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#SkinDeep: The Battle Over #Morgellons from Director #PiWare. How Deep Does It Go?
Skin Deep allows its’ audience to experience the reality of Morgellons through the emotions of the individuals who play a role in establishing the history of this cryptic phenomenon. Through these characters, we feel elation, self-consciousness, desperation, fear, and devastation all while the wheels of time deliver us to compelling milestone achievements in an ongoing scientific investigation. Skin Deep memorably carries its’ viewer through the origins of modern-day Morgellons disease up to the latest scientific revelations. People who see this film will know what it feels like to have Morgellons, will relate to the characters that are skeptical about what Morgellons is, and will remember how they felt the moment they realized that Morgellons is a real disease.
Skin Deep presents the story of Cindy, a registered nurse with Morgellons, as she navigates from a career and progresses through marriage to ultimately becoming Director of the organization which funds research initiatives and is named after her late husband, Charles Holman.
Through the film, we see other characters elsewhere, each experiencing Morgellons from their own point of view. Characters on each front, believers and skeptics alike and even those on the sidelines that are analyzing the effects of patients experiencing a contested disease. We see two brothers torn apart by their differing experiences with the disease and witness their efforts to reconcile after. Skin Deep accomplishes presenting the Morgellons phenomenon in a way that the general audience can relate to.
Dr. Feldman, for example, is an accomplished dermatologist who sees many Morgellons patients in his practice. From his perspective, Morgellons is a psychological disorder. Don’t be quick to assume he is the antagonist, however. In fact, the film demonstrates that Dr. Feldman treats each of his patients with respect and genuinely cares about their wellbeing.
The transition between how doctor Feldman experiences Morgellons, and how Cindy experiences Morgellons, culminate when she invites him to speak at the annual Morgellons Disease Conference in Austin Texas where the latest scientific findings are presented.
Feldman and Marianne Middelveen discuss the fiber composition and she points out she doesn’t have a blue head of hair.
One scene defines the narrative and illustrates the struggle of this story, the quest for knowledge. There’s an old saying, “Knowing is half the battle.”
In this scene, Dr. Feldman sits with microbiologist Marianne Middelveen while she shows him what her research demonstrates in regard to an infectious agent, and how the fibers of Morgellons patients are of human origin and not textile in nature. Let’s look at his reaction in that scene:
As we can see, Dr. Feldman stops and thinks about the knowledge that Marianne presents to him. His educated understanding of a serious condition is challenged, he’s aware Morgellons causes his own patients a great deal of pain and trauma, but can he accept the evidence that there’s an infectious process behind it?
Charles Holman himself is revealed to many for the first time in this film and is, deservedly, reveled throughout. His devotion to Cindy is particularly moving as the movie progresses.
There are several memorable characters in Skin Deep, but Charles Holman himself steals the show early on as we relive his romance with Cindy and empathize with his concern about her mysterious condition. Through old video and audio recordings Skin Deep affords us the opportunity to meet Charles Holman. We’re there as Charles and Cindy experience skepticism by professional dermatologists, and when they are featured on the local news in a piece showcasing the contested illness. We see him try to reason with doctors on Cindy’s behalf before another dermatologist describes a condition where both husband and wife are delusional. Charles embodies the struggle of having Morgellons one day universally recognized, and to that end, it is fitting the organization Cindy heads up is named in his honor.
One of the best aspects of this film is the sound design. The director manages to capture the emotions of each of the players and convey them back to the audience with the reinforcement of moving ambiance. If you are an audiophile, you won’t be disappointed here. The story has clear progression and the endings for each of the characters are truly memorable. So, does Skin Deep go deep enough? Viewers of Skin Deep will walk away knowing that the Morgellons phenomenon didn’t end with the CDC study in 2012 and that patients very much need and deserve better treatment.
- Introduction, who is Pi Ware and who are your influences as a filmmaker?
- How did you get involved with Morgellons?
- Were you skeptical about Morgellons being real and how did that view evolve over time?
- What was the hardest part about filming Skin Deep?
- How can we utilize this film to help society understand that Morgellons is not a psychosomatic condition?
Jorge Simonet [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]
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