Her Short Film #5: “Hold On” by Charlotte Scott-Wilson

Cutting and visceral. That is what Hold On, Scottish director Charlotte Scott-Wilson’s second short film is. The winner of the Best Narrative Short at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, Hold On follows Kyra, a young talented cellist who develops stage fright after one of her strings breaks during an important concert.

In a highly dynamic, bold and inventive manner, Scott-Wilson makes a strong statement and sends a powerful message to the classical music community, encouraging musicians not to fear their feelings – be it good or bad – and „embrace” them instead of numbing them. After all, fear is natural and what makes us human. In that sense, Hold On strikes a chord in its depiction of Kyra as a human being and by contrasting her to her fellow musicians who are portrayed like emotionless robots. Generally speaking, this robotic feature might appear contradictory as music is meant to awaken emotions in us and not transform us into machines. The fear and pressure of failure is what ends up driving these professional musicians and not music. And, that is precisely what Scott-Wilson criticizes here. Not only does she denounce this but also its consequences in the form of performance anxiety that leads to addiction, as research has proven that many musicians use Beta Blockers to calm their nerves…

Scott-Wilson’s vision is skillfully executed thanks to the powerful turn of the leading lady Charlie Chan Dagelet, Jesper Ankarfeldt’s vigorous score and the attractive and snappy lensing by the talented DoP Lennart Verstegen. Added to Scott-Wilson’s confident directing, these fine attributes contribute to the absolute technical and thematic harmony of the short.

Compelling and with exquisitely tightened strings, Hold On is a gem that displays Charlotte Scott-Wilson’s more than evident filmmaking talent.


O.T.: Houvast. Production: OAK Motion Pictures, Trent (The Netherlands 2016). Director: Charlotte Scott-Wilson. Screenplay: Charlotte Scott-Wilson and Marielot van der Slikke. Cinematography: Lennart Verstegen. Music: Jesper Ankarfeldt. Production Design: Romke Faber. Costume design: Maxa van Panhuys. Editing: Annelotte Medema

 Cast: Charlie Chan Dagelet, Roeland Fernhout and Lidewij Mahler

Color – 22 min.

Premiere: 16/04/2016 (Tribeca Film Festival)


This short film was reviewed at the 2016 Jameson Cinefest. 

Tara Karajica

Tara Karajica is a Belgrade-based film critic and journalist. Her writings have appeared in "Indiewire," "Screen International," "Variety," "Little White Lies" and "Film New Europe," among many other media outlets, including the European Film Academy’s online magazine, "Close-up" and Eurimages. She is a member of the European Film Academy, the Online Film Critics Society and the Alliance of Women Film Journalists as well as the recipient of the 2014 Best Critic Award at the Altcine Action! Film Festival. In September 2016, she founded "Yellow Bread," a magazine dedicated entirely to short films, ranked among the 25 Top Short Film Blogs and Websites on the Planet in 2017. In February 2018, she launched "Fade to Her," a magazine about successful women working in Film and TV and in 2019, she was a member of the Jury of the European Shooting Stars (European Film Promotion). She is currently a programmer for live action shorts at PÖFF Shorts, Head of the Short Film Program and Live Action Shorts programmer at SEEFest and Narrative Features Programmer at the Durban International Film Festival. Tara is a regular at film festivals as a film critic, moderator and/or jury member.

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