Under the Skin

The blue depths of the swimming pool are her home. Keesje is a passionate synchronised swimmer, and the big competition is just around the corner. However, when a fight erupts between the girls during the final rehearsal, everything changes. The subtle nuances between belonging and feeling marginalised begin to surface.

Under the Skin tells the story of Keesje, a 15-year old introvert. She and her friends, Lize and Dunja swim together in a synchronized swimming team. From the outside it all looks like the perfect friendship, but behind the surface hide continuous tensions between the girls. Keesje is constantly afraid of being rejected and longs to maintain her position in the group. While the team is training for the National Synchronized Swimming Competition, Keesje tries to hold her own within her group of friends. She allows herself to be dragged into the vicious behavior of Lize and Dunja, but is gradually becoming alienated from herself. While Liza and Dunja are good with words, Keesje’s strength is her physical. While the pressure of the match increases, Keesje loses sight of who she is. She constantly fears she will lose out. Athough she tries to suppress her frustrations, an outburst is the inevitable consequence. 

Student short | Narrative Fiction | 00:14:02 | Themes: Coming of Age, Youth, Bullying | 1.85:1 | The Netherlands | Spoken language: Dutch | Subtitles: English | Format: DCP, ProRes | Dolby 5.1 & Stereo LtRt

International premiere: Berlinale Generation Kplus, 2020.


Festival Selections:

  • Nederlands Film Festival 2019, student competition, The Netherlands
  • Berlinale 2020, Generation Kplus, Germany.


  • Wildcard Award worth €50.000, Netherlands Film Festival 2019, The Netherlands.


Client: Emma Branderhorst
Date: September 1, 2019
Services: Festival distribution & Strategy