HOLD ME RIGHT FILM

A filmmaker tries to cope with the aftermath of her own sexual assault while filming 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 MISSION

Because sexual assault survivors are often faced with a lack of understanding and disbelief, many choose to stay silent in the aftermath. None of us want to believe that these harrowing crimes are happening in our own homes, schools, workplaces, and communities at large. Hold Me Right reveals the cost of this silence.

 

In the era of the #MeToo movement, anger and fear prevent necessary dialogues that address both sides of abuse. Hold Me Right pushes our understanding of sexual assault by humanizing both perspectives. This film seeks to normalize these conversations about abuse to stop the cycle of shame and violence.

 
 

DANIJELA STAJNFELD

director/producer

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.

LAWRENCE BENDER

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. 

MIKE LERNER

executive producer
MIKE LERNER is Oscar-nominated, multi-award-winning filmmaker with a focus on the humanization of complex geopolitical stories for global
audiences: The Square (2012) directed by Jehane Noujaim for Netflix - Oscar Nominated Best Documentary Feature), Pussy Riot: A Punk
Prayer
(2013 Directed by Mike Lerner for HBO/BBC Sundance Special Jury Prize), The Departure (2017 Directed by Lana Wilson for PBS,
Independent Spirit Nominee), The Kleptocrats (Starz/BBC), The Great Hack (2019) Directed by Jehane Noujaim/Karim Amer for Netflix. Many of
the films he produced have been with first time directors - Afghan Star (HBO - Sundance Best Director, Audience Award) - Hell and Back
Again
(Oscar Nominated Best Feature Documentary, Sundance Grand Jury Award) - The Russian Woodpecker (Amazon - Sundance Grand Jury Award) - Born To Be Free (Channel 4/Arte/Netflix).

NELL MERLINO

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.

SHOSHANA GUY

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.  

LILLIAN E. BENSON

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.

 

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.

CHARLIE COLE

cinematographer

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

animator

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

composer

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.

JASON BINNICK

composer

Jason Binnick is a composer, sound-designer, and musician based in Brooklyn, NY and trained in composition at Wesleyan University. His previous film scores include Patti Cake$ (Fox Searchlight Pictures / Republic Records), Outlaws, Fit to Print, and Underwater Upside Down. He’s written music for clients like HBO, Coke, Heineken, Sony, W Magazine, and the Bolshoi Ballet’s cinematic trailers. He has also written and performed music for theater in NYC and Germany - including (as part of the band, Botanica) a state theater adaptation of The Master and Margarita at the Schauspielhaus Dortmund. In years past, Jason has recorded and toured extensively as a bassist and guitarist (most notably with Botanica, The Flesh, and Hey Guy) and is currently working on a new album with the Thrill Jockey recording artists, Upper Wilds. In 2020 Jason released an album of ambient music called Prisms Darkly.

GARRY WALLER

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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COMMUNITY PARTNERS

All rights reserved. © Hold Me Right LLC  

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