METAMORPHOSE is a one-location Sci-Fi mystery short film centered around Morphia, a MS Physics student who experiences a life-altering event when she loses her girlfriend, Pandora, to illness. Grieving the loss, Morphia makes a startling discovery – she possesses the ability to traverse between parallel universes. Raised by a single mother, Morphia has always carried vivid memories of her absent father. On the other hand, Pandora, her devoted girlfriend since high school, is pursuing her MA in Psychology. Their deep emotional connection becomes the cornerstone of Morphia's journey. As Morphia delves into her newfound powers, she embarks on an adventure to unravel the mysteries of her own parentage. Simultaneously, she learns about the enigmatic circumstances surrounding Pandora's unusual targeting by another version of herself from a parallel universe. The film weaves together themes of dreams, love, loss, self-discovery, and the intricacies of multiverse travel, offering viewers a thought-provoking and emotionally resonant narrative.

  • Elise Chun Chen Tsai
  • Elise Chun Chen Tsai
  • Arcadia Squires
    Key Cast
  • Meriselle La-on
    Key Cast
    "Pandora Laplace"
  • William Hsu
    Key Cast
  • Joao Cueto
    Director of Photography
  • Enrique J. Rios-Ellis
    Boom Operator
  • Vivian Chan
    Production Assistant
  • Hailey Ip
    BTS Photographer
  • Fiona Liu
    Score Composer
  • Amber Liu
  • Elise Chun Chen Tsai
  • Project Type:
    Short, Student
  • Runtime:
    16 minutes 57 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    July 22, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    1,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    Yes - The New School
Director Biography - Elise Chun Chen Tsai

Elise Chun Chen Tsai is a Taiwanese multimedia artist and storyteller whose current focuses are on photography and cinematography. A common theme in Tsai’s creation is dreams; to her, dreaming is not only a temporary escape from her stresses, but also a palace of inspiration. Tsai is currently based in New York and working everywhere.

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Director Statement

As an artist who not only dreams in detail every single night but also experiences lucid dreams, I often wonder if people's creativity becomes particularly active when they are asleep, and how dreams affect artists’ creations. Thus, I’ve done my BFA Photography thesis on dreams and was introduced to the idea of collective unconscious. With that, I’ve written the initial script for METAMORPHOSE while asking myself: What could possibly happen if humans can consciously enter the collective unconscious world? According to Carl Jung, the collective unconscious is the part of the subconscious common to all human beings, consisting of inherited, universal symbols and archetypes. These symbols and archetypes are thought to exist in our dreams, but also in mythology, folklore, and art, and can provide insight into our unconscious thoughts and emotions. According to Jung, dreams are an important means of accessing the collective unconscious because they allow us to access deeper levels of meaning and understanding. He suggests that dreams can be interpreted by analyzing the symbols and archetypes that appear in them, which can reveal information about our unconscious desires, fears and motivations. Likewise, Sigmund Freud considered dreams as a way of entering the unconscious, although he was more concerned with the personal psyche and the role of repressed desires and emotions in dream interpretation. In general, both Freud and Jung viewed dreams as a way of revealing the deeper psyche, and believed that the symbols and archetypes that arise in dreams can provide valuable insight into our inner self. As we know, the autonomic nervous system (ANS) is a division of the peripheral nervous system responsible for controlling essential involuntary physiological processes within the body, including the regulation of heart rate, blood pressure, respiration, and sexual arousal. With that information in mind, the reason why Morphia can travel between universes after the loss of Pandora is because through the dramatic mood swings, she enabled her ability to control her ANS, which allows her and others like her to send their spirits to different universes through the act of dreaming. The idea is that since these “people” have the ability to control their bodies’ (which act as the container of their spirits) ANS, through collective unconscious, they can not only transport their spirits, but also their bodies. On the other hand, the reason I named the short as METAMORPHOSE is because the character Morphia was inspired by Morpheus, the Greek God of Dreams, who appeared in the poem “Metamorphoses” written by Ovid Overview. To me, as the writer and director, this short film acts as the proof of concept of the feature film that I am currently writing. In the feature, the story continues after the third Morphia wakes up from the “nightmare,” where she becomes the main character and has to work with the Pandora in that universe to avoid getting hunted by Delta-Morphia.