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"Transience" is an experimental short film that follows a girl who explores the concepts of life and death, and the interactions between the two, in the world around her. The girl’s inner thoughts are told entirely through poetry, with her words reflecting the settings she travels through. She examines the coexistence of life and death in order to find her place within the world.

  • Marissa Michel
    Ode to a Sunrise
  • Marissa Michel
    Ode to a Sunrise
  • Marissa Michel
    Ode to a Sunrise
  • Abigail Etienne
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Experimental, Short, Student
  • Genres:
    Indie, experimental
  • Runtime:
    4 minutes 31 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    August 3, 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 All American High School Film Festival and the 2021 Prague International Indie Film Festival. www.marissamichel.com

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Director Statement

This short was inspired by my desire to experiment with poetry and film, and communicate my thoughts and perspective on the world with others. Thus, all of the protagonists' thoughts are communicated through voice over, in order to bring the audience into the young girl's mind. In the beginning of the film, the protagonist explains her desire for more joy and freedom in life, and wonders if God listens to her. By the end of the short, the girl is shown sinking into grass, adorned in flowers, as if she has died. The ending is symbolic of rebirth, as the girl examines the influence of the past on the present, and acknowledges the coexistence of life and death in order to find peace. I titled the film "Transience" in order to encapsulate the transitory nature of life. As a girl of Puerto-Rican and Haitian heritage, I wanted to highlight an aspect of my experience and worldview as a woman of color through my storytelling.