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2018 State of Georgia General Assembly Honoree
Georgia Film Critics Association Oglethorpe Award Nominee for Excellence in Georgia Cinema
WINNER - Best Director - Breckenridge Film Festival
WINNER - Best Director - Orlando Film Festival
WINNER - Best Feature Audience Award - Atlanta Film Festival (Atlanta Journal-Constitution Critics’ Pick)
WINNER - Best Feature Audience Award - Dances With Films
WINNER - Best Feature Audience Award - Macon Film Festival
WINNER - Best Actor - Breckenridge Film Festival
WINNER - Jury Prize Outstanding Social Impact Filmmaking - South Bay Film & Music Festival
NOMINATED - Ultra Indie Award - Woodstock Film Festival
Holden, a small-town football player, fights to keep his mental illness a secret at all costs.
Based on a true story about dual diagnosis and teen suicide.
Holden Layfield and I grew up in the same small town. Even though he was a few years older, I still considered him a friend. I wasn’t that special, though, because everyone considered Holden a friend. He was just that kind of guy. He treated everyone with respect and accepted everyone for who they were. For me, I was bullied incessantly for being “fat” and overweight. Holden was one of the only kids in my school who treated me like a human being instead of a punching bag. Holden’s humanity shined until the day he took his life. It was Holden’s humanity that gave me purpose to tell Holden’s story. As a filmmaker, if I could show the person behind the illness, then perhaps we could begin to understand one’s puzzle that often seems so puzzling. I wanted to honor Holden’s legacy by telling the truth. I felt it was imperative to incite discussion and dialogue without blame or propaganda. Our only motive: humanity. Holden would’ve wanted it that way. He also would want his story to honor all those individuals who feel alone in this world. That’s why we titled the film HOLDEN ON.
This film is dedicated to you, to me, and all of us who often feel like we’re on the outside looking in… just holden on.
Holden Layfield helps audiences through his harrowing tale in this film set in the early 1990s. After succumbing to a secret battle with mental illness, 17-year old Holden devolves from a gregarious, small-town Georgian football player to a lost, self-medicating prophet. This important film portrays the complexity of mental illness and suicide in teens, offers insight to prevention, and opens the door to conversation about this difficult but critical community concern.
*According to McLean Hospital, a Harvard Medical School affiliate, up to 75 percent of youth with substance abuse problems also struggle with psychiatric illness. (http://www.mcleanhospital.org/programs/landing-mclean-hospital)