Holding On Forever

  • Director

    Chelsea Christer

  • Country, Year, Length

    United States, 2023, 8:40

  • Category

    Narrative Short

  • Format

    ARRI Alexa

  • Festival Year


Film Screening & Ticket Information

When & Where to See this Film!

INTO THE LIGHT: 6 films about trying to be understood.

April 19, 2024 @ 2:00PM • MoMI Redstone


Stephanie’s night out with friends at karaoke isn’t quite like she remembers it.


Chelsea Christer, Director, Bleeding Audio, Sierra, We’re Just Like You
Chelsea Christer, Writer, Tumor Buddies, Sierra
Alex Mallonee, Producer
Lindsey Naves, Key Cast
Reynaldo Pacheco, Key Cast

Director Statement

I hardly remember writing HOLDING ON FOREVER; the story slipped out of my soul one day and onto a page, and I unearthed it in 2022. The inspiration came from an actual night out at karaoke when I was doing a dry month away from alcohol. I remember very viscerally how heinous of an activity karaoke can be when you’re stone-cold sober and everyone around you has been drinking all night. That feeling of social isolation in what can be one of the most connected group activities was something I wanted to capture from that night. I also have a love of singing karaoke with friends, and the thought that my love of it was contingent on whether or not I had been drinking broke my heart a little.

Likewise, I have friends who are alcoholics who have expressed how difficult and isolating being sober can be. Generally, true alcoholics are very high functioning, and it isn’t until they become sober that all their methods of coping completely fall apart and life can actually get a lot worse. Knowing these stories from friends, and then incorporating that further feeling of isolation into the setting felt like an interesting exploration into sobriety in a society where socialization is often centered around alcohol.

But what made me really want to round out this piece and turn it into a stylized escalation at the end is distilling that feeling when you meet a stranger and feel an instant connection. As humans, we meet so many people and think nothing of it, but every now and then we meet someone and it feels like you’ve met before. Platonic, romantic—it doesn’t matter—it’s a feeling of being fully seen or like stardust being reunited after billions of years and lightyears apart. While it might be rare, I feel like it happens more often than we acknowledge, and sometimes these connections are people who stay in our lives forever—or sometimes they’re a fleeting stranger who makes us feel seen and understood when we’re feeling lost and alone.

Also, I really wanted Stephanie to reclaim karaoke in her sobriety.

This little short was filmed in the exact same karaoke bar and mall that inspired it. HOLDING ON FOREVER is my love letter to San Francisco; the city where I was reunited with a lot of stardust.

Director Biography

Originally from a horse ranch in Colorado, Chelsea Christer moved to the big city of San Francisco for film school in 2007 where she graduated with a BFA in Directing from the Academy of Art. Chelsea’s first feature-length film, the multi-award winning music documentary BLEEDING AUDIO, screened at over 17 festivals worldwide including Slamdance, Dances With Films, and Cinequest. BLEEDING AUDIO secured distribution and released in May 2022 to critical acclaim. Chelsea has also directed three scripted short films. WE’RE JUST LIKE YOU (2010), SIERRA (2013), and the upcoming HOLDING ON FOREVER is due to premiere in 2024. Her short films screened at multiple festivals domestic to the US and internationally.

Chelsea has traveled the world, producing and directing brand documentaries and commercials for companies like Google, Adobe, and Dolby. These productions have taken her all across the US and abroad to Japan, Europe, Australia, and rural India.

As both a fiction and non-fiction filmmaker, Chelsea’s work in each discipline focuses on deeply human stories; character studies that show moments of growth, reflections on identity, and the sacrifice that can come with following a dream. Her longtime collaboration with musicians influences many of the stories she is inspired to tell.

Chelsea relocated to Los Angeles to pursue film and television directing full time (though her heart will always be in San Francisco). She currently lives in Eagle Rock with her husband and their German Shepherd, Sagan.