Knives and Skin

‘What is your problem?’ – ‘I don't like it when you do that.’ – ‘Do what?’ – ‘Touch me.’

A small town somewhere in the Midwestern US. For the local teens, high school life would not be complete without football team, marching band, cheerleaders and mascot. The adults are preoccupied with desire, midlife crises and marital problems. The disappearance of the schoolgirl Carolyn Harper rends the facade of normality for the townsfolk. Fear and loss cause the members of Carolyn’s circle to develop desperate coping strategies as they are forced to confront their shallow lives. Jennifer Reeder creates a mysterious world, accentuated by pop-song choirs, reinterpreting genre elements taken from magical realism, musical, absurd comedy and film noir. The result is a dazzling neo-feminist thriller that bathes urgent contemporary themes in a garish light.
by Jennifer Reeder
with Grace Smith, Ireon Roach, Kayla Carter, Tim Hopper, Marika Engelhardt, Raven Whitley, Audrey Francis, Kate Arrington, James Vincent Meredith, Ty Olwin
USA 2019 English 111’ Colour


  • Grace Smith (Joanna Kitzmiller)
  • Ireon Roach (Charlotte Kurtich)
  • Kayla Carter (Laurel Darlington)
  • Tim Hopper (Dan Kitzmiller)
  • Marika Engelhardt (Lisa Harper)
  • Raven Whitley (Carolyn Harper)
  • Audrey Francis (Lynn Kitzmiller)
  • Kate Arrington (Renee Darlington)
  • James Vincent Meredith (Doug Darlington)
  • Ty Olwin (Andy Kitzmiller)


Written and Directed by Jennifer Reeder
Cinematography Christopher Rejano
Editing Mike Olenick
Music Nick Zinner
Sound Design Drew Weir
Sound Jason Culver
Production Design Adri Siriwatt
Costumes Kate Grube
Make-Up Kat Sass
Assistant Director Joshua Schilling
Casting Jennifer S. Rudnicke, Mickie Paskal
Production Manager Quinn Nicholson
Producers Brian Hieggelke, Jan Hieggelke

Produced by

Newcity Chicago Film Project

Jennifer Reeder

Born in Ohio, USA in 1973, she graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). Her multi-award-winning feature films, which have screened at numerous international festivals, focus on stories about relationships, trauma and dealing with such experiences. In 2015, her film Blood Below the Skin screened in Berlinale Shorts; in 2016, Crystal Lake featured in the Generation programme.

Filmography (selection)

2008 Accidents at Home and How They Happen 2010 Seven Songs About Thunder; short film · Tears Cannot Restore Her: Therefore, I Weep; short film 2012 And I Will Rise If Only To Hold You Down; short film 2013 Girls Love Horses; short film 2014 A Million Miles Away; short film 2015 Blood Below the Skin; short film 2016 Marietta Brimble; short film · Crystal Lake; short film 2017 All Small Bodies; short film · Signature Move 2018 I Dream You Dream of Me; short film 2019 Knives and Skin

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2019