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[WATCH] 'Knives And Skin' Director Discusses

With her second feature, Knives and Skin, Jennifer Reeder drew on shorts she’d made in the recent past, “about the idea of coming of age as a lifelong process.”

“Those films did really well,” the director told Deadline in Tribeca, “and I knew that my investment in the characters and the story just wasn’t done yet.”

Starring Kate Arrington and Marika Engelhardt, the feminist teen noir centers on the disappearance of a young girl, and the effects it has on her rural Midwest community.

Dealing with “issues around consent,” the feature feels “relatively timely,” Reeder explained, though it was written before the dawn of #MeToo. To the director, the pic is, more than anything, “a story about female friendship as a survival strategy.”

For Arrington and Engelhardt, Knives and Skin instantly stood out, with a voice all its own. “I had never read anything like it before in my life,” Arrington shared, in studio with her director and co-star. “To me, it’s just an amazing woman with a really strong point of view.”

Before reading Reeder’s script, Engelhardt had been warned that the piece was “out there” and “pretty wild.”

“I read it and was like, ‘Am I weird? Because it’s not that weird to me.’ I immediately connected with Jennifer’s point of view,” the actress said. “The complexity of the female characters was a huge draw, and her focus on the particular challenges that people face in small towns, that women face when dealing with trauma, and just coping with their lives, and how that can take a lot of different, interesting forms that I think usually aren’t explored with such care.”

To take a look at our conversation with the director and stars of Knives and Skin, click above.

The Deadline Studio is presented by Hyundai.

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