Hall speaks about ‘Holden On’ film at breakfast

Published 9:00 pm Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Local film director Tamlin Hall spoke Tuesday during the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce’s April Early Bird Breakfast, held at Great Wolf Lodge. Hall directed the film Holden On, which was shot locally in 2017 and has received nationwide acclaim, and spoke to the gathered crowd about the film industry in Georgia as well as the importance of promoting mental wellness.

The film Holden On focuses on the life of Holden Layfield, a friend of Hall’s who struggled with depression and committed suicide at the age of 19. The film has won several awards, including the Dances With Films 2017 Audience Award and was named the Atlanta Film Festival Feature Film Audience Award Winner in 2017 as well as the Audience Choice Narrative Feature winner at the Macon Film Festival in 2017. Hall was named Best Director for his work with the film at the Breck Film Fest and Orlando Film Festival.

“I was bullied and I was picked on when I was growing up,” Hall said. “I didn’t feel like I belonged in this world. I just didn’t feel accepted. There was a guy who was a couple years older than me who treated me like I did belong. He accepted me, he told me jokes and made me laugh. That was Holden. He had more humanity than anybody that I’ve ever met.”

It took 10 years from the time Hall was approached before the film was made. With an original goal of raising $33,000 to fund the film, Hall raised nearly $40,000 in 25 days, and $650,000 overall. The film was shot in 22 days in LaGrange and showcased local talent, which was an important focus for Hall.

“I wanted to be able to say, ‘hey, we have a great art community, we have so much talent that is untapped, we have to showcase that,’” Hall said. “We were able to do that. These students and teens are going out and know they can believe in their dreams. We wanted to provide an opportunity to believe in dreams.”

Hall has also helped found IAMHOLDENON, a nonprofit that focuses on mental wellness advocacy. The nonprofit is hosting a music festival in LaGrange on May 11, Hope Givers Mental Wellness & Music Festival, which will take place at Sweetland Ampitheatre and feature bands such as Judah & the Lion and Drew Holcombe & The Neighbors.

Hall also speaks highly of his hometown, saying he feels it important to advocate for LaGrange wherever he goes.

“I’m from LaGrange, Georgia, I love LaGrange, Georgia, everywhere I go around this country I talk about LaGrange, Georgia,” Hall said. “Everywhere we go with Holden On, everything we have, it all started here.”