My Body is My Home – Interview with Tri-C Filmmaker

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My Body is My Home – Interview with Tri-C Filmmaker

In December of 2020, amid college life in a post-covid world, Marissa Roesch, Northeast Ohio native and Tri-C student, released her short film entitled My Body is My Home. Marissa’s creation, filmed right in Parma, proved to be a success, getting into numerous short film festivals, as well as being the runner up in the Exposure Film Fest, an online based film festival for short film creators. The short film subtly brings to light some of the challenges people within the trans and non-binary community face, with a semi-fictional narrative that brings both main characters to life. I had the opportunity to sit and talk with Marissa Roesch about her short film, in which we discussed the creative process behind this short film, her own feelings and thoughts on the trans community and adversity it faces and her next steps as a filmmaker, ahead of her graduation. 

Screenshot from Marissa’s short film

Question: What do Trans rights mean to you?

Answer: “Ah to me? I uh… I have friends that are transgender, and I mean I think a lot of that kind of even lives in what I titled it [the short film], it’s like My Body is My Home, it’s like its more than a title kind of, I don’t know. I mean if you think about it, you know your body is your home its where you live, its where you spend all your time. It’s your longest, most permanent home, and so, just doing whatever you can to be comfortable is so important for people to be able to do freely and without question or judgement. And, you know it’s not up to other people to tell people how to be comfortable. I just wish it wasn’t even an issue. I just wish people could do whatever they wanted.

Q: What was your first jolt of inspiration for writing My Body is My Home?

A: “Um… I was… It was actually for class, but I knew that I wanted to, it was for a genre study class and like I really like drama and I like coming of age stories, so I wanted to focus on that and I was having kind of a hard time actually but my friend who’s in it, Cass, it was coming up on their actual one year anniversary of their top surgery, and so I kind of took that actual event, and then built like a little fake narrative around it. As soon as I thought of it, I wrote it in a couple hours. It was like it just came to me. But yeah, so I just drew from real life and just created.

Q: What does your creative process look like for a project like this? Where do you start?

A: “You know, I’m not generally a writer, I most like to just shoot. So, people would come to me with a script or a video idea, and then I’d just go about how to shoot it but if I’m writing its usually because Ive gotten some random little blip of inspiration from something that has happened. And pretty much every inspiration for anything I’ve done in the past has come from something. Something, some sort of random occurrence. And it doesn’t really have to be anything as serious as this. Like there was one time I was hiking, and I found a cool trail head map that said, ‘Parallel Universe Trail’ and I’m like ‘alright when would I ever see this?’ And then I was like ‘okay I got to put that in a movie.’ So just random things. But it’s always something around me that will inspire me to write something. It comes from somewhere in the real world.

Q: When you get recognition for your creative successes, is it hard to stay professional. There’s a lot of attention that comes to you, so is it hard to keep your composure ever? 

A: “A little bit, I think, because uh I don’t know, this thing was a school project, but I could tell that it was a little bit better than just a school project, in my opinion. It’s gotten… I’m still surprised at how much traction it’s gotten. It’s gotten into multiple festivals, even over in the UK, like it’s been so random, and then you reached out to me. I don’t know, it still surprises me that like…. something that I just made for school has just been getting so much recognition. And I’m glad that it has because I think it is like an important piece, like it’s better than some random little comedy sketch I could’ve shot or something. But yeah, it’s very strange to me. I just don’t know. I don’t know how to be like… professional, I don’t know what that means, (laughs) so I just kind of wing it.

Marissa adjusts a camera while on set.

Q: What experience did you go through or witness that led to making your short film?

A: “It’s just being a part of the LGBTQ community, and then having friends also. Especially like, the trans experience I think I so unique. I couldn’t know what it’s like, but having my best friend be trans and just watching what they had to go through just to… just for like the smallest amount of comfort and acceptance is… it’s kind of mind blowing to me. But I just think it’s… it’s not my job to teach people about it, but if I could get a piece of work like this out there for people to just see and like even ask questions or be curious. I think starting conversations is at least a step in the right direction. Just ask questions! It’s okay to not know. Just be willing to learn and recognize if you’re uncomfortable with something and why, and then just exploring that. It’s fine to not know! Like its fine!

Q: Why do you think there is still such a stigma regarding the trans community?

A: “I think it’s just… I don’t know I think for some people it’s hard to understand things that they don’t feel themselves and things that are different from their own selves or their own realities. They might think it’s weird and the unfamiliar is such a weird area for people. But I really don’t know. I don’t think it has to be so stigmatized. It’s really just people living. It’s just people being people. It’s just different kinds of people. I don’t I think people’s own biases and way of accepting things just get in the way.

Q: What advice could you give someone who is trying to develop their knowledge about the Trans community and about the LGBTQ community, and the adversity people within those community’s face? 

A: “I mean, we have the internet. The internet is endless information, but It can also be endless misinformation. Here in Cleveland, we have an LGBTQ center. It’s near Lakewood, it’s free to go. There are seminars, there’s… I don’t know if you care enough to learn and to try to understand, there’s endless ways. And even just asking. Just trying to talk to people. If it’s someone you feel comfortable with and close with, you’re going to be able to ask questions like that. When I came out and my mom had a million questions, I just let her ask them. Even if they were rude or kind of confusing. [I knew] it was her trying to work through things and I don’t know I hope that people can have someone like that. But I mean, if not then there’s plenty of information out there, you just have to be proactive about. You have to want to learn about it. But you can’t just… It’s just more than just a decision.

Q: Lastly, what’s next for you as a creative? Any plans now?

A: “Coming up on graduation, I just want to… I’ve explored a lot of avenues throughout the [Film and Media Arts] program. I’ve done directing, and I’ve edited, and I enjoy those things, but I’ve come to the point where I just want to shoot. I just want to shoot things and have the camera and shoot things… so I have a couple projects coming up. There’s this slam poetry type stuff that this person wants a visual for, so I’m going to do that. I am open to shooting music videos, I think I have a music video coming up this summer. I just want to shoot videos. Any kind of video. I don’t have anything specific because I just shot my final project and a couple others, but yeah, I’m just trying to get my name and my work out there so I can make some stuff with people.

As Marissa finishes out her last semester here at Tri-C, her work has done a handful of things. While her message in My Body is My Home is both powerful, and important, it also holds true to the fact that anyone from anywhere, even a community college in Northeast Ohio, can create something that will make people feel things, and in turn leave a mark on them. It’s quite impressive that with help from just an anniversary date and her closest friends, Roesch was able to create a piece of work that is already garnering much attention and looks to only attract more. Marissa’s creative work is truly meaningful, and for those who want to watch her film, you can do so by following this link:

My Body is My Home – A Short Film by Marissa Roesch

You can also follow Marissa on Instagram at

@mar.roes

And for any Trans people who may be in crisis or need of someone to talk to, 

You can speak to someone at the suicide prevention hotline by calling 1-800-273-8255,

Or by reaching the Trevor Project by calling Trevor Lifeline at 1-866-488-7386

Or TrevorText by texting the word ‘START’ to 678678

Close up of Cass, one of two main actors in the short film.

Written and transcribed by Brandon Rush.

Directly quoted from a recorded interview with Marissa.

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