The Story of Human Existence is Now Subject of Powerful Film Installation at ROM

“I will live on in what I leave behind.”


TORONTO, August 11, 2022 – Prompted by a spirited and overwhelming response from audiences to the online launch of ROM Immortal, the thought-provoking film will now become an art installation at the Museum. Starting August 20, ROM (Royal Ontario Museum) invites visitors to experience this powerful short film, one that challenges viewers to reconsider the role museums play in our lives and confronts our perceptions of history and culture through its sweeping articulation of human existence. Displayed inside the Samuel European Galleries, the installation reinforms the traditional gallery setting by inspiring visitors to consider and experience the objects in a museum’s collection in new and different ways. Commissioned by ROM and directed by Canadian award-winning filmmaker Mark Zibert, the 6-minute film will be presented from August 20, 2022 to January 2023.

“As a museum, we understand the power of art to provoke, inspire and reframe understanding,” says Josh Basseches, ROM Director & CEO. “This film is an artistic expression of the enduring legacy we leave behind. Uncompromising in its portrayal of humanity’s triumphs and tragedies, the film reminds us of our responsibility to one another – and to the future.”

Cinematic in scope and scale, the film traces the Earth’s history from the earliest signs of life to pivotal historical moments that have shaped the world today and explores the notion that we live on in what we leave behind. Within the context of the Museum, the film shows that the answers are all around us, from the fossils left in the wake of mass extinctions to the paintings created by boundary-breaking artists.

“The film is a sweeping odyssey, one that chronicles the story of human existence, past, present, and future,” says Mark Zibert. “It takes place in a womb of infinite possibilities and is told from the perspective of an unborn child, a protagonist without race, gender or stigma. It is an urgent reminder that a museum’s artworks, artifacts, and specimens are not just things, they are the stories of who we are and what we can be.”


The film, ROM Immortal

Underpinning the film’s striking visuals are the words – an epic verse that begins: “My mother is 4 billion 600 million years old. She is the mother of the seas, the land, life itself.” And ends with “I will give birth. And I will die. But I will live on in what I leave behind.”

“At its core is the idea that the objects in a museum’s collection are portals to powerful stories that resonate with the pressing issues of our times and can be a catalyst for important conversations,” says one of the scriptwriters Denise Rossetto. “The film challenges our world views, invites discussion, and encourages self-reflection.”

On view at ROM in an immersive, large screen format, the film is the centrepiece for the recent launch of a new brand voice for the Museum. For those unable to visit the Museum, ROM Immortal can also be seen on ROM’s YouTube channel.

Located on Level 3 in the Museum’s Samuel European Galleries, ROM Immortal is included with general admission.

Film Title: ROM Immortal
Running time: 6:18 minutes
Credits: Commissioned by ROM, directed by Mark Zibert in collaboration with Carlos Moreno and Denise Rossetto, Broken Heart Love Affair.
Caution: This video includes graphic scenes that may not be suitable for all visitors. Viewer discretion is advised.


Image credit: Still from ROM Immortal, Royal Ontario Museum, Broken Heart Love Affair.

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About ROM
Opened in 1914, ROM (Royal Ontario Museum) showcases art, culture, and nature from around the world and across time. Today, ROM houses more than 13 million objects, from Egyptian mummies to contemporary sculpture, from meteorites to dinosaurs. ROM is the most visited museum in Canada and one of the top ten museums in North America. It is also the country’s preeminent field research institute, with a diverse range of experts who help us understand the past, make sense of the present, and shape a shared future. Just as impressive is ROM’s facility—a striking combination of heritage architecture and the cutting-edge Michael Lee-Chin Crystal, which marks the Museum as an iconic landmark and global cultural destination.

We live on in what we leave behind.