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Hold Me Right

Hold Me Right is a documentary that explores the aftermath of sexual assault through intimate first-hand testimonies that take us through the arc of a survivor’s journey. The film focuses on the stories of 10 main characters, interweaving portraits and verité sequences that take us into the lives of both survivors and perpetrators. What is created is a truly unique film that exposes the consequences of our misconceptions about these unspeakable crimes while simultaneously providing a way forward.

The film’s director, Danijela, acts as the narrative spine of the piece tying all the characters together. After her own personal experience of surviving an assault she decided to make this film. She shares her personal turmoil through video diary she discusses dealing with the fear and anger after losing the ability to speak up about her victimization safely. In the process of meeting and interviewing survivors, she eventually found the courage to share her own story.

  • Danijela Steinfeld
    Director
  • Mike Lerner
    Producer
    The Great Hack, Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer, The Russian Woodpecker, The Square
  • Chris Tucci
    Animator
    Turner Cody, Streets of Laredo, Invisible Familiars, Sean Lennon, Regina Spector
  • Shoshana Guy
    Writer
    Gretchen Carlson: Breaking the Silence
  • Auteur Film Festival
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Documentary
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 14 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    August 1, 2021
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
    English
  • Shooting Format:
    HD
  • Aspect Ratio:
    16:9
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    Yes
  • Student Project:
    No
  • Sarajevo Film Festival
    Sarajevo
    Bosnia and Herzegovina
    August 17, 2020
    World Premiere (Restricted to Eastern European Region)
    Official Selection in Documentary Competition
  • Belgrade, Serbia
    Serbia
    April 18, 2021
  • Manhattan Film Festival
    New York
    United States
    June 26, 2021
    June 26th 2021
Distribution Information
  • N/A
  • Obscured Pictures
    Sales Agent
    Country: Worldwide
Director Biography - Danijela Steinfeld

Danijela Stajnfeld grew up in a small agrarian village in Yugoslavia during the war. She earned her MFA from the Academy of Film and Theater at the University of Arts in Belgrade, Serbia. Following that, Danijela achieved critical and commercial acclaim in film, television, and theatre in her home country of Serbia. Her short film THE HOLE premiered at The New Filmmakers Film Festival NY and has been featured at the Women Behind the Camera screening series in Los Angeles. Danijela's next project is a reality TV series about a mail-order bride.

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Director Statement

Hold Me Right, while a film about bringing together voices from across all levels of society, is my story as well. As an immigrant to the United States and a former celebrated actress in my home country of Serbia, I bring a unique perspective to what it means for a survivor of sexual assault to find peace through accessing their own voice. I have experienced trauma both at home and in the US but because of the dangerous political situation in Serbia, it is not safe for me to speak the details of what happened to me.

However, through countless interviews with survivors like myself I have been able to move through the veil of silence that has surrounded me and have managed to help others share their stories along the way. Because of my personal experience I have been able to collect intimate testimonies from survivors, and perpetrators, of these violent crimes. My choice to approach all of my subjects with compassion, even when I didn’t think I would be able to, has allowed me to collect untold stories from those who had never come forward or spoken out before.

Along with my intent to humanize these voices and create a space for people to be heard, away from sensationalism, experts, judges, juries, and statistics, I have made it my goal to incorporate the voices of perpetrators of sexual assault. By placing these interviews side by side with survivors (where often the lines are blurred), without enabling the labels of victims and monsters, I aim to move away from our culture’s obsession with punishing the bad guys and instead I create a unique portrait of the cost of silence and the vicious cycle of violence that it enables.