Summer of the Cicadas

Don’t worry, this is not a film about bugs. Summer of the Cicadas is a subtle coming-of-age short that offers a glimpse into the life of Caleb Wright, and his relationship with his family. Growing up in an ordinary suburb, Caleb is a shy, quiet, observant Black boy who struggles with fitting in and pleasing those he cares about. Caleb’s sister is his shadow, a bubbly and outgoing girl who supports Caleb. Summer of the Cicadas tackles themes of isolation, curiosity, growth and the complexities of acceptance.

  • Marissa Michel
    Ode to a Sunrise
  • Marissa Michel
    Ode to a Sunrise
  • Marissa Michel
    Ode to a Sunrise
  • Jaiden Gillin
    Key Cast
  • Jaela Gillin
    Key Cast
    "Caleb's sister"
  • Bridgette Gillin
    Key Cast
    "Caleb's Mom"
  • Project Type:
    Experimental, Short, Student
  • Genres:
    Coming of Age, Indie, experimental
  • Runtime:
    5 minutes 15 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    August 25, 2021
  • Production Budget:
    0 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    Yes - Sidwell Friends
  • 2022 All American High School Film Festival
    New York City
    October 22, 2022
    Official Selection (Experimental)
Director Biography - Marissa Michel

Marissa Michel served as the 2020 Prince George’s County Youth Poet Laureate. She is the recipient of multiple national gold medals for poetry in the Scholastic Arts and Writing Awards. Marissa was a 2020 and 2022 American Voice Nominee, and the 2020 Diaz-Mattison Poetry Prize recipient. Her newest writing can be found in The Rising Phoenix Review, the Bridgewater International Poetry Festival, Love Letters To the Mothers and Fathers of the African Diaspora, and elsewhere. Her short film "Renee" premiered as part of the "In Our Heads" anthology at the 2020 Columbia University DiFi Film Festival. Her short film "Ode to a Sunrise" was an Official Selection in the 2021 Prague International Indie Film Festival and the 2021 All American High School Film Festival.

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Director Statement

My inspiration for this short was the desire to tell a coming-of-age story which explores aspects of the black youth identity like isolation and ‘otherness’ as well as support and love. In the short, cicadas appear physically in very few scenes; the larger focus is on their hum. The cicadas represent Caleb’s spirit and mood. In the beginning of the film there is no hum from them, yet as Caleb’s confidence grows, the hum of cicadas swells as well. By the end of the film the hum of cicadas drowns out all other noise. This reflects how Caleb has found a source of happiness, and is more comfortable with who he is.