmer, Petrus (Tony Kgoroge). Although the film becomes melodramaticor operatic at times, underneath is a core of truth about a humancondition that fosters racial hatred and enslavement even in the modernworld. It takes a Mandela to free blacks in Africa, but it is up to thestrong of heart like Sandra to make that freedom a reality, day by day.

      The film, sometimes playing like J. M. Coetzee Coeteze's violent whiteversus black world, does a credible job showing the contradictions incharacters like her dad, who enforces the separation of black andwhites but seems to know he is wrong. Yet, he cannot help himself; thisis the strength of the film, the consistent struggle between righteoustradition (read separation) and goodness and fairness. Although we knowapartheid will end, and Abraham will be a victim of his ownwillfulness, the film manages to retain the sense of futility forblacks, artistically not easy to do when history has made itsstatement.

      The goodness often manifests itself in her mother, a loving womandriven by her husband to lose her daughter and watch him suffer remorsetoo strong to describe. The truth lies in the pain that an oppressedpeople have endured for hundreds of years on both sides of theAtlantic.

      For that truth, Skin is worth experiencing.

    6. LilMsDivaU from United States
      30 Mar 2012, 9:48 pm

      This is a great film that is based on the true story of Sandra Liang inSouth Africa. Sandra, who has dark skin, was born to two white parentsin the heat of the apartheid. She struggles to define herself againstthe classifications of society. Her dad, who is racist, causes strainon her own self discovery, and strains her relationship with her motheras well. The film chronicles her adventures at an all white school, aswell as her marriage to a black man, although she is "white". Herjourney is intriguing. The film itself makes you question therace-labeling system.

      It is a great film that will raise questions and spark intriguingdebates on what it means to be black.

    7. TxMike from Houston, Tx, USA, Earth
      30 Mar 2012, 9:48 pm

      This movie is based on a real person and her true story. However theend credits points out that some characters and some situations werecreated for dramatic effect, that's the way movies are made. But I willassume most of it is accurate.

      Sophie Okonedo is the adult Sandra Laing who, in 1955, was born duringthe period of apartheid in South Africa. The official teaching of thewhite South Africans, the Afrikans, was that white and black peoplewere "different" and they should be kept apart. Apartheid.

      This is important for this story because Sandra's parents were bothwhite Afrikans, but Sandra was brown with black, kinky hair. Her skinwas not as dark as the usual black but clearly in looks more black thanwhite.

      Although her parents and brother treated her and loved her all thesame, this created many problems for Sandra growing up, starting withboarding school where the other students and even the faculty looked ather as black, and treated her that way. When she was a teen, desperatefor acceptance and love, she met and ran off with a black man, whichwas strictly illegal since her parents had her officially classified bythe government as "white". Plus her unyielding father rejected her, heso strongly upheld the ideals of apartheid.

      South African actress Alice Krige is the mother, Sannie Laing. TheIrish and New Zealander Sam Neill of Jurassic Park fame is the dad,Abraham Laing.

      Very good movie, both for the quality of the story, and also for itssignificance for that period in history. All actors are superb.

      Saw it on Netflix streaming.

    8. curtis21 from United States
      30 Mar 2012, 9:48 pm

      Sandra Laing was born to a white mother and father yet she had the skincolor of a black person. Although Sandra's mother bore a baby boy thatcame out to be dark like Sandra, the movie stayed focused on Sandra andthe parents.

      The movie showed that great perseverance can make just as muchdifference as the obstacles. The plot focused on the obstacle of beingcolored in a white world or family for that matter as this white familytried to raise their daughter that looked black in South Africa. Blackpeople were being treated as beneath whites but Sandra was taught byher father to "never give up".

      Sandra's parent had her classified as white with the Government but allof the hardships Sandra and the family face forces Sandra to questionher Identity where Sandra eventually finds comfort with a black mannames Pedrus.

      Sandra showed great strength throughout the movie as the movie hadhighs and lows from fun or intense moments to feeling the sad emotions.It was presented in such a way that the audience could feel what wasgoing on in many scenes. The acting was great with the facialexpressions as all of the actors in the movie assumed their character.

    9. planktonrules from Bradenton, Florida
      30 Mar 2012, 9:48 pm

      This is the true and very sad story of a young South African, SandraLaing. Oddly, despite having two white biological parents, she hadblack features and skin that made her look biracial–a SERIOUS problemin South Africa during Apartheid! And because of that, she had not onlylegal problems (the parents had to fight in court to have her declared'white'–otherwise, she would have been barred from most schools) butsocial ones as racists wanted nothing to do with this girl. Herchildhood must have been incredibly lonely…very, very lonely.

      As Sandra grew, her problems fitting in didn't disappear–and in someways they got a lot worse. Her own father slowly turned againsther–resenting her for her skin color and the embarrassment her let itcause him. Eventually, Sandra met a black man and fell in love–and herracist father couldn't stand her being with 'one of them'! Mom'sreaction wasn't much better. Eventually Sandra ran off to Swazilandwith him–hoping to escape her insane life. Unfortunately, she wascaptured and imprisoned for crossing the border illegally. And, in theprocess, she was disowned by her loving family. Eventually, her newboyfriend also leaves her, as he, too, has trouble coping with herrace–she is too 'white' for him! In the end, she is feeling lost andafter two decades of estrangement, Sandra goes looking for her family.

      All in all, this is a heartbreaking movie–particularly so because it'sall based on real life people. The acting, direction and entireproduction is very good and it's a film that no doubt will effect you.You just can't help seeing this sad tale and not feeling terrible forpoor Sandra.

      By the way, you do wonder why the Laing family didn't just leave SouthAfrica. They didn't–so it's only an academic question. But theirdecision to remain in such a hostile environment s quite curious–aswere her parents' continuing to support the Apartheid system! Crazy.

      Also, I looked for a picture of the real Sandra Laing and noticed thather father did NOT look the least bit like Sam Neill! Bald and dulllooking–not at all a hunk-meister like Neill!!

    10. kevinkishin from United States
      30 Mar 2012, 9:48 pm

      I just saw this movie the acting was superb and genuine,Sophie Okonedoshould have been nominated for another Oscar for her performance,thehurt resonating from this movie was a shocker especially when yourfamily turns against you because of a inhumane system of law,Sam Neillplayed his part well too well his character was mean and bigoted andhypocritical,the real Sandra Laing gets much respect from me topersevere the way she did during her hardship!!Sandra is a Black Womanwho born into a white family that was not her fault but the SOUTHAFRIKAANER gov. ridiculed her and her family causing a rift that won'theal anytime soon for her.

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