An Awakening

Soundtracked by the compositions Angelica Olstad and directed by Charles A.M., An Awakening is a meditation on Black love and how trauma can manifest in interpersonal relationships.

Through a singular blend of music, image, and choreography, we follow a young couple in Brooklyn as the breakdown of their love is interpreted in the style of an ancient myth: a man cradles his dying lover, before she is reborn into a powerful new form. Every element of the film stands on equal footing, as Olstad’s contemplative piano narration, an expressive camera, and the poetry of the human body unite to explore a feeling beyond words. Its story of transfiguration and transformation presents a unique synthesis of music and image, echoing the form of the “choreopoem” as defined by pioneering Black artists like Ntozake Shange and Julie Dash, a form of dramatic expression that brings together music, poetry, and live performance to create a deep feeling in the audience beyond simple plot or themes.

“An Awakening” engages a full spectrum of senses to explore how generational trauma manifests itself in the body, on an effective level deeper than dialogue could ever express.

Credits / Collaborators / Cast

Jesse Sperling, Executive Producer / Cinematographer
Angelica Olstad, Musician / Producer
Elena Vazintaris, Movement Director
Charles A.M., Director (An Awakening)
Emily Bailey, Colorist
Engineering, Mixing & Mastering: Dan Pierson
Nia Simone – Queen
Ricardo G. Barrett – King
Eryn Barnes – Phantasm

The story behind the film

This was a concept album that followed Angelica Olstad’s pandemic EP, Transmute which follows 4 different chapters of the pandemic. An Awakening is the third track from the EP.


Genre: Experimental
Country: USA
Language: No dialogue
Length in minutes: 4 min 37 seconds
YEAR: 2023