Second Skin/Book of Miri

Part of: AG: Virtual Versus Real


USA, 2008
Director Juan Carlos Pineiro Escoriaza
91 min
official selection Sheffield Doc/Fest, Hot Docs, SXWS

Second Skin takes an intimate look at three sets of computer gamers whose lives have been transformed by online virtual worlds. An emerging genre of computer software called Massively Multiplayer Online games, or MMOs, allows millions of users to interact simultaneously in virtual spaces. Of the 50 million players worldwide, 50 percent consider themselves addicted. From individuals struggling with addiction to couples who have fallen in love without meeting; from disabled players whose lives have been given new purpose to gold farmers, entrepreneurs and widows, Second Skin opens viewers’ eyes to a phenomenon that may permanently change the way human beings interact.

In March 2008, Second Skin premiered opening night of SXSW. Without any news of a theatrical or DVD release, Second Skin landed extensive coverage in Newsweek, NPR, Wired, BBC, The Dr. Phil Show, Boston Globe, Variety and dozens of other major media outlets. Second Skin was also voted the #4 Documentary of 2008 by internet juggernaut Ain’t It Cool News.

This August, Second Skin will become the first widely released movie about virtual worlds – a movie for the 50 million gamers who spend most of their time in virtual worlds, and all those curious to understand this phenomenon.

Denmark, 2009
director Katrine Philp
29 min

Miri is a young librarian who leads a second life on the Internet. She has created a glamorous alter ego on her blog using photographs and text. Miri likes nothing better than to pose wearing a funky dress or a cool pair of 1960s-style sunglasses. Click! And she’s taken another great photo of herself. Click! And she’s uploaded it to her blog. The blog is where the dream version of Miri lives. Nonetheless, things are not going so well in real life – something she writes about quite openheartedly in her blog. She seems to find it easier to express her feelings online than in real life. Writing is a comfort to Miri, but she is still alone in her flat in a small town in Sweden. Directed by Katrine Philp, a student at the Danish Film School, this film mirrors Miri’s extremely stylized blog, echoing its stifling atmosphere. We see Miri at work at the library, walled in by rows of books. And we feel that same claustrophobia when we see her at home, cut off and closed off, her face in the cold light of her computer screen.