A chilling tale of microbes, medicine and money, this Oscar shortlisted film has changed the landscape of the Lyme epidemic, bringing unprecedented awareness in an engaging and accessible way. The definitive record of the Lyme controversy, UNDER OUR SKIN exposes a hidden story of medical and scientific malfeasance and neglect. As official case numbers explode and hundreds of thousands of people around the world go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, the film is as relevant and timely as ever.
The newly released Director's Cut includes 15-minutes of restored footage, re-edited scenes and character updates. (2008-2014, 100 min.)
In the early 1970's, a mysterious ailment was discovered among children living around the town of Lyme, CT. What was first diagnosed as isolated cases of juvenile arthritis, eventually became known as Lyme disease, an illness triggered by spiral-shaped bacteria, similar to the microorganisms that cause syphilis. Today, many of those untreated will suffer chronic debilitating illness. Some unknowingly will pass the disease onto their unborn children. Many will lose their livelihoods, and still others, their lives.
Yet Lyme disease is one of the most misunderstood and controversial illnesses of our time. Difficult to test accurately, tens of thousands of people go undiagnosed—or misdiagnosed with such conditions as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, autism, MS and ALS. The Centers for Disease Control estimates more than 300,000 people acquire Lyme disease each year, a number greater than breast cancers and AIDS combined. And yet, the medical establishment—with profound influence from the insurance industry—has stated that the disease is easily detectable and treatable, and that “chronic Lyme” is some other unrecognized syndrome or a completely psychosomatic disorder.
UNDER OUR SKIN is a powerful and often terrifying look not only at the science and politics of the disease, but also the personal stories of those whose lives have been affected and nearly destroyed. From a few brave doctors who risk their medical licenses, to patients who once led active lives but now can barely walk, the film uncovers a hidden world that will astound viewers. While exposing a broken health care and medical research system, the film also gives voice to those who believe that instead of a crisis, Lyme is simply a "disease du jour," over diagnosed and contributing to another crisis: the looming resistance of microbes and ineffectuality of antibiotics. As suspenseful and hair-raising as any Hollywood thriller, UNDER OUR SKIN is sure to get under yours.
Andy Abrahams Wilson
Eva Ilona Brzeski
Semifinalist, Best Documentary Feature
Finalist, Audience Choice Award
Tribeca Film Festival
Best of Festival/Best Director
Fargo Film Festival
Lyme disease is a canary in the coal mine and case study for what’s poisonous in both our environment and our science. At the epicenter a tiny microbe looms, providing a powerful symbol for an issue that is hidden and lurking—so small yet immense, so real but unrecognized. What has gotten under our skin is not just a microorganism, but a lethal system which has abandoned some of the most needy and threatens us all. Our own human skin is a microcosm of the earth, and the extent to which the earth’s body is out of balance, so is our own.
I want to show the horror of an illness and an ill system that too long has been ignored. But I also want to show the human and natural beauty right next to it. Sometimes indistinguishable, the beauty and horror are intertwined. If UNDER OUR SKIN merely perpetuates the idea that the natural world is perilous, or that human nature is corrupt, we miss out on the beauty that surrounds us. On the other hand, if we are lulled by convention and don’t look beneath the surface, we risk infection by the equally dangerous maladies of ignorance and indifference.
– Andy Abrahams Wilson, San Francisco
Semifinalist, Academy Awards, Best Documentary Feature
Finalist, Audience Choice Award, Tribeca Film Festival (World Premiere)
Winner, Best of Festival, Fargo Film Festival
Winner, Best Documentaries of 2010, Video Librarian
Winner, Best Documentary, Houston International Film Festival
Winner, Best Documentary, Sonoma International Film Festival
Winner, Audience Favorite, Durango Independent Film Festival
Winner, Best Documentary, Okanagan (Canada) International Film Festival
Winner, Best Documentary, Camden International Film Festival
Winner, Best Picture Silver Award, International Health Film Festival (Greece)
Winner, Best in Health & Science, CINE Golden Eagle Awards
Winner, Best in Infectious Diseases, International Health & Medical Media Awards
"Like a well-made thriller, gets under your skin…more deeply terrifying than any slasher film you'll ever see."
- Michael O'Sullivan, The Washington Post
"Heart-rending...scary enough to make the faint of heart decide never to venture into the woods."
- Stephen Holden, New York Times
"Fascinating...artful and compelling."
- Frank DiGiacomo, Vanity Fair
"Eye-opening...frightening, powerful stuff."
- Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times
"Head-spinning...riveting...a rigorously researched and highly thorough piece of investigative reporting."
- Lauren Wissot, Slant Magazine
"Stirs the deepest emotions and reveals the most unsettling truth."
- Justin Berton, San Francisco Chronicle
"Takes what seems to be a straightforward subject...and turns it into a detective story, a romance, an inspirational drama, a conspiracy thriller and a science lesson, all in one."
- David Bianculli, TVWorthWatching.com
"Enlightening and alarming...Wilson takes us on a journey of discovery."
- Leonard Maltin, Film Critic
"The visual beauty of the film underlies its most haunting theme. The closer humans get to nature, the more sensitive they must become to its hidden dangers. UNDER OUR SKIN details a medical nightmare. The movie only looks like a sun-kissed dream."
- Michael Sragow, Baltimore Sun
"Infectiously persuasive...targets both the heart and brain."
- Sarah Sluis, The Hollywood Reporter
"[A] dizzying and dramatic documentary...handsomely reported and photographed."
- Andrew O'Hehir, Salon Magazine
- Alissa Simon, Variety
"Excellent filmmaking...stunning cinematography...will grab your attention and hold it from start to finish."
- Jennifer Merin, About.com
"Enthralling and powerful...should bring the arguments surrounding chronic Lyme disease to a wider international audience."
- Julian Upton, The Lancet