A key intent of To Skin a Cat, is to offer audiences the opportunity to enter various worlds, rarely seen or experienced by the outside world. These include those of the Zulu monarch, the Shembe hierarchy and Dickersons life in the bush with his leopards. Each location is treated with an emphasis on place and mood, inviting audiences to join Dickerson has he traverses a host of different territories, some political, some religious and others scientific.
This is a visually seductive film and the camera emphasizes the vibrancy and beauty of KwaZulu Natal, the Zulu people and the leopard. The use of beautiful, HD footage, filmed using steady cams, jibs, aerial footage and dollys, paints a picture of one of the most lush and inviting regions in Africa.
Stylistically, the films visuals recognize the two, very different worlds Dickerson must traverse. On one hand, the formal, organized world of science, business, and law reflected in highly composed, formal photography. On the other the traditional world of magic, religion and superstition, reflected in organic, mobile camera work, shot primarily off a steady cam and involving following various characters and capturing their visuals and dialogue spontaneously. Formal interviews are inter-spliced with interviews filmed on the move.
Stylistically the film also acknowledges the powerful beliefs of the people of Africa. This is a story of wonder and magic, of faith in forces invisible to us. This is a world in which animals can impart their powers to men, ancestors speak to us in our dreams, and miracles can take place at any time. It is a way of believing that excites the senses. It will be created on camera through mood and lighting, by haunting music and carefully selected shots that suggest that there is more than meets the eye.