Marnie Ellen Hertzler shares the sentiment, “Creative Capital has always been one of the pinnacles of support within the arts,” she told us over email, “For an artist and filmmaker like me—someone without a super traditional background, who approaches storytelling from a place outside of genre and with hybridity, and often pulling from experiences outside of the arts; psychology and psychiatry, the sciences and technology—Creative Capital is the ideal partner. It embraces artists with this non-traditional pathway towards creation and creativity.”
Hertzler will be putting her grant towards a new short film project titled “Frog Hollow”—which will star an artificial intelligence humanoid robot as the character “Francis,” who dreams of becoming a frog. By casting an android instead of a conventional actor, Hertzler hopes the film will serve as “a metaphor for the human condition in our present day. Ultimately 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.”
But beyond the financial support for an ambitious collaboration with an expensive-sounding synthetic lifeform, Hertzler’s take on the award’s meaning might be seen as something akin to her character’s quest for belonging: “It may be obvious to say I was absolutely overjoyed by the news of receiving this award—which of course I was—but most of all I felt encouraged and validated. Non-traditional trajectories and ways of telling stories are possible and valuable. It’s easy to feel lonely in creative artistic pursuits that may be seen as risky or uncategorizable and therefore overlooked, but awards as renown and gloriously behemoth as Creative Capital lessen that isolation.”
More information about each artist:
Jackie Milad: Jackie Milad received the Creative Capital Award in 2024. Jackie Milad is a Baltimore City-based artist whose mixed-media paintings and collages address the history and complexities of dispersed cultural heritage and multi-ethnic identity. She has participated in numerous group and solo exhibitions nationally and internationally. Select exhibitions include Harvey B. Gantt Center (Charlotte, NC), The Walters Art Museum (Baltimore, MD), The Baltimore Museum of Art (Baltimore, MD), The Mint Museum (Charlotte, NC), Academy Art Museum (Easton, MD), Arthur Ross Gallery University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, PA), Weatherspoon Museum (Greensboro, NC), Museo de Arte de Mazatlan (Mazatlan, MX). Milad is a recipient of the Individual Artist Grant from Maryland State Arts Council. In 2019, she was a Robert W. Deutsch Foundation Ruby Grantee. In 2022, Jackie received the Municipal Art Society of Baltimore City Travel Prize to conduct in-depth research on the Egyptian antiquities held at the British Museum and Petrie Museums in London. Her work is included in several public collections, including Johns Hopkins University Sheridan Library, The Baltimore Museum of Art, Academy Art Museum, Robert W. Deutsch Foundation, and Pizzuti Collection. Milad received her BFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University, and her MFA from Towson University.
Marnie Ellen Hertzler is a filmmaker whose films and animations often explore a multi-media approach to film presentation and distribution and has utilized live performance, installation, and web design to accompany her work. Influenced by her background in both psychology and fine arts, she creates films that act as cinematic platforms for the exploration of interpersonal relationships, and the technology that defines us. Her recent film work takes on a hybrid, docu-fiction format that blends traditional documentary and narrative elements to tell a story. She received her BFA in Sculpture and Extended Media from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2010. In 2018 Marnie was named one of Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film. She is a Rubys Artist Grant recipient (2023), Bemis Center Fellow (2023), Vermont Studio Center Fellow (2023), MacDowell Fellow (2019-2020), Saul Zaentz Fellow, IFP Narrative Lab Fellow (2019), and American Film Festival’s US Works in Progress Fellow (2018). Her first feature film, CRESTONE premiered at True/False in 2020, and went on to play at SXSW, CPH:DOX, and many national and international programs and film festivals and was released digitally and on BlueRay in February of 2021 by Utopia Distribution. Her previous short films have screened at Locarno Film Festival, Rotterdam International Film Festival, MoMA, Ann Arbor Film Festival, and more. Her work has appeared on Criterion Collection, Filmmaker Magazine, IndieWire, NoBudge, and Eyeslicer Season 2.