The Skin of Others is a story of modern Australia, told through the extraordinary life of Aboriginal WW1 soldier Douglas Grant (c.1885-1951).
A famous man in his day, Douglas Grant is a Forrest Gump figure… if Gump had been black, an intellectual, a journalist, a soldier, and a bagpipe player with a fine Scottish accent.
Featuring the acclaimed Indigenous actor Balang Tom E. Lewis in his final performance (as Douglas Grant) and guest appearances from Max Cullen and Archie Roach, this film movingly interweaves the lives of Grant and Lewis: two truly remarkable men.
Compellingly, this is also the story of Australia, its violent past and its future potential. It recounts a tragic national history of Australian colonial relations with First Nations people, explores the ways we tell the story of our nation, and ultimately dreams of a more reconciled and inclusive Australian future.
Douglas Grant was a cultural bridge-builder when it was extremely dangerous to be an Aboriginal man seeking reconciliation across the Australian racial divide. So, with such an inspirational story, why has Douglas Grant been forgotten to history?
The Skin of Others, which premiered at the Sydney Film Festival, seeks to remedy this situation, and bring Grant’s extraordinary life back to public attention.
The film is also a celebration of Lewis’ unique ability to inhabit the skin of others. From Lewis’ debut screen performance as Jimmie Blacksmith in The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, he has graced Australian screens and stages with his intelligence, charisma, wit and empathy.
This film offers further evidence of his ability to articulate the lives of others. Here, consciously harnessing his own life-experience to the task of presenting Douglas Grant, Lewis demonstrates what a great loss he is to the Australian community.