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'Thin Skin' captures a portrait of Seattle fueled by family, conflict, and jazz

caption: "Thin Skin" has been a years long project for Seattleites Charles Mudede and Ahamefule Oluo. Now, the movie has made it to the big screen.
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"Thin Skin" has been a years long project for Seattleites Charles Mudede and Ahamefule Oluo. Now, the movie has made it to the big screen.
Courtesy of Cher Culver PR

The new movie "Thin Skin" follows the life of Ahamefule J. Oluo, a newly divorced father who spends his days working a soul-sucking office job, while at night, he works on what he truly loves: his music.

Then, Oluo speaks to his father for the first time in decades, and things take a turn.

"Thin Skin" features an ensemble cast, a veritable who’s who of local celebs.

It was directed by filmmaker and associate editor for The Stranger, Charles Mudede.

It was co-written by Ahamefule Oluo, who plays himself, and his wife, Lindy West.

Oluo's sister, Ijeoma Oluo, plays herself. And comedian Hari Kondabolu plays his doctor.

"Thin Skin" moves in directions you couldn't imagine and leaves you contemplating the connections between family, responsibility, and doing what you love.

And that, explained Mudede, is purposeful.

"I always tell people don't watch this movie with the expectation of what's going to happen next," he said. "The situations, the moments that compose the work, are really where its strengths are."

That's also in part because this film closely follows Ahamefule Oluo's real life, explained screenwriter Lindy West.

"All of this really happened to Aham. And it's based on a stage musical that he wrote," she said. When writing the adaptation, West said the screenwriters began adding in fictional aspects to the work.

"When it really started to click was when we scaled it back to what was in the stage show," she said. "And more specifically, when we realize that Aham's family, his relationship with his mom and his sister, was really the heart of what we were making."

The film was fully shot in South Seattle and features beautiful shots of the city throughout. In one scene, Oluo sits on a bus, as the camera pans outside to a fog-filled South Jackson Street.

But this is not an artistic portrait of Seattle; this is a portrait of an artist in Seattle.

The city itself isn’t overly romanticized. It feels like an authentic view through the eyes of an artist struggling to balance passion for the arts with the reality of an unfulfilling corporate job.

West said the story had to be filmed in Seattle, because that's where it took place. But it's also just not somewhere you see often on film.

"Seattle means so much to both of us and to Charles," West said. "And we had the opportunity to figure out how to make this movie here. And there was just no question about it."

"Thin Skin" is available via video on demand.

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