Through a handful of intimate first-hand testimonies––ranging from a nurse that performed her own rape kit to a pedophile molested as a child––Hold Me Right follows both survivors and perpetrators through the harrowing journey of speaking up, healing, and moving forward.

In addition to the first-hand testimonies, Hold Me Right integrates animated sequences which display the tumultuous trauma that can exist within. Through unfolding the many different paths people take in attempts to reach healing and justice, these sequences allow the viewer to walk in a survivor's shoes. We follow an animated character along this emotional journey, while seeking help in hospital, reporting the crime to the police, and reactions from their family and coworkers. This film uses both thematic echoes and animation sequences to tie together talking head interviews and verité scenes of our subjects in their daily lives.


The film focuses on the stories of 10 main characters (including the story of the filmmaker herself), interweaving portraits that take us into the lives of both survivors and perpetrators. Hold Me Right is a unique film that exposes the consequences of our misconceptions about these unspeakable crimes while simultaneously providing a way forward. 

The film is being produced with the support of GLAM4GOOD, Rape Abuse Incest National Network (RAINN), Project EnvisionSafe Horizon, and TheVoices and Faces Project.



Despite widening awareness about sexual abuse, many victims still feel shame and fear coming forward. Perpetrators rely on society's enabling of this shame and fear, which ultimately maintains a cycle of sexual abuse in secrecy. Hold Me Right will make people understand and accept that our conceptions about sexual assault are conditioning the aftermath for survivors.  Once we create a cultural current that provides support and healing for victims, people will feel more free to speak up.

The film will be part of a nationwide curriculum in educational institutions in order to bring the message to a broader and young audience. There are few platforms in which the topic of sexual assault can be discussed together in the presence of survivors, perpetrators, and their families. Hold Me Right seeks to create that safe platform that will open viewers to difficult truths about a social problem that affects us all. 

Hold Me Right offers hope for a way forward. Let’s break the silence.





After earning her MFA from the Academy of Film and Theater at the University of Arts in Belgrade, Serbia, Danijela achieved critical and commercial acclaim in film, television, and theatre in her country. The Hole is her directorial debut, which premiered at The New Filmmakers Film Festival NY ‘16 and has been presented at Women Behind the Camera screening series in Los Angeles. Hold Me Right is an especially important project for Danijela, as she draws on her personal experiences and activism to create this documentary film, with the hope of inspiring social change.


executive producer

Lawrence Bender is a movie producer working in the entertainment industry for 20 years. He helped produce Hollywood films like Reservoir Dogs (1992), Good Will Hunting (1997), Inglourious Basterds (2009) and Django (2012). Lawrence won 6 Academy Awards with 29 nominations including 3 Best Picture films. inconvenient Truth is a documentary he produced that raised awareness of climate change and won him an Academy Award for Best Documentary. Lawrence is a political and environmental activist as the co-founder of the Detroit Project. In 2003 he worked with environmentalists in targeting gas-guzzling SUVs. As the Dean of Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government, he sits on the Advisory Board. 


co-executive producer

Nell Merlino is an award winning advocate for women and girls. She mobilized more than 25 million people to make girls more visible, valued and heard with the creation of Take Our Daughters to Work Day with Gloria Steinem in 1993. Nell’s communication company, SCA Ltd. created the YWCA Week Without Violence in 1995 which challenged communities across the country to seek alternatives to domestic violence, child abuse, sexual assault and gang and gun violence. She launched not for profit Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence in 2000, the first online micro lender, to inspire and fund women owned businesses. With American Express and Hillary Clinton’s support in 2006, Nell launched the Make Mine a Million Dollar Business Competitions challenging women to grow micro businesses to million dollar companies. She served as a Pathways Envoy for the U.S. State Department promoting women’s entrepreneurship across Central America, worked on the development committee for the Walmart Women’s Economic Empowerment program and served on the Jury for the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards. Nell has provided commentary and content for every major news outlet in the U.S., has trended on Twitter and has generated over 2 billion media mentions focused on the late 20th and early 21st century progress of women and girls.


consulting writer

Shoshana Guy is a television producer and a journalist. Her recent work includes TV films such as Gretchen Carlson: Breaking the Silence and Charged The DA vs. Black America. She is a co-executive producer on EPIX series America Divided. Shoshana has been a producer for NBC’s Rock Center for Brian Williams. Her work covers a broad range of issues including criminal justice, poverty, race, military lives, and foreign affairs. The daughter of a Jewish mother and an African American father, she was born in British Columbia, Canada and holds a Masters of Journalism from Columbia University in NYC. Upon graduation, she was both retained by NBC News and received a Frontline World fellowship. The fellowship allowed her to travel to Haiti where she completed a multimedia project on the subject of Haiti’s water crisis.  


consulting producer

Lillian E. Benson’s professional body of work as a television, video and feature film editor spans almost thirty years. In 1990 the native New Yorker was nominated for an Emmy for her work on the acclaimed civil rights series “Eyes On the Prize II”. She contributed to films that have garnered five Emmy nominations, four Peabody Awards, and numerous other honors. Recent films she edited include the documentary “Get In The Way- The Journey of John Lewis” and the narrative short “Progress” part of the HBO Access series.

In 2004 Benson made her directorial debut with “All Our Sons-Fallen Heroes of 9/11”, a half-hour documentary about the firefighters of color who died at the World Trade Center, broadcast nationally on PBS. She just completed “AMEN- The Life and Music of Jester Hairston” an educational film about the internationally-known choral arranger.


Benson is a member of American Cinema Editors, an honorary editing society, and serves on their board of directors. She is also a member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and the International Documentary Association.



Award winning Cinematographer and Filmmaker currently based in Brooklyn, NY. Cole's films rely heavily on powerful sounds and imagery to drive his narratives forward. Cole often uses his background in Fine Arts to influence his narratives; approaching them first as emotional abstractions. Currently resides in Los Angeles becoming a Cinematography Fellow at the American Film Institute.



Chris Tucci is a New York City based graphic artist and director that works in music, film, and TV. He has directed and animated videos for Turner Cody, Streets of Laredo, Invisible Familiars (Cibo Matto, Martha Wainwright) and Tim Kujl (Sean Lennon, The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger) and most recently collaborated with Regina Spektor on an animated music video for her current record. Among others, his work has been featured in Rolling Stone Magazine, Vice, and was also featured in the “Art’s Generation Next” edition of Modern Painters Magazine for his graphic novel “The Doorman.”



Chris Ruggiero is an Emmy-nominated composer and music producer. Recent film scores include MINDING THE GAP (Sundance Film Festival 2018, now in theaters), I AM ANOTHER YOU (SXSW Film Festival 2017), TRIBAL JUSTICE (Santa Barbara International Film Festival 2017, PBS Premiere late 2017), HOOLIGAN SPARROW (Sundance Film Festival 2016, currently available on Netflix), and INDIAN POINT (Tribeca Film Festival 2015, currently airing on AXS TV). His original compositions currently appear in over 160 television series including The Voice, Pawn Stars, and American Pickers.


Graphic Designer 

Garry Waller is an award winning motion designer working in Brooklyn, NY whose art direction and graphics has won numerous accolades within documentary film and network TV. Garry’s work is informed by the belief that design can serve to amplify important stories and that animated content can play out in thoughtful and unique ways. Through his company Momentist, Inc., Garry continues to collaborate with world renowned clients and film directors who are doing impactful things in the world.

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All rights reserved. © Hold Me Right LLC  

This project is made with the support of GLAM4GOOD RAINN, Safe Horizon and Voices and Faces Project.