I Held Him
Director: Hans Augustave
United States, 2022, 8 min
Cast:Brian Teague Williams, Alphonso Walker Jr., Malik Yoba
Crew:Writer: Hans Augustave. Producers: Hans Augustave, Alexander Fischetti. Executive Producer: Malik Yoba; Director of Photography: Alexander Fischetti
While a man falls deeper into the depths of pain and depression, his friend reluctantly chooses an uncomfortable solution to help him heal.
About the director
Hans Augustave is a Haitian-American filmmaker living through his various creative expressions with the intent to heal. His purpose is especially to shine a light on Blackness and its many beautiful, ugly, complex, 4-dimensional facets. His journey has taken him from the art of spoken word, to the stage and now to the screen with projects such as Before I Knew (Best Short Short - Harlem International Film Festival). Hans is also the co-producer of documentary The Forgotten Occupation, currently in post-production, which examines the United States’ occupation of Haiti from 1915-1934 and its negative impacts on Haiti’s current politics. He is a member of the DGA and works on various film and TV projects.
After establishing a vulnerable approach to storytelling with my visual poem, Before I Knew, I Held Him serves as a continuation of this artistic expression using the same language: a raw, authentic, accessible tone which pierces through the heart while speaking to difficult and sometimes unspoken themes. These topics are carefully tended to with one motto in mind: simplicity breeds beauty.
The urge to tackle the subject of platonic intimacy within the Black male community came after a personal experience - the same one reflected in the film. During a breakup, I had stumbled upon an image of two straight Black men holding each other, and I felt an instant sense of comfort and need. I was also puzzled; I had no recollection of seeing such powerful and important images distributed as freely as those of hardened, violent Black men had. With such a yearning to be held by someone who could understand my pain, my journey into the historical and psychological roots of why this wasn’t common practice among men who looked like me in this country had begun.
Little did I know, with this research and these ideas milling about in my mind, that an opportunity would present itself for me to be the source of such healing for a friend in need. The film is a faithful recreation of the moments we shared, choreographed to the poem I had written recounting the event from the day before.
It was important for me for the audience to feel the time that passed between us. The silence. The reluctance. The searching for words. The need to comfort and be comforted, all while circumventing the societal pressures that had been placed upon us as Black men. This film is for him. This film is for us. Let us heal together in each others’ arms.