Update 1:05 p.m.: The filmmakers have reached their funding goal. They’re at $3,440 and counting.
Yes, Holden Boyles is named after Holden Caulfield.
“My mother was a big Salinger fan,” Holden told me. “I’m proud of that name.”
In a probably-not-random, mystical way, a literary identity has seeped into the Holden’s way of being, of looking at the world artfully. The off-the-page Holden is a filmmaker. With Cody Paul Updegrave — they grew up together in Leonardtown and are both 21 — Holden is finishing up a short film that takes a long view of humanity.
The film is called “To Exist.” It is about existence.
“We wanted to recreate the most beautiful experiences in our lives,” said Holden, who does freelance video gigs to pay the bills. “We wanted to go places we thought were beautiful, places we connected with. We wanted to get these moments on film.”
Though they have dabbled in short films before, including a video ad for their high school ping pong club, this is essentially their first Real Project. Using themselves and friends as actors, Holden and Cody shot achingly beautiful scenes up and down the East Coast, including in Leonardtown. (You can watch trailers below.)
There are more than 100 scenes. Some last a few seconds. Some last a few minutes. A man plays guitar in a bright open field. A couple skinny-dips in a lake. A woman’s bare feet stroll through blades of grass. The film is not funny, though there is a rather bizarre birthday scene at the end of one of the trailers. There is no cohesive narrative.
Holden told me they want to enter the project in film festival competitions. To help fund production costs, they are trying to raise $3,000 on Kickstarter, a Web site that crowd funds projects. Twenty bucks gets you a DVD of the film. Five hundred bucks makes you an executive producer. You can donate here. They are currently about $250 short of their goal.
“The film,” they write on Kickstarter, “simply explores the question of what it means to exist and lead a fulfilling life.”
There might never be a complete answer to the existence question, but “To Exist” takes a bold stab.
Take a few minutes and watch. Here’s the main trailer. Another clip is below: