A white woman with brown hair in a light blue shirt standing in front of a green forest background.

Marnie Ellen Hertzler

Baltimore, MD

Marnie Ellen Hertzler received the Creative Capital Award in 2024. Marnie Ellen Hertzler is a filmmaker in Baltimore, Maryland. Her first feature film, CRESTONE, is a hybrid-documentary set in a dystopian future where the last people alive are a group of SoundCloud rappers. CRESTONE premiered at True/False in 2020, and then played SXSW, CPH:DOX, and many national and international programs and film festivals. CRESTONE was released digitally and on BlueRay in 2021 by Utopia Distribution. Her award winning short films have screened at renowned film festivals such as Locarno and IFFRotterdam, and have been programmed on The Criterion Channel, and in MoMA NYC. Her second feature film, ETERNITY ONE, about a disappearing island community in the Chesapeake Bay, and the ways in which we seek salvation, is in post-production. In 2018, Marnie was named one of Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film. She is an IFP Narrative Lab, Bemis Center, Vermont Studio Center, MacDowell, Saul Zaentz Innovation Fund Fellow, and Rubys Artist Grant recipient. Influenced by her background in both psychology and fine arts, she creates films that act as cinematic platforms for the exploration of interpersonal relationships, the technology that defines us, and the inevitable end of it all.

Frog Hollow

Marnie Ellen Hertzler is a filmmaker led by her past in psychology, fine arts and life in the American South.

Artist Bio

Frog Hollow is a sci-fi narrative film that takes place in a future where an artificially intelligent humanoid robot named Francis lives alone on an island in the Pacific Northwest of the US. Before humans left Earth for space stations, her programmers created her to maintain a living example of human life on the planet. Francis is alone and grapples with the contradictory personality she was programmed and tasked to embody. During one of her mid-day walks in an old growth forest, she stumbles upon a park called “Frog Hollow.” Though she has been programmed to know everything about what a frog is, she holds one in her hand for the very first time. In that moment, a new world opens to her – one filled with understanding and compassion for the life around her – A trait that her programmers seemed to have mysteriously left out of her coding. Francis returns to Frog Hollow day after day to watch the frogs. She reveres them and their natural ability to morph and adapt to their surroundings as they grow. She begins to question her human programmers understanding of human life as something separate from the planet they once inhabited – perhaps this is what prompted their departure.

Frog Hollow is a metaphor for the human condition in our present day. Francis shows us that it is not the technology around us that defines and makes us uniquely human, but our ability to adapt and live in coexistence with our home, the planet Earth.

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Award Year

In Progress